My client was convicted yesterday of seven counts of crimes he says he did not commit. I believe my client. Of course, only he and the complaining witness really know what what down, if anything. A jury convicted as it chose to believe the young woman.
Should I have not waived closing argument and told the jury what I thought? Certainly, the decision not to do so is controversial. But I stand by the tactical decision. A jury prepared to convict on the decade's old allegation of a single witness without corroboration is a runaway train. Better perhaps to have thrown myself in front of it, I suppose.
But stunning though the verdict was, the response by way of emails reminds me why criminal defense lawyers are necessary. The world is filled with self-righteous hatred, and foolish bigots prepared to tar, feather and burn their own shadows. I reprint in full one email I received within an hour of the verdict.
The writer is someone who saw part of the trial and heard about the rest. They knew the verdict before it was published. They knew there were six jurors and two alternates who heard the case, but are not familiar with the fact that only six jurors decided it. Odds are the post is not a courthouse staffer, but a relative of the complaining witness or interested witness. The pain in the email makes evident why criminal trials are futile: New pain simply replaces old. Slaking the rage of strangers is an endless task.
I am betting the writer is either a therapist who testified with the slack-jawed elegance of bar hop, or, perhaps, the mother of the complaining witness.
In any case, I pass along the following of a visceral reminder of the power of hate, and why lawyers are, after all, necessary, tactical decisions and all. It takes a certain amount of courage to stand up for another. Of course, it takes none to post anonymously, and so, until the hissies stop fitting, I will disable anonymous posting for a while. The last time I did it, a complaining witness's family was wishing that I would die in prison, the victim of rape. Today's swill is the same old stuff, merely one step removed from naked rage.
IN WHICH I AM REVEALED A SLOVENLY, GOD-FORSAKEN, SELF-CENTERED FOOL IN NEED OF A HAIRCUT ...
"GUILTY ON ALL 7 COUNTS - by an eight member jury within a day's review of all evidence. Everything... from the subject matter experts, to the quality and credibility of witnesses - to the slovenly way the defense attorney and defendant presented themselves at their table. It all added up - and it was an unequivocal and obvious GUILTY verdict. Does anyone understand?... why would the defendant coach a young girls soccer team for a couple seasons?... with no children of his own (much less daughters!) - always wanting to be with the children at family functions!... and we trusted this poor, pathetic, sick individual. I PRAY that this guilty party never harmed or preyed upon any of his other young family members or other children that were placed in his stead all these years (although it is unlikely). I pray that if they find out about the justice handed down today - that THEY will be brave and come forward as well. Shallow is the comfort for the horrific, scarring experiences of an innocent child - her innocence violated repeatedly - who's own life and the life of her family - was threatened repeatedly if she were ever to 'tell anyone'. STRONG - was the victim's will to bring justice and closure to all of this - so she can live a happy and normal life... for the rest of her life. The guilty criminal was wrong! We LOVE and BELIEVE the victim! We would NOT run and hide. We would NOT let the feelings of SHAME diminish our overriding and unending love for this precious child - this gift from God.
"It is in the LIGHT, where truth is revealed – for ALL to see - no matter what the cost or the pain might be. It is the only way to peace and freedom from such a horrific act like this – perpetrated upon an innocent child. This was a little girl who loved and adored her ‘uncle’ and aunt. She had no reason whatsoever to contrive such an awful list of abuse. Tell me… who of you, were in the courtroom to hear testimony - to actually witness the testimony? Would you blindly believe this self-indulgent, narcissistic atheist - that spews trite on this blog without any other evidence at all to present to you at all – except his own? How just and fair is that? Were you there to look into the victim's eyes - and see... and listen to the long list of family, friends and professionals that stood behind the victim and testified against a sloppy, pride filled and smug defense? Were you there to FEEL these events unfold?
"It may seem to work well Norm - this one-sided approach to pontificating your own personal world view of how your client could NEVER have done this – here in the safety of your blogosphere... but the reality of it is - GUILTY!... on ALL seven counts. Move on to your next trial and try it again. You know in your stone cold, heart of hearts – that this was only a payday for you… nothing more… nothing less. As articulate as you may appear to be in your writing style - here in your ‘blog womb’... you are an aberration and an abomination of what justice truly stands for - and it was self evident in the result of this trial.
"And Norm?... lose the ponytail. It is SO passé.
"Let's see how long this ANONYMOUS post stays up. I'd be willing to bet a good wager that ol' Norm takes down the ones that don't suit his particular agenda. I'll get a snapshot of this to show that it was up - and check back over the next few days... let's just SEE if Norm has the testicular fortitude to accept an opposing view - yes? Read carefully and thoroughly between the lines of what exists in this virtual space. Then know... there IS a God - and there IS real justice where there is TRUTH."