Oswald Defense Lawyer

"His mouth is in his brain"

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Prosecutorial Inconsistency: Doublethink in the Courtroom

"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, . . . to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word "doublethink" involved the use of doublethink."
George Orwell, "1984."

My client is awaiting trial on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. He apparently gave the police a tearful confession describing how he stabbed the victim one time with a pocket knife during a street brawl and then disposed of the knife. One small problem . . . I just learned that another young man recently pled guilty to a charge of assault with a deadly weapon arising out of the same incident. The factual basis for that plea was the victim's statement to the police describing how that defendant inflicted the victim's only wound with a pen.

May the prosecutor vouch for the veracity of my guy's "confession" when it is factually inconsistent with the basis of the other guy's charge and plea? I believe In re Sakarias (2005) 35 Cal.4th 140 says no.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Trombetta/Youngblood Conundrum

Yesterday I lost a Trombetta/Youngblood* motion. A Trombetta/Youngblood motion invites the court to dismiss a case when evidence has been destroyed by the prosecution.

To win a Trombetta/Youngblood motion, the moving party must show that the destroyed evidence was "potentially exculpatory," and that no comparable evidence exists.

So how on earth can you show that the destroyed evidence was "potentially exculpatory" without having comparable evidence?

*California v. Trombetta (1984) 467 U.S. 479; Arizona v. Youngblood (1988) 488 U.S. 51.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Why Did I Go?

"To make a point." At least that's what I told a reporter. An hour or two after the moon went in, as Clarence Allen's spirit flew far away from San Quentin, my wife asked me how I felt. I told her I just felt deeply ashamed. Ashamed of my part in the killing of Mr. Allen. That is why I went.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

And Another One Down

Clarence Ray Allen
Born January 16, 1930
Will Die January 17, 2006

"[T]he punishment or treatment of criminal offenders is directed toward one or more of three ends:
(1) to discourage and act as a deterrent upon future criminal activity,
(2) to confine the offender so that he may not harm society and
(3) to correct and rehabilitate the offender.
There is no place in the scheme for punishment for its own sake, the product simply of vengeance or retribution."

In re Estrada (1967) 63 Cal.2d 740, 745 (emphasis added).