Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • Amber Guyger:
    • Oh, my.
    • She never had a chance with that jury. The verdict was simply too quick for any meaningful discussion.  Heck, I've had many misdemeanor DWI trials where the jury deliberated longer. I said yesterday that I would want someone to stand up in the jury room and say, "It's a simple 'If-Then' construct!"  Their brief deliberations show they didn't even get close to that. 
    • Do you know how hard it is to get 12 people to agree on anything? Have you talked to any of your friends about this case? I can't get three people in a group to agree on any part of it. I had one of my lawyer friends ask me yesterday, "They aren't really going to convict her are they?" and another say, "They need to hang her." 
    • I think she would have been found not guilty in Collin County, Wise County, or Tarrant County. At the very least there would have been a hung jury.
    • Question: "Did you intend to kill him?" Answer: "Yes"
      • I have heard so many people say this was the "turning point in the trial" when Amber admitted this on cross-examination. That blows my mind. We knew that from day one. 
      • I was listening to that very testimony at my desk live. When that question was asked of her, I literally said out loud, "Say 'yes'!" Say 'yes'!" It's the truth we all know. It's fits perfectly in the self-defense argument.
      • But that testimony turned out to be so impactful, and I didn't see the blow-back coming. Neither did her lawyers. That bothers me. It apparently came across as, "Did you intend to shoot Botham Jean - the innocent man?" She should have been prepared to answer and with passion: "No. You've got it wrong. I didn't intend to kill Mr. Jean. I intended to kill a person who I thought was an intruder in my apartment who meant to harm me." 
    • I predicted she would be found "not guilty" but I did grow a little concerned as the trial unfolded. I was stunned by how many rationale people online during the trial thought she was guilty simply because "She went into the wrong apartment and killed an innocent man." There was no nuance to their thinking. 
    • Here's why I thought she would be found not guilty, and I still believe it. Did she act reasonably in using self-defense when she walked into the apartment? I don't know. And because I don't know, I would have to vote not guilty. It was the State's burden, and the Charge correctly stated this, to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that her conduct was not reasonable.  There is no question to me that I have a reasonable doubt about the appropriateness of Amber's conduct once she opened that door. I'm not going to convict her of a crime if that's the case. In this mess of a case, this is pretty simple.  
    • You know what's going to put me over the edge: When some (or all) of the jurors agree to give interviews and say the dumbest things which fly in face of the questions and law they were given in the Charge. And it will happen. 
    • Will she win on appeal? Reversals, in general, are rare, and I have serious concerns about this case. The jury was free to say her conduct was not reasonable and there's nothing any appellate court can do to set it aside. Did I think the jury instructions were wrong yesterday? Yes, but they were wrong in favor of the defense. She can't complain that a manslaughter charge was included. She can't complain about that crazy Mistake of Fact instruction I went on and on about yesterday was given because the instruction helped her. The only thing she can hang her hat on is the excluded Ranger's testimony, and I don't feel particularly good about that. 
    • I'm scared for her on punishment. 
    • Yesterday the jury heard of racist texts and social media posts. I think that's cheap of the prosecutor to bring that up, and if I were judge I wouldn't allow it. That should have no impact on punishment whatsoever. What's supposed to happen? She's supposed to get x number of years added to her sentence because of an MLK Jr. joke?  And I say that even as it applies to me. You remember the comment section? You remember some of the crazy attacks I endured? Well, I don't think anyone needs to spend a minute in prison for something they said because it was offensive.
    • I feel incredibly bad for Amber. That verdict bothered me yesterday. If I'm her lawyer, I never get over that. I take it to my grave.   But I feel bad for her because the system didn't work. The verdict was too quick. She didn't have 12 people who agonized over the decision. She didn't have 12 people who studied the Charge and argued and debated as they held the life of another in their hands.  I think I've thought more about this case than jury did. And if you've read this far, I bet you have thought more about it, too. 
  • Three Burleson high school students were injured in a shooting in Fort Worth last night. 
  • I went on a historical journey in Paradise on Sunday, and I now intend to find the location of the water well shown in the photo on the website of the Paradise Historical Commission from 1926. It may not have been in the current downtown area. Side note: In the "suburbs" of Paradise, there's a lot of nice homes in actual subdivisions that have been built and are being built. I had no idea. 
  • Trump keeps on giving:
  • And you really think the Amber Guyger jury read the charge? People don't read at all. Link.
  • This morning Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitted he was on the Ukraine phone call. He misled us on that just last week. There is a reason why honorable people like former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson left. There's a reason why people like Pompeo are there now. 
  • The Aggies are banning vaping on every campus.  Seems to be quite the overreaction. 
  • There's no way there's not an uprising over this, right? Then, again, Gainesville is in the Florida panhandle. 
  • Messenger: Above the Fold