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Jury Duty 103: The Trial

The trial is key when it comes to evidence for jurors.

UNITED STATES—The waiting to be chosen for the jury has been discussed; the jury selection process has been complete, now it is time for the actual trail to begin. Let me just say this people that notion of things in an actual courtroom being just like on TV. Toss that out the window. Judge Judy not real people, things are amped up for TV purposes.

We hear the prosecutor actually deliver his opening statements which were quite compelling and dramatic to a degree. It has always been said that attorneys are actors in their own right and I got to see that a bit first hand. The defense then gives his opening statement for his client, who just happened to be in a wheelchair. After those opening statements, the first witness is called to the stand by the prosecutor: it is the victim in the case who was assaulted with a weapon causing great physical bodily harm. The victim’s testimony was compelling, but at the same time decisive.

At times you couldn’t tell if she was just flustered, emotional or simply couldn’t recall what transpired on that fateful night when a gun was allegedly used to pistol whip her knocking several teeth in her mouth out, in addition, to being bitten by the defendant leaving several marks on her arm. She didn’t recall being questioned by the police even though actual video was presented in the courtroom capturing her being questioned. Perhaps she didn’t remember that much because she was indeed drinking heavily with the defendant on the day the incident transpired.

The defendant didn’t recall all the details, but she did indeed recall staple moments that unfolded like the assault and the perpetrator of that assault. She was asked by the prosecutor to take out her false teeth as a result of the incident that was a jarring moment for the jury to witness in addition to the photos of the actual assault that was presented to us in the courtroom. This is where evidence is key in the case. The more evidence you have the easier it becomes to convince or produce to a jury that something unfolded and we’re able to connect the dots and make sense of what has unfolded.

After the victim gave her testimony, she was cross-examined by the defense that raised some interesting questions. The victim couldn’t recall the last name of the defendant as she explained to officers when she was questioned during the incident. That was odd considering that she had knew the defendant since high school. This is not to say that you should know everyone’s last name, but if you’ve known someone for a period of time I would think knowing a last name would come up at some point right?

That was not the only loophole the defense attempted to address like the fact that the victim didn’t immediately call the police after informing the defendant she wanted him to exit her vehicle after she felt it was time to go home. In addition, she felt she had a bit too much to drink and it may have become dangerous for her to drive. The defendant yelled some expletives that lead to the plaintiff removing the defendant’s wheelchair from her trunk and placed it by the passenger door for him to assemble and be on his way. It was made clear during the trial that the defendant while not able to move his legs could use his arms and knew how to assemble his wheelchair. Why is that important? The victim did not know how to assemble, and testimony was given that the defendant had been carrying a gun in his lap, specifically a pistol the entire day.

Raises a lot of questions: 1) drinking and driving 2) a firearm 3) a gun and alcohol 4) escalated situation; these are all ingredients for something bad to transpire people, which is what occurred. The victim got back into her car and tried to contact the police when the defendant allegedly bit her arm and continued to bite as she tried contacting anyone she could get in touch with. The defendant continued to attempt to take the phone and after a period of time her teeth were knocked out.

What transpired after that, all we know is that the police arrived on the scene and interviewed the victim. The officer who interviewed the victim was called to testify to the stand and specifically asked questions about the weapon found at the scene. The officer couldn’t recall all the details and had to read the police report not once, but twice. I did find this odd, but he’s a police officer, he can’t remember every single detail from each interaction they have with the public unless it is something quite jarring.

The biggest issue with his testimony is the jury discovering a pistol was NOT found at the crime scene, officers found a sawed off shot gun. That is a weapon that is much larger than a pistol and if we’re talking about being pistol weapon with a sawed off shot gun to knock out one’s teeth, a lot more force is needed to do that. Doubt has been raised people, and in the courtroom reasonable doubt is vital in determining a verdict. Officers found that pistol a distance from the actual crime scene. So was it tied to the victim, the defendant? Guess what the jury did not have that information. Talk about complicating the case dynamics people. The defense didn’t cross-examine the officer because I don’t think it was necessary.

So the officer is dismissed and we get to the third and final witness, the defendant’s aunt. I thought it was odd when she was sworn in it was made clear the testimony she delivered was honest and truthful and the potency of that, which wasn’t echoed as sternly with the first two witnesses in my opinion. The testimony this woman gave was not credible. It made no sense and I did not trust a single word that came out of her mouth.

For starters, she stated she was driven to the crime scene by some random stranger in the middle of the night noting her nephew needed help. How did she know her nephew needed help if he hadn’t contacted her? She didn’t know the name of this so called stranger, who was not a witness in the case? Um, I would think I would want that person in the courtroom for the defense. She noted she arrived on the scene and saw her nephew’s wheelchair that was not in close proximity for her nephew to assemble.

She stumbled upon the victim and defendant tussling or fighting as the aunt claimed and her nephew punched the victim in the mouth knocking out the teeth. What did this confirm? We know without a doubt now the defendant did assault the victim, but rather a weapon was used or not has really become a questionable stance people. She stated she tried to stop the altercation after seeing the teeth be punched out of the victim’s mouth. Her words, as she claimed she picked up the victim’s teeth. Hmm, if you were that close in proximity why NOT stop the altercation before it reached that point. That doesn’t make much sense people.

The aunt later claimed the victim struck her nephew first hitting in the head which caused him to react by biting her arm and later punching her in the mouth claiming self-defense. Ok, but where was the evidence of this? If he went to the hospital that night, why wasn’t there a medical report or something proving those injuries? More potent why did the defendant and his so called witness not stay on the scene until the police arrived? If it was self-defense wouldn’t you want the authorities to have your side of the story and back up this evidence of the assault on the defendant?

Where were his so called injuries and why wasn’t that presented in court. If you present that evidence it backs up a claim of self-defense, but without it the questions are raised even higher. More holes in her story than all of the witnesses.

After all that testimony, the jury receives the closing arguments and we are now given instructions on the next step in the case: the deliberation. Read the next column because the fireworks are about to explode.

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