I just finished reading an article in The Oakland Press on the Anthony verdict and assistant prosecutor Paul Walton’s opinion that the CSI affect influenced jurors. I try a lot of cases. Every prosecutor gets up and asks “Does everyone realize that this is not CSI?” The prosecutor will then attempt an akward conversation in which he/she attempts to persuade the potential jurors that it is ok to find someone guilty based upon assumption, speculation and conjecture. Most juror’s want evidence. This means they expect the police to do a thorough and complete investigation, which includes gathering all the evidence there is to be gathered and testing the evidence that can be tested. I ask jurors “Some people want the police to do a minimal investigation, just enough to get a warrant, you know budgets are tight and we are in a recession. Others expect the police to do a thorough investigation, which includes interviewing all the witnesses, taking photos, fingerprint analysis, bullistics tests, etc, because that is what they would want if they were accused of a crime and were innocent. Who here is closer to the, we will call them “the minimalists.” Typically nobody will raise there hands. I then ask “who here is closer to the second group, let’s call them the CSI folks?” Everyone is in this group. Jurors want evidence. People’s lives are on the line! When prosecutors do their dog and pony show about this not being CSI what they are really saying is that “we don’t have a lot of the evidence that we could have and in hindsight should have if we are asking a jury to convict a fellow human being.
The prosecution in the Anthony trial tried to capitalize on the CSI affect with all their new science that apparently only impressed the media and themselves. The prosecutor laughing at the defense’s closing argument probably didn’t help their side, nobody really likes a pompous ass.
I finished a felonious assault trial yesterday, the jury was out two minutes before delivering a not guilty verdict. This happened mainly because the government charged an innocent man. They offered him a misdemeanor plea before trial which he politely declined. But the prosecutors know that most people can’t afford a competent lawyer for a jury trial, so even the innocent end up pleading to something.
I have a trial coming up with the Oakland county prosecutor on July 18, 2011. My client is charged with aggravated stalking. The accuser claimed that my client came to her house and rang her door bell and ran. The accuser claims to have seen my clients car from 50 feet away on a pitch dark night, she did not even get a license plate number. The accuser knows my client because she was/is a prostitute. The prosecutor filed a motion to prevent this information from getting before the jury, the judge denied it.
My point is that the Oakland county prosecutor’s office pursues a lot of frivolous prosecutions for which they are rarely held accountable. They allow and endorse shoddy police work and then beg juries to forgive them and their police departments lack of diligence. What they are really afraid of is juries getting smarter, more sophisticated, and their past refrain of “we represent the People of the State of Michigan, trust us” is falling on deaf juror ears.
If you have a question about a criminal charge contact Daniel Ambrose at (248) 624-5500