Posts Tagged ‘Trial Advocacy’

Jill Trumbull Harris, the Pied Piper of Witnesses

April 7, 2009

You really should check the original version of both the Pied Piper Story and Trial Advocacy to see how close I stick to the title. I will get to the Pied Piper in a moment, but a pretty close description of trial advocacy is presented as it was written by Jill Trumbull Harris in a previous post.

Now her story told about Stephano was 100% consistent. The old man lived in a pig sty that only a mentally ill person could endure. He lived alone and spent every waking moment typing in URL’s of kiddie porn sites where he intentionally downloaded 40,000 porn pictures of which, 600 were readily identified as kiddie porn. This deranged 64 year old man took time to learn everything about computer security in the two months he owned the machine, his machine was fully protected and he never got hit by pornloaders or was unintentionally redirected to a site which had kiddie porn. He was just a disgusting dirty old man who liked looking at kiddie porn and if he would stop, no one would ever molest a child again as there would be no profit motive if people stopped paying for porn.

Now the problem with the story is that it never fit the facts. Obviously this deranged old man had no credit cards or memberships at pay per view sites and never used a chat room. But some evidence was on Jill’s side and that was the pictures. Every time the defense would discredit her case, she would show a few hundred really nasty pictures and the video of the horrific dump Stephano lived in. Over and over the jury was told that possession of only one picture was a criminal offense but he possessed 600. Now if the story were tried strictly on the thesis, it would be tough to beat. Unfortunately, there was a complete body of evidence that contradicted her story.

According to Jill, it is permissible to minimize evidence and contradict witnesses when they contradict your story as long as it’s done in an ethical manner. However, the question which will be explored is about suborning perjury under the guise of Homeland Security and the Protected Critical Information Infrastructure Act.

Now as the Pied Piper, Jill Trumbull Harris came to St. Croix to protect the community from perverts if only the witnesses would help her develop her story and remember things her way. It’s hard to know what siren song she sang that mesmerized her witnesses it to mindlessly following her story line and failing to tell the simple truth when asked a direct question.

It appears that Stephano’s attorney has finally presented an appeal that leaves the judge with a Faustian dilemma. The appeal is based on blatant and provable perjury. If he grants the appeal, perjury charges should follow and be directed at federally employed agents and expert witnesses.

Now Jill got a promotion and is probably above the law so it will be interesting to see who is blamed for the perjured testimony. However like the Pied Piper she will flee our community forever and leave us with memories of  her dastardly deed.

American Justice

March 28, 2009

In my youth, I would rather run wild in the woods than watch Television but on rainy days or when it was too dark and cold in winter to be outside, there were books and Television. One family favorite was Perry Mason that intrepid seeker of truth who was part detective and part Defense lawyer who got his clients off by seeking the truth and inevitably finding the guilty party.

Well, this vision is pretty much bullshit in our modern world. Law is no longer about a noble lawyer in a battle to learn the truth. It is a combative blood sport played by pugnacious lawyers out to win at all cost. The outcome of the trial is not a matter or guilt or innocence but simply a battle to tell the most believable story and score a win for the story teller. The fact that justice may or may not be served is somewhat irrelevant.

The art of story telling is so important that it is now taught in law schools all over the nation and there is  a national ranking of law schools that teach Trial Advocacy or how to develop a detailed story which will allow you to win your case.

Now the following brief description of the new system of American Justice is very jaded:

Each party to a trial has the opportunity to tell a story…The person who succeeds in telling the most persuasive story should win….Devising the story you tell at trial is a creative process since the facts in the case file will almost always be subject to multiple interpretations. To imagine the most persuasive trial story, imagine a series of alternative scenarios and assess each for its clarity, simplicity, and believability..

This is a pretty disgusting view of American Justice but it’s exactly that taught by Prosecutor, Jill Trumbull-Harris, as she wrote the book with a coauthor and that’s a quote from page 19 of the book. It’s easy to see how this attitude would corrupt the justice system especially when used by the government prosecutor in a trial. An overbearing government can coach witnesses, include or disallow evidence and tell any story they want with impunity. (I mean who polices the police or prosecutes the Prosecutor?) The job of the government is no longer to solve the crime and seek justice but to tell the best story and win the case.