I just completed my first jury duty experience where I actually served on the panel. The trial was short and sweet, and the defendant was guilty-guilty-not guilty for DUI, DWI, and battery, for those who care.
But that’s not what brings me here. What was killing me during this trial was defense attorney’s absurd logic, redundant questioning, specious arguments, and misleading conclusions. As a soldier in the daily battle against ignorance, some of his statements had me writhing in intellectual agony. I really wanted to yell “FALSE ANALOGY!” (among other things) from the box, but alas, I could not.
So here, I must respond. Let’s begin.
1)“The 300lb victim slammed my client in the back of the head [And no, he didn’t “slam” him, at least from what the evidence told us]. 300lbs! Did you know that Mike Tyson was only 220lbs and George Foreman 230lbs at the height of their career? You can imagine how much more damage he could do at 300lbs.” [I’m estimating his numbers for the boxers.]
Um….yeaahhhh. Somehow I think both of those boxers could beat the holy lovin’ shit out of the 300lb victim (a security guard), and really, almost anyone regardless of size. You know, the whole “Heavyweight Champion of the World” title thing. This comment made me smile.
2) “And, look at me. I’m only about 200lbs [the defendant was a little dude of about 165lbs], so the security guard at 300lbs would be able to hit at least 1.5 times as hard.”
Yeaaaaaaaaahhh. And by that “logic,” someone weighing 1000lbs ought to be able to hit at least 5 times as hard. That is, when they can get the strength to get out of bed. Or lift their clenched fist. This comment had me chuckling to myself and trying to hide my grinning mug behind my hands—after 5 days of this kind of malarkey, I just couldn’t contain it any more.
Now, a little background. The defendant blew a 0.15 and 0.16 an hour and a half after he was arrested, once he arrived at the police station. Why no field sobriety test? He was too drunk to perform the tasks. The police had to help him stagger into the car. Since the test was conducted so much later, they brought in a criminologist who is an expert in forensic alcohol tests to explain (among other things) what the defendant’s likely BAC was at the time of arrest. It’s simple, really. Alcohol metabolizes at a rate of .02 per hour on average (from .009 to .035), and since he had nothing to drink AFTER he was arrested, the lowest his BAC could have been at time of arrest was .18….02 x 1.5 hours = .03. .15 + .03 = .18. No magic there.
**3) Dorky Defense Attorney Who Wears Striped Shirts With Weird Checkered Ties and Tweed Jacket: "Okay, Mr. Expert Witness on breathalyzer tests. [So I’m paraphrasing.] What FORMULA did you use to estimate the BAC of the accused at the time of the arrest?”
Witness: “What formula? There is no formula. It’s just simple arithmetic. Alcohol is process at an average rate of 0.02 per hour, so going back 1.5 hours, it could be as high as 0.18…”
DDAWWSSWWCTATJ: “So can you explain what FORMULA you used?”
W: "WHAT FORMULA? There is no formula for this…02 times 1.5 is .03…”
DDAWWSSWWCTATJ: “So you’re saying there is no formula? You’re just making the numbers up?”**
As a math teacher, I was about to have a stroke. The witness applied simple math reasoning and created a simple equation to solve to problem. THAT’S NOT A FORMULA. And guys, this line of questioning went on FOR OVER 10 MINUTES—the same thing asked 15 different ways. My head asplode.
Then the DDAWWSSWWCTATJ got into the Breathalyzer test. Oh, man. Of course, this is all paraphrased.
**4) DDAWWSSWWCTATJ: “How does a Breathalyzer work? Do you even know how the machine works?”
W: “The DataMaster passes infrared light through a chamber, and uses this light to seek out molecules with the specific wavelength signature of ethyl alcohol. If the molecules with that signature aren’t there, it doesn’t record them. It then estimates the number of alcohol molecules and compares it to the amount of expressed breath.”
DDAWWSSWWCTATJ: “But do you know how it works?”
This goes on for…geez…10-15min.
Later, in his closing arguments, DDAWWSSWWCTATJ refers to the DataMaster breathalyzer test machine as “The Voodoo Box.” Are you effin’ kidding me?? Look, I know the guy didn’t explain how to build the damn thing, but I certainly got the principle. SHEEZO.
Me: :smack: :smack: :smack:
This feels good, but this feels long. I’ll be back with more later. I should warn you: the dude quotes Wikipedia to try and counter the expert witness’s conclusions from peer-reviewed research and correlation studies.
Oh, and I also have a rant about the one juror who held out (briefly) because she believed the DDAWWSSWWCTATJ.