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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Don't ROCK That Boat!

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Jurors in the Scott Peterson murder trial, well at least a single juror, engaged in a little experiment on Monday. Or so defense attorney Geragos would like us to believe. This is good news for the defense. Jurors are not allowed to experiment and then start thinking about stuff that has not been properly presented to them as admissible and relevant evidence. To allow a jury to make a "boat rocking" experiment would clearly be error. Geragos has an appeal issue there. Good for him.

More interesting to me, though, is his half-hearted request for a mistrial. He didn't really want a mistrial. What he wanted was for the judge to allow him to show a video tape, made by the prosecution, depicting the impossibility of Scott being able to toss Lacy over board with out tipping the boat. Does anyone else see the problem with allowing this in?

Rather like giving OJ the glove and saying "Please make a non-selfserving attempt to put your hand effortlessly into that glove and show the jury that YOU'RE THE KILLER!"

Silly Prosecutor, Tricks are for defense attorneys!

There is no doubt in my mind that this proffered video tape would make it very clear to the jury that any attempt to throw a pregnant woman's dead body, carefully weighted with anchors, over the side of this particular boat would be sure to result in certain death to Scott. He could not possibly have done it! We have no doubt!! Now lets all go home.

But gosh. I must be cynical and a little biased in favor of the prosecution when I suggest that I could make a tape which shows Scott doing this act with EASE. Shows him hurling her body with one hand and drinking a Manhattan with the other, cell phone tucked against his ear so he can decide which show time he'll be able to catch a movie at later.

So, I'm not sure how much of an "experiment" this juror could have made, standing in a boat out of water, without a body to shove around. I say "Excellent try!" to Geragos, though, in his attempt to get his movie in. Really good try there. It will be an issue on appeal, should Peterson be convicted. He is facing the death penalty, kids. Even we members of Dark Forces on the side of the State (and the people, don't forget the people) prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to sentencing people to death.

As long as we're on the subject of Dark Forces I'd like to thank everyone who went out to vote and helped Girl Ipsa defeat Prop 66 here in California. I'm still working hard, every day, to somehow avoid the first felony... Wish me luck!


Blogger Christopher Chopin said...

Tape was made by the defense from what I've seen. And yup, there's a clearly appealable issue as to the juror experimentation, especially since they weren't in the water at the time they were standing in the boat and rocking it.

But since Arlen Specter gave us the magic bullet theory, its been ok to scientifically prove the possible impossible. I don't see the difference between using an expert witness to do it and simply making the t.v. movie of the week on the same claim...unless its that the prosecution wouldn't have the cash to make a contrary exhibit...which isn't much of an argument for killing people, I never bought the lowest common denominator approach.

Thing is, every single word said at trial by the defense is from the standpoint of selfserving attempts to prove innocence. But the matter of weight vs. admissibility is the key. Yes, if its self serving, that should affect the credibility of the result, and jurors should weigh that in. But that doesn't make it inadmissible unless its facially flawed scientifically or else so prejudicial as to skew the trial. And I'm not seeing those allegations...

3:09 PM  

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