11.13.2007

Not Exactly Court TV

It'll be a little slow today. They are making me work. As I type this, I'm sitting at a table with two prosecutors about to begin a DWI trial. It's also awkward as I have 32 potential jurors staring at us. But it'll be a short trial. One officer. No video. Makes it tough from the defendant's standpoint. Edit: Jury selected. Four women. Two men. Went about as well as could be expected. Edit: Officer's direct examination is over. Now lunch. It's hard to get a feel for this thing without the video. But when an officer says "he was intoxicated", it can cause some problems. Edit: And as eat my crummy microwave sandwich, I just heard on the news of a "rock spill" at 287 and 114, That sounds not-a-good . . . . Back to courthouse. Edit: Jury went out to deliberate at 3:35 p.m. Quick case. It went well but it's always a tossup. I hate this time. The waiting. My client is a good guy which makes it even more stressful. Edit: 4:37 p.m. No word yet. Not even a note. I really thought that if I was going to win this thing that it would be a quick verdict. I'm getting a little worried now. But you could try a DWI case to two different juries and get two different results. I argued to the jury that the lack of a videotape (which was admittedly the fault of the State) was enough to acquit my guy. The jury was forced to pass judgment on someone else, I told them, and wasn't provided the necessary tools to do their job. "You have a right to want the tape. But you also have the right to be a little angry for being put in this position." I meant it. Edit: 5:23 p.m. There is now a jury note, "We are not unanimous. What is the next step?" Judge releases jury for the night. Will resume at 9:00 p.m. -------------------------Wednesday-------------------------------- Edit: 8:50 a.m. Headed back to the courthouse. This will be a bit tense. Oftentimes a jury will announce it is hung, be sent home for the night, and then come back and have a verdict within 30 minutes. It's a strange phenomenon. If it ends up in a hung jury, it's kind of a hollow victory. Yeah, there's no conviction but the State can retry the case. Edit: 9:15 a.m. We've learned that they are deadlocked 4-2 (but we don't know which way they are leaning.) The judge read them a "dynamite charge" which only benefits the majority. Edit: 9:58 a.m. Another note: "Does the FST [field sobriety tests] prove intoxication?" The judge can only give them a generic response to that one which is neither yes or no. Frankly, that's an odd questions since a great majority of the defense was arguing that the standardized field sobriety tests are silly and don't prove a thing. Not sure what to think about that. Edit: 10:15 a.m. Wow. The jury has reached a verdict. Waiting. Edit: 10:25 a.m. Guilty. Disappointing. I wasn't very optimistic going in but felt pretty good during deliberations. Once again, disappointing. Edit: Noon. Can't end this post without saying congratulations to the County Attorney's Office and Decatur officer Delvon Campbell. Both did a good job. And Judge Melton Cude, as always, gave me a fair trial. That's all I can ask for.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

slow?.... NOooooo! i depend on this for my excitement 4 the day....

Anonymous said...

I'm not in the legal profession, but I think it would be easier for the defense with only one officer and no video. It seems that the more evidence the prosecution would have the tighter it would make their case. Isn't the burden of proof on them? And besides I'm sure a good defense attorney could get their client found not guilty.

I would sure hate to think you're billing your clients during your blogging time!

Anonymous said...

The officer was intoxicated?

Anonymous said...

I'm so thankful that you keep our drunks driving. I own a liquor store in the area and most of my customers live too far away to walk. May all your dreams be sweet ones.

Anonymous said...

Then stop selling the liquor to them dumb a**. It is just as much your fault as it is Barry's but some how you find the guts to blame another person. You are an idiot.

Anonymous said...

YEAH! for Barry. Keep those drunks out there killing those that come into their paths! Great job... oh yeah, I almost forgot how "respected" you are in the community. Haaa. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Well...WTF! Did you "get him off" ;) or not?

Anonymous said...

Of course we want all drunk drivers to pay and never get back on the road drunk again! Just last week we were all reminded of that!

BUT.....I've become a little jaded in my later years towards law enforcement! Some are incredible brave, respected and honorable people! and some....well are NOT! Everyone needs due course in the justice system!

Anonymous said...

It seems that DWI convictions came long before video tapes and the absence of video evidence is a FLIMSY defense. Officers don't make DWI arrests based on whether or not they have the suspect on tape. WHAT A FARCE!

Anonymous said...

Did your client "blow?" If so, then doesn't that provide evidence of alcohol blood level? Don't need a video tape for that. If the FST's don't prove anything, they why do they do them? AND...if they don't prove anything, then what good is a video showing them?

Anonymous said...

It's nice to see that even you have to actually work once in a while!

Anonymous said...

Good guys win!!

Anonymous said...

Hooray for thinking people on the jury!!!

I suspect you knew the guy was guilty so don't feel bad about not getting him off. One more notch on the handles of justice is the reward for us all.

The FST silly? It may not PROVE anything but it is damned good evidence, among other things. Failing the FST can give an experienced officer due cause to keep a person from driving away and reason to lock him in the drunk tank, at least overnight. Testimony based on his trained and experienced observations of behavior, odors, driving and condition of the suspect can fill the bill enough for any jury. Who in hell came up with the fruitloop idea that a video MUST be required?

Anonymous said...

Your client mustnot have know to pop some chewing gum or breath mints before the FST.

Anonymous said...

I'm always dissapointed too when someone is guilty of a crime. Why don't we just abolish all laws? Oh wait, then why would we need lawyers? I answered my own question.

Anonymous said...

I am not a defense lawyer. I dont' know Barry Green - wouldn't know him if I met him on the street. However one thing I do respect is the fact that he lets these idiotic and slanderous rants against his character post instead of zapping them as they should be zapped. Half my family are in law enforcement and if you could hear the stories they tell at family get togethers it would make your hair curl. These are all well respected men, church going men and in their minds what they do is a justice because even if this guy didn't do it, he probably did something else. And they sometimes make mistakes not that their egos would let them admit it.

Also, ask your family law enforcement officer if they're subject to the same laws as you and I are. Ask them if they've ever badged their way out of anything including a ticket or dwi. If they say they haven't there's a good chance they're lying. I know people who can make a 5 hour drive in 2 and have never gotten a ticket. Pulled over numerous times but no tickets.

Anonymous said...

He was not guilty of anything. No one got hurt or killed. He didn't crash someone elses' car. No property was damaged.

The "problem" of drunk driving is way overblown and we are spending too much time and money trying to change adult behaviors. This man had a few drinks and drove home. Big deal. This is something that is done each year millions and millions of times, resulting in only 17K or so of alcohol-related fatalities - most of these are the drivers themselves. Do the math and it appears that it appears that we do a pretty good job operating our automobiles after happy hour.

Anonymous said...

I have an extra "it appears" in my post above. Please disregard.

11:54

Anonymous said...

Please correct me if I am wrong Barry but the law states that being "drunk" includes but not limited to the loss of use of mental or physical faculties(spelling). Can you have more than a .08 blood alcohol content but retain use of such abilities and not be driving while intoxicated.

Hope I didn't lose anyone in the wording of the question since it wasn't too sound.

Also I am willing to bet that everyone posting on this topic who is taking shots at you have, in some point in their life put themselves in the position of driving under the influence or the end result would have been your services. Save me the more holy than thou crap b/c I am not buying it.

Anonymous said...

I am just as holy as thou.

Anonymous said...

Now comes the good part ... SENTENCING. Here is where the judge gets to look into his priors and, since this guy preferred a trial, I would bet this isn't his first offense. If he is a repeat offender, I hope he gets the max.

Anonymous said...

Ok so I hate drunk drivers but not every person that has a drink is drunk. Not every person that gets a dwi is drunk thats why we need the Berry's of the world. I believe the ones that were not drunk should "get off" and the ones that are drunk should get more than a slap on the wrist. They should get just enough punishment that they wont do it again.
Oh 11:54 Drunk driving is a problem! Maybe your just on the wrong side of the problem and could be the next cause of heart ach to one of our families or friends. I have seen it first hand as have many of the people in our comunity lately and its never good.

rpm said...

11:44, I hope your LEO relatives are fine upstanding citizens and a credit to the force. Sadly, not all LEO's are. Just as in the citizen population, there is a segment of LEO's that are a discredit to their profession and the community.

A badge does not a saint make.

If you doubt this fact look at the history of the Wise County Sheriff's Department about 20 years ago.

Barry, keep up the good work. Everyone is entitled to the best defense possible in a court of law. Too bad some of your readers are too myopic to see the whole picture.

Anonymous said...

anon. 9:44pm

AMEN!

Drunk driving terrifies me! I wouldn't dare even take ONE drink and drive!

BUT unfortunately you are so correct all LEO's are not what we would them to be.....some are down right CROOKED!

But then there are many.....probably MOST are that incredible, heroic, selfless individuals.

We need the courtroom and lawyers! Holier than thous about it may someday find themselves in a situation they never thought possible....and all when they are totally INNOCENT!

The Devil said...

I think most of the people posting comments on this topic are probably sitting on a toilet in some bathroom at an airport, tapping their toes with a wide stance about right now.