#TheodoreWafer: Game within the Game: how to deal with a defendant’s conflicting statements

July 24, 2014

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Good evening:

Crane and I were called away unexpectedly this morning right after I posted the article and the notice that Judge Hathaway has decided not to allow any live coverage of the remainder of the trial.

I have no idea why she made that decision a day into the trial following two days of jury selection that were not covered. Granted the coverage yesterday was worse than dismal, but I cannot think of a reason why yesterday’s failures could not have been corrected by today.

Now, everybody connected with the trial appears less than competent and the decision to abort coverage invites speculation that the outcome may be rigged.

The tragedy is that the judge, the lawyers and the jury had a chance to show the nation and the world that the criminal justice system works in Detroit even if it doesn’t work in Florida.

We the people have grown cynical and suspicious of our court system where wealth and privilege play by a different set of rules than minorities, the poor, and the mentally ill. They get shafted and sent to prison while the rich and the privileged literally get away with murder.

Judge Hathaway’s conduct and decision to ban livestream coverage does not compare favorably to the way My Lady, Judge Masipa is handling the Oscar Pistorius trial.

Okay, I am off my soapbox, but I want to add my response to Crusty’s comment in which he said,

I just read a twit er that the police officer on the scene looked thru the peep hole and it was not broken. Does that not add another nail to the box that TW’s attorney has put him into? Oh well, just another lie from the defendant, no big deal, right?

My answer follows.

This gives me a chance to do another Game Within the Game.

Great catch Crusty!

Excellent illustration of the well known principle that a criminal defense attorney should verify claims made by the client before asserting them as fact in an opening statement.

Prosecutors have a way of serving up those statements in closing argument reminding the jury of what was said forcing the defense attorney to sit at counsel table and eat the shit sandwich a bite at a time while attempting to appear unruffled. They also challenge the defense attorney to explain to the jury why they said what they said.

I’ve seen many a defense attorney blush, break out into a sweat, lose concentration and deliver an unfocused defense to the indefensible accusation instead of owning the error, apologizing for it, and earnestly ask the jury to not hold the client responsible for the lawyer’s mistake. Then its back to arguing presumption of innocence and stressing the points that support reasonable doubt.

Unfortunately, the court’s decision to ban the livestream means that we and the rest of the viewing public will miss how this plays out unless a reporter tweets about it, which is extremely unlikely since they are not skilled trial lawyers who notice and appreciate events like this that occasionally affect the verdict. Oralandar Brand-Williams reported what Cheryl Carpenter said, but no one else picked up on it and I’m not even sure she realized that this was a new version.

I realized that it was and wrote about it, but no one else did. Unless someone read my blog, they would not know what happened.

BTW, that little statement that Carpenter made is extremely significant because it amounts to an admission that she knows they cannot win an acquittal unless more scary attackers are thrown into the mix to support his claim that he was terrified and believed his life was in danger when he fired the shotgun through the locked screen door.

Unfortunately for Wafer, he did not keep his mouth shut and the two explanations that he provided to the police not only cannot both be true, neither one constitutes a reasonable use of deadly force in self-defense when two locked doors separated him from an unarmed 19-year-old girl knocking on his door at 4:30 am.

Just as desperate Hail-Mary passes into the end zone to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat as time expires in a football game rarely succeed, introducing a third version of events to replace two conflicting earlier versions that, if true, would coincidentally fit the known facts like a hand in a glove only invites arched eyebrows, intense skepticism and the formation of firm opinions that the defendant, with the assistance of his lawyer, is an opportunistic liar who is guilty as sin.

Again, please accept our apology for abandoning you all to twitter. Yes, it had something to do with the recent unpleasantness but nothing bad happened and we are back at work and we will be covering tomorrow’s twitterganza with occasional side remarks explaining what is going on.

Thanks, Fred


#TheodoreWafer: Detectives to testify today about what Wafer told them

July 24, 2014

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Good morning to all:

The prosecution probably will be presenting evidence from the crime scene today and calling detectives to testify about what Wafer told them.

During her opening statement yesterday, Cheryl Carpenter told the jury that Wafer saw “not one, not two, but three people” when he opened his front door with shotgun in hand to find out who was banging on it. She said he had to open the door to see who was there because his peep hole had been smashed and he could not see anything. She also said he did not call 911 before he opened the door because he has no land line and he had misplaced his cell phone, which he did not find until after the shooting.

If his peep hole had been smashed, it must have been smashed before the incident because the exterior screen door was closed, locked and without any damage to the area corresponding to the location of the peep hole in the front door.

Corporal Gonzales testified yesterday that he arrived at Wafer’s residence within two to three minutes after the 911 call. He said Wafer was walking on the sidewalk outside his home when he arrived and he subsequently found the shotgun on the floor inside the house in the foyer just beyond the front door.

The jury will have to decide whether Wafer’s claim that he encountered “not one, not two, but three people” standing on his front porch when he opened the door and pulled the trigger killing McBride makes any sense, since he left the shotgun on the floor in the foyer and walked outside the house unarmed all the way to the sidewalk apparently unconcerned about the other two people who were with McBride when he opened the door.

In deciding whether he lied, the jury will have to consider two other statements that he made about the shooting that we are likely to hear about today.

First, he told detectives that he accidentally pulled the trigger.

Second, he told them that he shot McBride in self-defense because he believed his life was in danger.

McBride was unarmed.

Given his attorney’s preview of Wafer’s latest version of the shooting, I believe we can safely assume that Wafer will testify.

When he takes the stand, he is going to have some splainin’ to do.

And there you have it, so gather round the TV or the live stream and watch the proceedings with us and comment below.

Here’s the link:

http://www.wildabouttrial.com/one_off/theodore-wafer-trial-live-steam/

This is our 1153rd post.

If you appreciate what we do, please make a donation to enable us to keep the lights on.

Thanks,

Fred


Scientists Re-visit Mount Saint Helens

July 23, 2014

by Crane-Station

A group of 75 scientists led by Alan Levander of Rice University in Houston visited Mt. St. Helens this week, to create seismic waves by controlled explosions, that will enable them to study the mountain with a new method that is akin to an “ultrasound and a CAT scan” of the volcano’s “internal plumbing.”

Mt. St. Helens erupted at 8:32 AM PDT on May 18, 1980 killing 57 people and destroying 250 homes. A second eruption occurred 34 years ago yesterday, on July 22, 1980.

If there were such a thing as reincarnation for a day, May 18, 1980, as a witness to the Mt. St. Helens eruption from the Portland area would certainly be an interesting choice. I happened to be home from college for a few days, where several people gathered on our family deck, to watch and take pictures. It was morning but it was dark. Amateur photographs from that distance were difficult to obtain with any resolution, because of the amount of ash that filled the atmosphere.

Although Forest Service and USGS scientists expected Mt. St Helens to erupt, based on a spike in seismic activity at the end of March that year, prompting authorities to warn residents to evacuate, no one knew exactly when the mountain would blow. Some skeptical area residents refused to leave, including 83-year-old Spirit Lake Lodge owner Harry Randall Truman, who perished on May 18, during the eruption.

The scientists had been incredibly accurate in their predictions at that time, as it turns out, even if no one really took them seriously, and even if roadside attraction souvenir stands were instantly popular. The predicted eruption that actually happened prompted a common query and reply among residents observing from afar, that went something like, “What’s happened?” followed by, “The mountain just blew up.” No one really expected the first eruption; likewise the second eruption took people completely by surprise.

On the television news we saw police cars lining the roads near Mt. St. Helens during the volcanic event, and they all had the hoods of their cars up- officers had to try and cover the automobile engines, to prevent the ash from inflicting permanent damage. People in the area covered their faces with t-shirts. It looked like a black snowstorm. Deer and wildlife ran, and birds tried to find a wire to sit on. For a while, it was hard to conceive of the idea that we would have a world again. The event was very upsetting to nature.

It is good to know that scientists today continue to monitor activity and assess potential risk to human life, by using new methods to look at Mt. St. Helens and other peaks in the volcanically active Cascade Range. Active mountains in the Cascade Range include Mounts: Rainier, Baker, St. Helens, Adams, Hood, Three Sisters, McLoughlin, and Mt. Shasta.

Mt. St. Helens’s pre-historic human residents were a collection of tribes. Each had a unique language and name for the mountain, as well a legend known as “Keeper of the Fire.” Although there are many versions of many legends, a prominent one that relates to Mt. St. Helens is the story of the Bridge of the Gods, and the creation of the Columbia Gorge.

Author Chuck Williams writes:

In most versions, Mount Hood and Mount Adams, sons of the Great Spirit, fought over a beautiful female mountain. The brothers shook the earth, blocked the sunlight, threw fire at each other, burned the forests, drove off the animals and covered the plants needed by people with ash. The fight cracked the Cascade Range, forming a canyon and a tunnel which emptied the huge lake east of the mountains. The Great Spirit returned and was furious. He left the Bridge of the Gods, the stone arch over the Columbia River, as a monument to peace and placed an elderly, weathered female mountain, Loo-wit, at the bridge as a peacemaker- and as a reminder to the brothers of how transient youthful beauty is. Loo-wit was the keeper of the fire, which had been stolen from atop Wy-east (Mount Hood) by Coyote the Trickster.

Related:

Mount St. Helens eruption: Rare aerial photos never seen before, shot during 1980 eruption

Scientists Plan Explosions Under Mount St. Helens

Electricity And Seismic Waves Give New View Of Mount Rainier’s Volcanic Plumbing

Bibliographic reference for Keeper of the Fire legend:
Mount St. Helens A Changing Landscape
text by Chuck Williams
Introduction by Ray Atkeson
1890: Graphic Arts center Publishing Company PO Box 10306 Portland, Oregon 97210 ISBN 0-912856-63-7
page 19.

Vimeo- Remembering Harry Truman


#TheodoreWafer porch-shooting case: Defense claims Renisha McBride was not alone when she banged on his door

July 23, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Good afternoon:

Despite an incredibly messed up and ultimately failed effort to livestream the trial today, the prosecution and defense gave their opening statements in the Theodore Wafer porch-shooting case.

With the exception of something defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter said during her opening statement, we did not learn anything new.

Oralandar Brand-Williams tweeted,

wafer atty says he was sound asleep the heard “boom, boom, boom, boom” (shouting loudly) about noise she says he heard

wafer cld not find his cell phone, defense atty says. he goes to the kitchen..he is not armed..looking for cell phone..”‘his heart is racing

wafer looks outside and sees not 1 person but 2/ more people..the door was shaking..people were trying to get in, wafer believed, says atty

ted is thinking they’re coming to get me..they’re breaking into my house, says wafer atty.

he’s thinking go away..leave me alone..he goes to get his shotgun.it’s not his first decis. he doesn’t know what else to do, wafer atty says

Marie Osborne adds via twitter:

#TheodoreWafer trial defense: Grabs shot gun AFTER hearing repeated bangs on his front and side door. “Never so scared in his life”

#TheodoreWafer Defense: “He sees a figure and shoots. He looks and knows immediately it’s a shorter person, a woman”

Now, back to Oralandar Brand-Williams,

atty says he didn’t know if renisha was african american, arab, hispanic when he shot her to death.

My comment today:

I wonder who these other mysterious people were and if he told the police about them.

He didn’t mention them to the 911 operator.

We will find out tomorrow if Wafer mentioned these other people to the detectives. My guess is they will deny that he did and hopefully they video and audio recorded what he told them so there will not be any doubt what he said.

Until tomorrow at 9 am EDT.

This is our 1151st post.

If you appreciate what we do, please make a donation to enable us to keep the lights on.

Thanks,

Fred


Theodore Wafer: opening statements today in porch-shooting case

July 23, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Good morning:

Opening statements in the Theodore Wafer porch-shooting trial are scheduled to start today at 9 am EDT.

The precise legal questions to bear in mind as you listen to the lawyers lay out their respective cases in their opening statements are:

(1) whether Wafer acted reasonably when he opened his locked front door and fired his shotgun through his locked screen door killing an unarmed Renisha McBride, and

(2) whether he acted reasonably depends on whether a reasonable person in his situation would have believed himself to be in imminent danger of being killed or suffering serious bodily injury.

Wafer must be presumed innocent. The prosecution has the burden of proving that Wafer did not act reasonably when he shot and killed McBride.

The issues are the same in the Pistorius case.

Although the circumstances vary somewhat, both men fired through locked doors killing their respective victims on the other side.

Did they reasonably believe themselves to be in danger of death or serious bodily injury?

You be the judge.

A news station in Detroit is LiveStreaming this morning here:

http://www.wxyz.com/live2

Split your screen. Watch the opening statements on one and comment on the other.

This is our 1150th post.

If you appreciate what we do, please make a donation to enable us to keep the lights on.

Thanks,

Fred


Tuesday Evening Open Discussion: Comparison of Wafer to Pistorius

July 22, 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Good evening:

Welcome to the Tuesday Evening Open Discussion where off topic is on topic.

A jury of 12 with two alternates has been selected in the #TheodoreWafer porch-shooting case. Two black females, two black males, one Arab male, two minority females, three white females and four white males. Don’t know anything else about them because jury selection was not televised or live streamed.

I am frustrated by the decision not to broadcast jury selection because that is where most trials are won or lost.

Opening statements will commence at 10 9 am EDT tomorrow. They will be livestreamed as will the rest of the trial.

Many people have compared this case to the Zimmerman case, but I believe it more closely resembles the #OscarPistorius case because the defendants in both cases are claiming self-defense after shooting through locked doors at people whom they say they believed to be an intruder (OP) or potential intruder (TW).

What do you think?

Anything else on your mind?

This is our 1149th post.

If you appreciate what we do, please make a donation to enable us to keep the lights on.

Thanks,

Fred


#TheodoreWafer: Day 2 of Jury Selection in Porch-Shooting Case

July 22, 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Good morning:

Total potential jurors excused yesterday for cause:

By the court: 21

Challenged by the prosecution: 2

Challenged by the defense: 3

Here we go again following on twitter, since there is no live coverage.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,014 other followers

%d bloggers like this: