#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.

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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


Watch Zimmerman bail hearing live stream and comment

November 19, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Good afternoon:

Watch the Zimmerman bail hearing live via live stream and comment below.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 1:30 pm EST.

http://www.clickorlando.com/

http://livewire.wesh.com/Event/Watch_WESH_2_News_Live_2

http://www.wcpo.com/news/national/george-zimmerman-bail-hearing-live-video-stream-watch-zimmerman-in-court-video-live-online

For those who missed the hearing, you can watch it here on youtube.


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/

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Please consider making a donation to keep independent journalism alive.

Thank you


All Female Jury to decide Zimmerman case, Opening Statements Monday at 9 am

June 20, 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Good evening:

We have a jury, an all female jury.

B-29
B-76
B-37
B-51
E-6
E-40

The four alternates:

E-54
B-72
E-13
E-28

Two males and two females.

Here’s a link to fauxmccoy’s chart on the jurors.

Those in green made the jury. Those in red were stricken.

I tried hundreds of cases during my 30 year career and never had an all female or an all male jury.

5 of the 6 women are white. One is Hispanic.

5 of the 6 women are mothers.

I would be very worried, if I were George Zimmerman, because I believe those mothers are not going to believe him. I think they are going to hold him accountable for killing an unarmed teenager.

I am unhappy that none of the jurors are black, but I do not believe that is going to affect the final outcome of this case.

I predict GZ will testify because Mark O’Mara did not voir dire the panel of jurors regarding a defendant’s right to remain silent and not testify. When my clients decided not to testify, I always made sure that the jurors understood that my clients were not required to testify and no one could assume that their silence was evidence of guilt.

Judge Nelson announced that counsel will give their opening statements beginning at 9 am EDT on Monday morning.

After she dismissed the remainder of the panel and swore in the jurors, Judge Nelson excused the jury and completed the evidentiary part of the Frye hearing.

Assistant State Attorney Manthei summed up the situation when he said there was nothing novel or new about the methodologies used by the State’s experts. What is new is a move across several different scientific disciplines to establish a universal set of standards to use when attempting to match a recording of an unknown voice to a database of recorded voices of known individuals in order to declare a match.

That is a far more complicated task than listening to a known voice and excluding that known individual as the source of a voice on a recording. There are only two possible sources of the terrified shriek that ends with the shot and it’s not difficult to exclude the armed defendant who admitted firing the fatal shot as the source of that scream.

Manthei added that the State was not responsible for the recent news reports that the defense had an expert who identified GZ as the source of the scream.

And some PJs mentioned hearing that in the news before reporting for jury service.

However, as it turned out, the defense could find no expert to testify to that opinion and the reports were false.

If I were Judge Nelson, I would rule that the State’s experts may testify and express their opinions. The defendant’s objections go to the weight of the evidence, not its admissibility.

Judge Nelson will issue her ruling after court reconvenes at 9 am tomorrow.

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Please consider making a donation to keep independent journalism alive.

Thank you


Watch and Comment: Zimmerman Frye Hearing Livestream

June 6, 2013

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Good morning:

Judge Nelson set aside today and tomorrow for a Frye hearing regarding the admissibility of expert testimony about the death shriek and a hearing on the defense motion for sanctions and a judicial inquiry into alleged discovery violations by the State.

Not sure which order she plans to hear these motions, but I am sure we will find that out when the hearing starts in about 25 minutes @ 9 am EDT.

Here is a link to the livestream:

http://wildabouttrial.com/george-zimmerman-live-stream.html

Comment below.

Due to inclement weather, Crane and I have decided not to take our computers with us on our trip to TN for a doctor’s appointment. We will be with you for the first 1.5 hours and catch up with you later after we return.

Peace


What to expect tomorrow at the hearings in the Zimmerman case

June 5, 2013

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Good morning:

Except for RZ, Jr.’s unsupported claim that Dr. Alan Reich’s opinions are based on voodoo science, nothing new has been reported in the press today about the case.

Speaking of new, the purpose of a Frye hearing is to determine whether a new or novel scientific theory or methodology is generally accepted in the scientific community. If the answer to the question is “No,” evidence obtained using that theory or methodology will be excluded and the jury will never hear about it.

If the theory or methodology used is not novel or new, the evidence will be admitted and objections to the accuracy of the results will go to weight and not admissibility. In other words, the jury will determine how much weight to assign to the evidence.

I think the defendant’s objections go to weight rather than admissibility, since the technology used is not novel or new.

Therefore, I am predicting that Judge Nelson will deny the defense motion to exclude testimony by the defense audiologists, including Dr. Reich.

The other motion scheduled for tomorrow is the defense motion for sanctions and a judicial review of alleged prosecution discovery violations. This will involve a continuation of the hearing that began last Tuesday with Wesley West on the stand. West, the former Nassau County prosecutor who resigned due to differences of opinion with State Attorney Angela Corey last December, represents whistleblower Ben Kruidbos, the Fourth Circuit Director of Information Technology who is going to testify that Bernie de la Rionda had photographs and video from Trayvon Martin’s cell phone that he did not disclose to the defense.

As I have said before, “Who cares?”

BDLR turned over the BIN file to the defense back in January, but the defense did not hire anyone to extract it or purchase the software to do it themselves.

In addition, the information on the phone is not relevant, admissible or exculpatory and, in light of Mark O’Mara’s lie about a video supposedly depicting Travon laughing as his buddies beat up a homeless person, O’Mara should have the decency to withdraw the motion and apologize for filing it.

He will not do that, of course.

I would deny his frivolous motion and fine him, if not jail him for contempt, but Judge Nelson is nicer than I am, so she will just deny it or hold off on issuing a ruling until after the trial, which is what she did with the last defense motion for sanctions.

The testimony from the audiologists should be interesting and worth listening to. After they are finished testifying, I think O’Mara will deeply regret having asked for a Frye hearing.

This is a golden opportunity for BDLR to inform the jury panel, the nation and the world on the eve of trial that Trayvon uttered the death shriek.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9 am EDT.

We will live blog on the road via livestream from a motorcycle somewhere deep in Tennessee.

Ciao, baby.

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Please keep those donations coming.

We’ll need the gas money to get home.

Many blessings to all of you from

Fred and Crane


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