#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


Monday night review of the Dunn trial

February 10, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

Good afternoon:

The State rested today after presenting the medical examiner’s testimony.

The defense called a bunch of friends and family who testified that he is a peaceful man and showed no sign of intoxication or impairment at the wedding reception.

Defense has possibly 2 more witnesses to call:

Doctor John Abuso, who is supposedly an expert regarding reactions by juveniles to extremely stressful situations, and possibly the defendant.

Here’s my take on Dr. Abus, who would presumably testify that fleeing from a shooting scene and ordering a pizza after attempting to kill four teenagers in an SUV is a normal human reaction (H/T to Lurker for the snarky remark):

Many thanks to Blushed Brown for providing a link to John Abuso’s website.

He has a D.Min after his name that I assume to be a Doctor of Divinity. He also claims to be an ordained minister.

Where he went to school to obtain his degree is not listed.

He lists no articles published in professional peer reviewed journals.

He claims to be:

Lic. Marriage & Family Therapist
Clinical Member AAMFT
Clinical Member ATSA

AAMFT is the American Association of Mariage and Family Therapists.

ATSA is the Association for the Treatment of Sex Offenders

He also claims to have received advance training in Ericksonian hypnotherapy.

I am not seeing any evidence of a scientific or medical basis to what this man does.

By almost any standard that I can imagine, this guy is not qualified to express a science or medical based opinion regarding any matter in this case. Therefore, his testimony should be excluded under Rule 702 as not helpful to the jury to decide an issue of that nature in this case.

Because there is no evidence of self-defense admitted into evidence, I do not believe Judge Healey will give a self-defense instruction unless Dunn testifies.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Please I am pleading for donations. We have received less than a dozen for less than $200.

We are not going to be able to pay our rent and electricity for this month without reader donations.

Fred


Liveblogging Michael Dunn trial

February 10, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

Good morning:

We will be live blogging the Michael Dunn trial today and watching the proceedings via live stream link at First Coast News.

I recommend opening two browser pages, one for the blog and the other for the live stream. Size each one half-size so that you can view them side by side.

Court resumes at 9 am.

The trial began a week ago today with jury selection.

A jury of twelve with four alternates was selected and sworn in Wednesday.

Opening statements and the presentation of evidence began Wednesday afternoon.

We had a full day of witness testimony on Saturday.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Seriously, folks we are not getting much of a response to our request for donations and I am not exaggerating when I say we need them desperately.

This is our 885th post.

Fred


Welcome to liveblogging day 9 Zimmerman trial (morning session)

July 5, 2013

Friday, July 5, 2013

Good morning:

Court will resume this morning at 8:30 am EDT.

The prosecution probably will rest is case today.

I am expecting the Assistant Medical Examiner, Dr. Bao, who did the autopsy. Expect graphic and gruesome photos. If you aren’t into that, you may want to cover your screen and listen.

Also expecting the State to call a wind-up witness, possibly FDLE Detective Gilbreath to connect all the dots with charts, diagrams and timelines.

Sybrina Fulton may also testify to identify Trayvon’s voice. If she does, expect Don West to do his best to impeach her credibility by accusing her of being a bad parent and bringing up the lawsuit against the HOA.

Here’s the link to the livestream coverage.

http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nbcnews.com/52117880/

See you in court.

______________________________________________________________

Your continuing support allows me to continue posting independent articles like this.

Please consider making a donation to keep independent journalism alive.

Thank you


Welcome to liveblogging day 7 Zimmerman trial (morning session)

July 2, 2013

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Good morning:

Court will resume this morning at 9 am EDT with Mark O’Mara’s cross examination of Chris Serino, the man who was in charge of the Sanford Police Department’s investigation of the Trayvon Martin homicide.

Court recessed for the day yesterday after Serino admitted that he believed George Zimmerman was telling the truth.

Here’s the link to the livestream coverage.

http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nbcnews.com/52117880/

______________________________________________________________

Your continuing support allows me to continue posting independent articles like this.

Please consider making a donation to keep independent journalism alive.

Thank you


%d bloggers like this: