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Username Post: Court question? Any lawyers here?
phantomenforcer
superstar
Posts 3632
phantomenforcer
01-12-18 08:29 AM - Post#1708823    

I'm kidding, of course, as this is obviously directed to Kanrok.

I have recently had the pleasure of being a state's witness in a 1st degree murder trial as a result of my job duties.

I was there for the opening statements of the prosecution (the defense deferred, presumably until the state rests) and watched them question five witnesses ahead of me.

Based on my knowledge of the case it seems fairly open and shut guilty.

To wit, my question. Is it plausible for a defense team to phone it in for a paycheck when they know there is little hope of an acquittal? Granted, I have not heard the defense's case nor has anyone as the trial is still ongoing, but I seemed to notice inaccuracies and contradictions in the testimony of the witnesses before me that were not jumped on by the defense.

One witness in particular was the one right before me. He was the first law enforcement officer on scene. During his testimony he sounded exceedingly daft and made several contradictions and outright inaccuracies about who was on the scene before he arrived and after he arrived, but prior to any other law enforcement. I know this because I was there and he testified that the victim's fiance and 3 firefighters were the only ones on the scene when he barred further entry.

I know EMS is the forgotten ones, but I assume that the defense has a timeline of people on scene and a list of witnesses.

Anyway, they never question him on these inaccuracies during cross examination.

Even more mind boggling is that the deputy is no longer a deputy as he was dismissed for misconduct a few years ago. He was only on the job for about 4 years total. Remember, he sounded quite daft on the stand. I do not know the nature of the misconduct, but the defense never brought it up or questioned him about it.

Shouldn't they have questioned him about that as it would potentially call into question his credibility as a witness, especially being the first law enforcement on scene along with obvious inaccuracies in his testimony?

To further add to his daftness, as an aside, he went to the stand with several papers and answered the first few questions from the state while reading off the paper. The defense did pounce on this and were grated discovery of the papers and the deputy was not allowed to have them back while on the stand.

To me, it would seem that a proper defense could have dismantled his credibility on this case and brought into question all further evidence that was subsequently collected.

Perhaps I am wrong and that is why I'm asking here? Maybe I watch too much Law & Order.

Here's the link to the latest article on the trial in case you're interested:

Link
taz
hall of famer
Posts 9730
taz
01-12-18 10:24 AM - Post#1708833    

They are lawyers. Just slightly above politicians on the greed and ethics scale. Of course they'll phone it in sometimes.
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Kanrok
legend
Posts 22318
Kanrok
01-12-18 11:03 AM - Post#1708838    

There is not enough information for me to answer with any confidence.

Trial lawyers make decisions about cross examination questions before the witness takes the stand. But that is all subject to change the moment the witness opens his or her mouth.

Cross exam is an art, not a science. I wouldn’t second guess the defense attorney without knowing his or her trial strategy.

Sometimes avenues of cross examination are closed by pre-trial court rulings (called motions in limine).

Sometimes the cross examiner would stay away from what appears to be obvious fruitful questions for strategy reasons,

For example, the witness may make a huge blunder on the placement or existence of evidence that is contradicted by documentary evidence from another witness.

The lawyer may like the bulk of the testimony of a witness because it falls in line with their theory of the case, and crossing the witness on issues that would call the witnesses observations into question undercut the theory of the case.

Sometimes trials are just long pleas of guilty. Defense attorneys may not have any reasonable means of winning the case, but cannot take the plea, or need to try the case to preserve appellate review, i.e., the judge made a huge blunder in pre-trial motions, like a motion to suppress evidence or a confession.

And it is perfectly reasonable to conclude that the defense lawyer is lazy, or stupid, or just doesn’t care.

In my experience that is the least likely circumstance.

Criminal defense attorneys are a breed apart, but it is rare for them to just phone it in.


“The greatest thing we can do just unite and love on each other and like, no barriers, no borders, like, we all need to just co-exist.”

- K. Perry

phantomenforcer
superstar
Posts 3632
phantomenforcer
01-12-18 11:21 AM - Post#1708840    

I figured there was some sort of explanation. Perhaps they do have a cunning strategy. I would think they would never phone it in on a high profile case (locally anyway).

Although this is the second time I've testified in court and I have yet to be cross examined. I must not be that interesting.

One more question, this was originally going to be a capital murder case, but from what I heard she was found incompetent to face the death penalty and now is facing life.

Does that make any sense or is the person that told me that a moron?

The defendant did try to commit suicide in jail when her bond was denied years ago.
Kanrok
legend
Posts 22318
Kanrok
01-12-18 11:35 AM - Post#1708844    

I suppose there can be a mechanism to prevent a person from being subjected to the death penalty, but since I’ve been away from the criminal side for a long time I can’t really speak to that now.

I stayed in the SAO specifically to prosecute a death penalty case. The defense attorney in that case asked me to come to his office to discuss the case after we declared we would seek the death penalty.

He had a stack of medical records about a couple of feet high documenting multiple hospitalizations.

The defendant would purposely hurt himself and was diagnosed with Munchausen Syndrome. He would eat glass, throw himself in front of cars, take a knife and stab himself, and a host of other terrible things. He actually threw himself in front of an ambulance. I guess he was trying to cut out the middleman.

Based on these records, we decided to plea him out for life without the possibility of parole and an agreement that he wouldn’t file any appeals or post conviction motions.

So, in my experience, the prosecutor can be convinced to drop the death penalty in certain circumstances.
“The greatest thing we can do just unite and love on each other and like, no barriers, no borders, like, we all need to just co-exist.”

- K. Perry

FreezingTexan
legend
Posts 12565
FreezingTexan
01-12-18 04:39 PM - Post#1708855    

One of my fiancees law professors is a practicing criminal defense attorney she said the first thing she tells a client is "It's not my job to get you a not guilty verdict, my job is to make sure you get a fair trial and the prosecution dots their Is and crosses their Ts."
Germany, it's like Wisconsin only with a really bad past.

Kanrok
legend
Posts 22318
Kanrok
01-12-18 06:28 PM - Post#1708863    

I’ve always felt that defense attorneys are primarily involved as a check on governmental power.

So I tend to agree with that assessment.
“The greatest thing we can do just unite and love on each other and like, no barriers, no borders, like, we all need to just co-exist.”

- K. Perry

phantomenforcer
superstar
Posts 3632
phantomenforcer
01-23-18 07:57 AM - Post#1709365    

Link

"Defense attorneys James Davis and Jay White, in an unusual strategy, presented no evidence on their client’s behalf, and Johnson elected to not testify in her own defense, which is not uncommon."

Still kind of seems like they're phoning it in or, maybe much more likely, have nothing to work with as far as a legitimate defense.

It seems like deliberations are going to start soon and I'd like to go to see the verdict being read, but who knows when that will actually happen. I'f I'm off I might go to see impact statements and sentencing if she is found guilty.


Kanrok
legend
Posts 22318
Kanrok
01-23-18 09:14 AM - Post#1709370    

I don’t know if I’d call that an unusual strategy.

Lawyers often decide not to put on proofs.

Many times the cross examination of a witness will be more helpful to the other side.

Again, I would not criticize the trial strategy of the defense attorneys without knowing more.
“The greatest thing we can do just unite and love on each other and like, no barriers, no borders, like, we all need to just co-exist.”

- K. Perry

phantomenforcer
superstar
Posts 3632
phantomenforcer
01-24-18 01:15 PM - Post#1709418    

Guilty, life in prison.
Kanrok
legend
Posts 22318
Kanrok
01-24-18 02:22 PM - Post#1709422    

Sounds like a good result!

Now come the appeals, post-conviction petitions and habeus corpus motions.

Followed by the inevitable ineffective assistance of counsel arguments.

The real defense work now begins.
“The greatest thing we can do just unite and love on each other and like, no barriers, no borders, like, we all need to just co-exist.”

- K. Perry

phantomenforcer
superstar
Posts 3632
phantomenforcer
01-25-18 05:30 AM - Post#1709443    

They sent the jury home on Tuesday and discussed instructions for them after that. So I think they began deliberations Wednesday morning at 0930 and I checked the website at 11am and the guilty verdict was in. I don't know how long that had been up. It seems they deliberated for about 30 seconds.

Later I saw that the judged ordered life. I was wanting to go see the impact statements, but it happened too fast.

Apparently, during the prosecutions's closing statements, the defendant interrupted and wanted to say something in which the judge promptly denied saying she declined to testify and she won't start now, or something to that effect.
phantomenforcer
superstar
Posts 3632
phantomenforcer
01-25-18 05:34 AM - Post#1709444    

Less than 2 hrs deliberation.

Link
Kanrok
legend
Posts 22318
Kanrok
01-25-18 01:13 PM - Post#1709469    

I once prosecuted a man for raping his wife.

The jury was out for only 15 minutes.

14 of those minutes were taken up by the court officer getting a doughnut.

It was NG.
“The greatest thing we can do just unite and love on each other and like, no barriers, no borders, like, we all need to just co-exist.”

- K. Perry

ChiBoyinLA
all star
Posts 1458
ChiBoyinLA
02-09-18 03:20 PM - Post#1710282    

Reading about the case here; would have been tough to come up with any sound defense other than insanity given this evidence. But the defendant would have to authorize her attorneys to go that route. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5309133/N o...
"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." -- John Wooden

NYRfan
legend
Posts 35742
02-09-18 03:48 PM - Post#1710283    

Susquehanna Hat Company !

Tuscarora Yarn Company !


Stabbed THROUGH the neck. Handle broke off. Ouch.

oldtimebruin4
veteran
Posts 293
02-09-18 08:16 PM - Post#1710284    

just came across this thread and was stunned at one aspect. Your saying you were a witness in the case and were allowed to sit in on other testimony BEFORE you testified. That wouldn't happen in New York. How can you hear what another witness says before you take the stand ? Idiotic , then you could alter your testimony to match what the prior witness said. I was in criminal Supreme Court for 30 years and never heard of that happening. Makes no sense.
phantomenforcer
superstar
Posts 3632
phantomenforcer
02-10-18 06:52 AM - Post#1710293    

Yup, there were 5 witnesses before me and I saw every one.

I still find it archaic that I have to swear in to tell the truth with my hand on a bible. I have never made a scene about it, but it does make me feel hypocritical to swear to tell the truth on what I consider a book of lies and contradictions. Tradition I guess, but the idea of losing my career to perjury charges is enough to make me want to tell the truth.
oldtimebruin4
veteran
Posts 293
02-10-18 02:39 PM - Post#1710310    

Listen I don't know you and always just commented on hockey subjects in the past. But your whole bible rant is more b.s. Again I was in the courtroom for 30 years swearing people in and if you didn't want to swear on the bible you didn't have to. You just had to say you affirmed. So the perjury stuff has nothing to do with the bible. I still find it hard to believe anywhere in the U.S. a witness can be in the courtroom and hear court rulings and testimony before they testify. That was grounds for an immediate mistrial in new york. I mean really if a person can see what is said and court rulings on what can and can't be admitted BEFORE THEY TESTIFY it would surely affect their testimony. It would be so easy to give the same details with no contradictions since you just heard their testimony.I swear on a stack of bibles I never saw or heard of that happening in a
criminal court trial. I know there are some different procedures and rules in different states but this makes no sense.
phantomenforcer
superstar
Posts 3632
phantomenforcer
02-10-18 05:36 PM - Post#1710320    

  • oldtimebruin4 Said:
Listen I don't know you and always just commented on hockey subjects in the past. But your whole bible rant is more b.s. Again I was in the courtroom for 30 years swearing people in and if you didn't want to swear on the bible you didn't have to. You just had to say you affirmed. So the perjury stuff has nothing to do with the bible. I still find it hard to believe anywhere in the U.S. a witness can be in the courtroom and hear court rulings and testimony before they testify. That was grounds for an immediate mistrial in new york. I mean really if a person can see what is said and court rulings on what can and can't be admitted BEFORE THEY TESTIFY it would surely affect their testimony. It would be so easy to give the same details with no contradictions since you just heard their testimony.I swear on a stack of bibles I never saw or heard of that happening in a
criminal court trial. I know there are some different procedures and rules in different states but this makes no sense.



1. So we've established that you know NY rules. So that means you do not know what you are talking about when it comes down to NC rules.

2. Why the hell would I make this up. That is what really makes no sense.

3. What bible rant? What BS? I was making an observation that I prefer not to make a scene over something ultimately inconsequential when the point of me being there is to provide testimony for justice to be served.

4. I was just there because I was subpoena'd. If there is cause for a mistrial, then it is up to the lawyers and courts to decide. They told me to sit in the gallery until I was called and that's what I did.

I don't know you and I have no reason to doubt that they way thing run in NY is different than down in NC. However, I will affirm that you went from zero to cunt in record time.



Kanrok
legend
Posts 22318
Kanrok
02-10-18 06:17 PM - Post#1710323    

I will say that in my experience it is unusual, but not unheard of to have witnesses sitting in court before they testify.

The normal course is to move to sequester witnesses, but I have seen, and allowed, witnesses to be in court before they testify, but usually (and it didn’t happen often) it would be witnesses like phantom, who are only there to set the scene.

As for swearing on the Bible, my jurisdiction allows witnesses to swear or affirm. No Bible is used.
“The greatest thing we can do just unite and love on each other and like, no barriers, no borders, like, we all need to just co-exist.”

- K. Perry

phantomenforcer
superstar
Posts 3632
phantomenforcer
02-10-18 09:06 PM - Post#1710326    

I didn't know affirming was an option. I just figured when in the bible belt....

This was only my second time in court ever. The first was a drunk scooter operator that was defending himself, not quite on the same level as this case.


I don't know if other witnesses after me where kept sequestered. My guess would be no since they didn't even bother with mine. Granted, my testimony was nothing groundbreaking as it was almost the same as several before me. I think the main point was that I didn't disturb anything on the scene.

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