All original artwork in this post is by Lauren Spitzberg and can be found here. Please pay that site a visit! You’ll love it.
Well, y’all were certainly chatty over the past for days. It’s time for a bright and shiny new post for a trial day. Please, if you have general chatter or questions ask them in the chatter post comments by clicking here. I know some of you have just joined us, so I want to let you know that a lot of people are reading the daily post for play-by-play from the courtroom and general updates so please try to include context in your discussion. Now, let’s address what happened in court today!
There were two minor issues that were brought before the court today. Both came from the defense. First, let me explain the rules of criminal procedure as part of the order of proceedings in the conduct of a trial in Arizona. This has been going on for so long I am sure we have all lost sight of the outline. We had opening statements, first from prosecution, then from the defense. The we moved on to the case-in-chief where the prosecution laid out their case, and the defense laid out theirs and then the prosecutor has a chance for rebuttal. This is where we are now. After Juan is finished with his rebuttal, we should go to closing arguments. Because the prosecution has the burden of proof, they essentially get two shots by being allowed go both first and last. However, if the prosecution is allowed to bring out new evidence in their rebuttal, then the defense can ask for a surrebuttal, that is they can take another whack at things with regard to the new evidence only. It’s a rebuttal of the rebuttal. They can bring in a surrebuttal witness to address the new evidence. But first they have to ask the judge.
Now to hear some of the legal folks talk you would think a surrebuttal is about as rare as hen’s teeth, but as a trial observer, I’m telling you it happens all the time. The difference between what I am going to tell you and what the experts are going to tell you probably lies in the fact that the experts see a lot more cases than I do. I watch the ones on the TeeVee where there are cameras in the room making sure the defendant gets every right and privilege he or she is entitled too. And they are usually very serious cases that I am watching. So if you ask me, I say the judge is going to let the defense have this one.
Here is the meat of Willmott’s request, (by the way, the offensive nicknames are getting so bad, that I can’t even follow what some of you are trying to say, stop that.) she is claiming that the prosecutor was allowed to introduce new evidence in his rebuttal and that she has the right to rebut it. The “new evidence” is Jodi’s diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. They would like to call another California whackadoodle (Sorry California, but y’all know how you are), Robert Geffner, PhD to say she has Battered Women’s Syndrome, not BPD. Yes, I know, we’ve already heard that one. Juan is going to argue that (and I haven’t seen the argument so I am winging it on his behalf, grade me later) that this is not in fact new evidence and that it is merely a reinterpretation of the material facts offered by the defense. He might throw around some case law like State v. Steele and/or State v. Talmadge and point out that if the defense is trying to impeach new testimony that “impeachment attacks the credibility of a witness qua witness. It does not include offering substantive evidence that contradicts the testimony of another witness, whether that be characterized as “cumulative” or “corroborative.” (State v. Talmadge). Or at least that is what I would do. Then I would call Dr. Geffner a quack who is a hired gun for murder trials for women that kill men. (a quick google search will give you much reading material there) Or save that for the witness. Either way.
The other thing that happened on Monday was that the attorneys began hashing out the sentencing verbiage. This is great news. The more they did today the less we have to wait on them to do later. Twitter has been bored all day so they are trying to make this out to be a big deal. It’s not. The great state of Arizona has five flavors of manslaughter and three don’t apply (assisting suicide, death of a baby, someone forced you to do it). The defense wants the other two in particularly flavor two. 1. Recklessly causing the death of another person; or 2. Committing second degree murder as defined in section 13-1104, subsection A upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion resulting from adequate provocation by the victim. They will probably get that, and they should. Their whole case is based on “provocation by the victim” AKA domestic violence. This sort of wording debate will be ongoing until the second the jury is charged. It’s what they do. It has been my understanding that manslaughter has been expected to be a lesser charge option the entire trial.
Okay, this is much longer than I intended. The big exciting thing for tomorrow is who else, if anyone will Juan call? Many have speculated but no one knows for sure. Matt Macarthy would please me. Or perhaps one or both of the couple who were Travis’s friends who sent an email that the defense allegedly used out of context. We shall see.
GENTLE REMINDERS: Please don’t include a link in your post unless you think you just have to be the only person on the planet who knows it’s there. Also, let’s go back to the no made-up names for the participants. Juanderful, Obi-Juan are fine, but we have gone so far astray with the nicknames that I can’t even figure out who y’all mean half the time. Same with abbreviations. Don’t make the person that is trying to get caught up quickly at work have to think through who we are talking about. Chatter goes here. This thread is for topics related to Tuesday, 4/23/2013 court events. Thanks!