Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Defense Strategies

Based on the boilerplate methods that Mark Geragos tends to use (spectacularly unsuccessfully) in most of his criminal trials, allow me to postulate the upcoming defense strategy in California v. Brown.

First, Geragos may try to argue that Brown’s arrest was a conspiracy among the cops. Then, he may try to imply it was a conspiracy among the DAs. Or, would you believe, it was a conspiracy among the city leaders or county government that didn’t want to get sued for something that happened because of “negligence,” even though the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit expired long ago?

I can't wait for the Satanic Cult to make an appearance.

Geragos will present an interesting "version of the truth" and testify for Brown (in his questions to witnesses) that Lauren ran up the path, or was curious about the people, or ran ahead of her dad. Some of that may have happened. This is what they mean by a defense "version" of the truth. It's not the truth about the events of that day, but pieces of truth from Brown's experience with his daughter that the defense can use with some substantiation.

Will Geragos claim there was "manufactured evidence" as he implied throughout the Peterson trial?

I find it highly doubtful that the prosecution or cops would or could
"manufacture" evidence against Brown. All of the evidence is circumstantial, including the interpretations of the cliff side topography, the “science,” and the motives. What is not "circumstantial" is the law of physics involved in various types of falls.

The cops could not manufacture Brown's statements. He made them. They could not manufacture Lauren's injuries or her autopsy report without a "conspiracy" among invesgators, medical examiner/coroner, and later the DA. They could not manufacture facts like Brown's hiking boots or the physical geography of the treacherous place Brown took his daughter for a “hike.” Or her inappropriate footwear, the time of year, and her reported reluctance to go with her dad that day. Never mind the burning question: why would they want to? It's not as if they have no other cases to investigate, no other murders in Los Angeles County to bring to trial.

The defense will attempt to explain Cam's behavior as that of a victim who was duped by police, shocked by the "accident," and incapable of committing the crime. One of the common defense strategies we have already seen implemented is the attempt to gain our sympathy at how police "demonized" its client, the accusations of a "lynch mob" mentality, and characterizing the cops' treatment of Brown as underhanded, unprofessional, and with that tired expression, "tunnel vision."

When the evidence is not easily explained away, such as the injuries
and the biomechanics, and the laws of physics, the defense will likely argue that the science is "junk" and Dr. Ophoven (a possible defense expert witness) will attempt to explain away the injuries or use her stastics about demographics for which she is famous.

According to the laws of evidence:

Attorney arguments, motions, and comments, or statements by the judge and answers to questions which the judge has ruled objectionable are not evidence. Charts, maps and models which are used to demonstrate or explain matters are not evidence themselves, but testimony based upon such items and marks on such material may be evidence.

The jury will have to consider the many times Brown could have changed his mind instead of going forward with his plans: on the drive there, when he got to the playground, after Lauren was tired of swinging, during the hike, before he got to the end of the path, when he arrived at the top, and when he (presumably) picked her up for the last time. That he continued at each juncture demonstrates premeditation and malice aforethought.

Just as in Peterson, if Mark Geragos really had exonerating evidence that Brown was being framed or could not have committed the crime of which he is now standing trial, he would have presented it two years ago and not let his client sit in county jail for over 30 months.

We now know Geragos will likely argue the "science" and not the
circumstances of the alleged murder. He will be hard-pressed to
convince a jury that Lauren made a flying leap off the cliff, but he
has to adhere to the injuries being inconsistent with a rolling-type
fall that would have occurred had she lost her balance throwing rocks
off the cliff.

The defense is not required to prove its client innocent, or present an alternative scenario (i.e., the Incredible Flying Leap Theory); the jury is instructed not to hold the fact that the defendant does not testify against him. It stands to reason, however, that an innocent man would take the stand to explain his behavior, defend his hike, elicit compassion if not reasonable doubt from the jury, and dispel the notion that he is a "monster." If Brown does not take the stand in his own defense, it will, whether the jurors openly admit it or not, serve to authenticate the People's character assassination.

Geragos has no face cards in this hand. He must bluff his way through
this trial and hope for the best.

1 comment:

Grandmaboo said...

Thank you so much for the interesting outline of the trial so far. This trial may just be more interesting, if possible, than the Scott Peterson trial as we now are familiar with the esteemed (?) defense attorney and his tactics. Before Peterson he was just a name to me and now he has become a seamy character in a B movie. I can hardly wait for more updates! Thank you again...