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I think we can show the jury a little more respect than that, Terry.
 
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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In principle I agree john but did you read or hear the jurors comments to the media?
 
Posts: 261 | Location: Fort Worth, Texas | Registered: February 21, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The coverage of the Durst verdict in this morning's Dallas Morning News (see full article at

http://www.dallasnews.com/latestnews/stories/111203dntexdurst.18a8f.html )

makes mention that former Harris County D.A. John Holmes composed an e-mail regarding his thoughts on the verdict.

Anyone know where to find said e-mail?

As for the issue of the moment, I still respect the jury system, right up-to-the-point that they disagree with me.

Big Grin

The real question now for those of us firmly rooted in the profession and practice of criminal prosecution should not be "What went wrong?", but rather what was it about these jurors, these twelve good souls - at least they showed up, unlike the 60% (or more) of summoned jurors that don't report here in Dallas County - that we could have identified in voir dire that would have clued us in to the fact that they were either a) going to view the State's circumstantial case as suspect or b) the way that they mentally processed the evidence was going to lead them to believe the defense's argument.

I don't pretend to know the answer. I just believe that that needs to be the question.
 
Posts: 40 | Location: Nacogdoches, Texas | Registered: August 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Without commenting on the verdict of the Galveston jury, I do think we do need to pay more attention to the attitudes of jurors. Jurors are now inundated with media opinions on criminal justice. Most TV crime shows take the more dramatic point of view that innocent people are being convicted. That makes it less likely that a jury will draw reasonable inferences from obvious evidence of guilt.
 
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Basically, I remain confused. Did the defendant argue he did not voluntarily engage in the conduct that caused death, or did he argue he intended to use such force as was necessary (according to his reasonable belief) to protect himself against Black's alleged use of unlawful deadly force? If the latter, which is what appears to be accurate, then the real problem may lie in sec. 2.03(d), P.C. which allows the defendant to ask for an acquittal so long as his testimony could be viewed merely as raising a reasonable doubt. It is pretty hard (likely impossible) to prove what the victim was doing immediately before the shooting under circumstances such as involved in Durst. Maybe a different burden of persuasion should be placed on the defense to prove Black's conduct where there are no witnesses remaining other than the defendant. Not that I think any different instruction on this issue would have affected the outcome with the particular set of jurors involved in Durst. One thing, for sure, it makes no difference how scared you might be about the police or prosecutor believing your explanation, what counts is how well a jury will believe it (even if your subsequent conduct says they probably shouldn't).
 
Posts: 2372 | Registered: February 07, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Notice the defense thinks their client should serve no time for bail jumping, but how about a year in jail for abuse of corpse and then some time for tampering with evidence?
 
Posts: 2372 | Registered: February 07, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Wait, I thought earlier in this thread, someone--I can't recall who--called Durst's defence "crazy." If it was crazy, and the jury bought it anyway, what does that make the jury?

The fact is there are good juries, and there are bad juries, and I only respect the good ones.
 
Posts: 686 | Location: Beeville, Texas, U.S.A. | Registered: March 22, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Just goes to show you that these days the only sure thing is that there is no sure thing. I have noticed in the last few years with my juries that there always seem to be one or two jurors who are willing to buy any silly theory thrown out by the defense. So far the reasonable jurors have overcome the nuts in my cases but you know that some day it's going to happen. I don't profess to be smart enough to understand why attitudes are changing but I think it has something to do with the overwhelming amount of media jurors see about "innocent" people being convicted, prosecutor misconduct and so on. We don't start out wearing the white hats anymore with a lot of folks. Martin, I don't know how it would be perceived when prosecutors try to change the law over what we believe is a bad result. The law of self-defense has been there all along. It's just a fact of life that the system is going to go haywire every now and then but works most of the time (which is pretty much what I think Mr. Holmes said in his email, according to the news reports I read). This is in no way a criticism of the DA who tried Durst, but I don't see this outcome as completely ignoring reality and the facts. After all, the prosecution labored under the handicap in this case of having only one eyewitness left as to the fact of what happened. Now, O.J. Simpson ... that's a different matter. Durst is just one we don't agree with; Simpson was a complete jury nullification. That's my take.
 
Posts: 283 | Location: Montague, Texas, USA | Registered: January 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The newly acquitted Durst may be the new OJ for the media. Saturday Night Live spoofed him on their show already.
 
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We recently finished work on a case in which the defendant claimed his wife shot herself in the back. Problem with that defense was that wife was about 350 pounds and the wound was caused by a shotgun.

Turns out the defendant shot his wife in the back and forced her to put her fingerprint on the trigger before calling 911. Given the physical difficulties of this defense, he eventually pled guilty.

Good thing, because he also had threatened to shoot the family cat. The jury really would have been mad about that.
 
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I read an interesting article in the new Texas Lawyer about the Durst case. According to it, the defense attorneys used shadow juries to determine what the best approach was and what type of jurors to choose. Apparently they wanted mainly women. According to several of the jurors, they didn't find Durst a credible witness, but felt that the State didn't provide enough evidence to prove that Durst deliberately killed the victim under the BRD standard. Reputedly, the lack of the victim's head was a real drawback for the state. Also the victim's reputation for crazy, aggressive behavior as presented by the defense. I'm not sure this case falls in the same class as the OJ case as far as the jury's basis for their verdict.

Janette Ansolabehere
 
Posts: 674 | Location: Austin, Texas, United States | Registered: March 28, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've got a local defendant who was caught with his dead wife in the trunk of her car. He now claims he killed her in self-defense and then panicked. I think he got the idea from watching the coverage of the Durst case while in the holdover cell. Who says criminal don't keep up with current events?
 
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Defendant put out an ad for someone that wanted to be killed. At the murder trial, the defense is: victim consented to being killed and eaten. So, its only an assisted suicide?

For details on this gruesome, crazy defense, read the article.
 
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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John, did the defendant ever live in Galveston? Cool
 
Posts: 1029 | Location: Fort Worth, TX | Registered: June 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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No, but he is on speed dial with Hannibal Lector.
 
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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According to a radio story I heard this morning they dined together on the victim's(?) penis before the accused killed and ate (most of) the rest of him.
 
Posts: 723 | Location: Fort Worth, TX, USA | Registered: July 30, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Travis County is in the middle of a trial that has raised the discipline defense. Victim was beaten with a stick for allegedly lying; defendants allege the parents gave them permission to discipline. The defense is trying to make this a religious defense.
 
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I prosecuted a pro se meth cook who was smart enough to take the stand in his own defense. He testified that everything he bought was legal and it could not, therefore, be illegal to combine them. I asked him what he was trying to make and he replied he was trying to make a powder that would make him feel good. I asked him what he called this magical feel good powder and he said he hadn't named it. When I asked him if we could name it methamphetamine he replied that he didn't think he'd do that.
 
Posts: 2 | Location: Tyler, Texas | Registered: June 16, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A fisherman found another cut up body -- this time with the head -- in a suitcase in Galveston. Is Galveston becoming a mecca for body dumping? Read the article in the Houston Chronicle.
 
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here is a new defense: Yeah, I did pour urine on my fellow employee's office equipment, but isn't losing my job punishment enough? Are you surprised the defendant is a lawyer? Read the story.
 
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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