Author Topic: A general question about strategy for the lawyers among us.  (Read 3804 times)

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Offline Kyreth

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I know it's been requested to not post any kind of theories etc unless it's been brought up by the prosecution or defense, so I'm going to try and keep this question on a general level, but I'm really curious how this might work from a legal perspective.

If you have a client who has given several statements to the police, with some inconsistencies that you know the prosecution is waiting to exploit on cross, but believe the story is true as a whole...how do you handle that?

I can think of some ideas that would seem to work by using common sense, but don't know if they would be legally viable.  But can the Defense, say, ask the Defense to explain the inconsistencies on direct to take the steam out of them before the Prosecution sets in?

Offline Lousy1

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Re: A general question about strategy for the lawyers among us.
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2012, 06:25:02 PM »
I know it's been requested to not post any kind of theories etc unless it's been brought up by the prosecution or defense, so I'm going to try and keep this question on a general level, but I'm really curious how this might work from a legal perspective.

If you have a client who has given several statements to the police, with some inconsistencies that you know the prosecution is waiting to exploit on cross, but believe the story is true as a whole...how do you handle that?

I can think of some ideas that would seem to work by using common sense, but don't know if they would be legally viable.  But can the Defense, say, ask the Defense to explain the inconsistencies on direct to take the steam out of them before the Prosecution sets in?

I am not a lawyer, however couldn't the defense examine a forensic psychologist to legitimize testimonial discrepancies?

Offline willisnewton

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Re: "credibility experts"
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2012, 08:34:14 AM »
The difficulty with introducing expert witnesses to address credibility issues is that in some global sense the defense ends up looking like they are asking the classic guilty man's question: "who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes (ears)? 

And expert at a trial usually is met by another expert with an opposing chart/ theory explanation etc. Yes, the defense can go down that path but I'm unsure where it would lead except to the prosecution asserting a different and much simpler explanation for the contradictions and inconsistencies which they are sure to do anyway only in thiscase with a guy in a white lab coat asserting the same thing, basically. 

GZ already tried the fear, mistrust and confusion defense with the judge regarding hidden money and hidden passport issues. It didn't seem to play well, IMO.  Attempting to use ADD or ADHD and or PTSD to excuse or explain inconsistent statements to police is certainly an option but bear in mind the officers can and will be called to the stand to give a much simpler explanation for seemingly contradictory statements that are met with equivocation on the day and "experts" in court.  Also said experts will be asked on cross "were you there that night" and, "is another explanation possible, to wit, that GZ is /was simply lying?".

As for GZ taking the stand, yes he has that option but then faces cross.  You tell me what inconsistencies and contradictions he might be asked about and how his earlier " explanations" might effectively counter them. You may not be a lawyer but you are at least a juror for the sake of argument. 

Offline Lousy1

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Re: A general question about strategy for the lawyers among us.
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2012, 08:54:53 AM »
An expert can testify to the vagaries of memory under traumatic stress. IMO the prosecution would have difficulties rebutting, widely accepted, scientific evidence.

Offline Lousy1

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Re: A general question about strategy for the lawyers among us.
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2012, 10:19:26 PM »
GZ has no problem recalling details that speak to his claim of innocence, but details he seemed confident on in previous interviews grow vague whenever he is confronted with contradictions. 


I think this is an opinion.


"DS: And I asked you did, would you, did you, you know, look for him and you told me no.
GZ: I don’t remember, ma’am. I’m sorry.
DS: You told me the only, the reason you got out of your car was to get an address.
GZ: Yes, right.
DS: But you decided to get the address…fresh in the second after you say, “Oh, sh*t, he’s running.” And then it sounds like you’re running too.
CS: Cause it was fast walking maybe?
GZ: No, it was just windy.

Statements like these are not memory problems, IMO.  They are credibility problems.  And the defense can try to parse them all they want, and to pick and chose where GZ is telling the truth and where he is "confused" or whatever but the jury may not buy it. 

But this part mostly been refuted an I would characterize as a lie. Maybe you should stick to opinions?

Offline Kyreth

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Re: A general question about strategy for the lawyers among us.
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2012, 10:34:57 PM »

DS: And I asked you did, would you, did you, you know, look for him and you told me no.
GZ: I don’t remember, ma’am. I’m sorry.
DS: You told me the only, the reason you got out of your car was to get an address.
GZ: Yes, right.
DS: But you decided to get the address…fresh in the second after you say, “Oh, sh*t, he’s running.” And then it sounds like you’re running too.
CS: Cause it was fast walking maybe?
GZ: No, it was just windy.

Statements like these are not memory problems, IMO.

When GZ first talked to Singleton he didn't mention following him.  But then at the reenactment George remembers and points it out that he was, and told the dispatcher he was, then he reiterated that again during the stress test that he was following him.

George wasn't adverse to admitting he was following Trayvon.  It just seemed it took going back to the scene to remind him of it.  That's a memory problem.

So I think Singleton was being very unfair there...she practically lies to George by making it sound like George is trying to hide that he followed Trayvon until advised not to, even though George specified it at least twice, and this caused George to try and explain a position that he shouldn't have had to explain.  It's no wonder they stumped him into saying "I don't remember."

Offline Kyreth

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Re: A general question about strategy for the lawyers among us.
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2012, 10:41:38 PM »
But anyways, I kinda figured that bringing experts to explain his memory etc would be part of the Defense's strategy.  And though I tried to keep this vague as opposed to discussing Defense theories that haven't been brought up yet, this points out a good example.

I'd bet that on the stand, on direct examination, George would explain that he got out of the truck and followed Trayvon until the dispatcher advised him not to.  Would the Defense then be permitted to ask "Why did you not mention that to Singleton" so George could explain how  that as he remembered it he did try to explain it on two separate occasions to preempt the question on Cross?  Or would George just have to take his lumps the best he could on Cross then use redirect + experts/psychologists to minimize the damge?

Offline TalkLeft

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Re: "credibility experts"
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2012, 01:10:05 PM »
The difficulty with introducing expert witnesses to address credibility issues is that in some global sense the defense ends up looking like they are asking the classic guilty man's question: "who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes (ears)? 

Willis, this is your opinion.  Are you an attorney? Whether you are or aren't, please state your opinions as opinions, not fact.

Offline willisnewton

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Re: A general question about strategy for the lawyers among us.
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2012, 10:14:12 PM »
IMO GZ probably remembers quite well chasing TM down TTL with his car, causing him to run, and intentionally lied and contradicted himself in an attempt to cover this up.  This is my opinion and it's also the simplest way to resolve his twin stories of where he was approached by the teen with his hand in his waistband, yes in my opinion.  GZ marked a position on the map shown him by Singleton where he says he parked but quickly refutes it and amends it to the final spot by the cut thru.  IMO that point was just south of the clubhouse on the first bend in TTL, where there is a circle, a highlighted pen and what looks like an x in the map we've seen.   IMO that's not a memory problem, that's a cover story that creates inconsistencies which get resolved when you examine the ramifications and compare this middle position to the recording of his call to dispatch, and consider as supporting testimony the recollections of dee dee that TM was near a mail shed.   

GZ repeatedly tells investigators he is "by the clubhouse" when played the recording of "is he near the clubhouse now?/yes,  aNd now he's coming towards me.".  What sort of memory problem is he having there? False memories?  I'm sure he and a paid expert can claim that but a jury might think there is a simpler explanation for a man with motive to omit and obfuscate and prevaricate and yes, lie to investigators.  Because when IMO he contradicts himself earlier that day during the walk thru and claims TM  approached his car in a doubling back/ circling action that seems unlikely given the testimony of DeeDee GZ also recalls the specific detail of the unarmed teen having his hand in his waistband.  So IMO the choice a jury will need to make is "false memory" vs "contradiction/false narrative to hide an action." But that's just my opinion and no IANAL.

We all forget things.  People make things up that didnt happen for a reason. 

 

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