1/07/2012

SOMETIMES THE JURY REALLY HONORS THE DEFENDANT’S RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT AND THE PROSECUTION’S BURDEN OF PROOF BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT

I just concluded a month-long homicide jury trial and the jury acquitted the defendant of murder, two counts of attempted murder, and shooting into an inhabited dwelling. (For more information click on the attached link: http://www.dailyrepublic.com/?p=124187) This blog is about an instance where the jury actually followed the laws of the presumption of innocence, the prosecution’s burden to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and most importantly, the defendant’s right to remain silent and to not testify on his own behalf.

What most people don’t actually realize is that the defendant’s defense case begins the minute the defense attorney gets up and cross-examines the witness. In fact, cross-examination has been said to be the “greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth.” A skilled defense attorney can actually destroy the prosecution’s case merely by careful cross-examination. In fact, some legal scholars contend that if you strongly believe that the prosecution has failed to prove its case, you lose credibility with the jury by putting on a weak defense, or for that matter any defense at all.

In the above-noted murder case, the jury had heard over a month of testimony and I selectively cross-examined the witnesses that pertained to my client’s defense -- including the uncharged accomplice who lied to the jury when she falsely identified my client as the second gunman. This witness was the only witness who placed my client at the scene of the crime. She received a free pass from the cops even though she drove the two gunmen to the crime scene with the knowledge they had guns and were gonna shoot the place up when she dropped them off. In addition to not being charged with any crime, they let her designate herself a victim. After that, they gave her $16,000.00 in cash and valuable prizes for her “cooperation.”

During cross-examination, I played several dozen excerpts of her audio recorded statement to the police which flatly contradicted her trial testimony. In addition, I played excerpts of her best friend’s statement to the police that the driver/snitch told him minutes before the shooting that the person the driver/snitch really dropped off with guns blazing was someone other than my client.

Because I believed that the testimony of the uncharged accomplice, and by extension, the prosecution’s case was discredited, my client elected to exercise his right to remain silent, and we put on no defense testimony. The jury acquitted.

Sometimes less is more.

1 comment:

  1. Tim you are a pimp extroidinaire. Woop Woop.

    ReplyDelete