Miscarriage of Justice? Lisl Auman

I first heard about this case from Hunter S Thompson’s online weekly column at ESPN ( http://espn.go.com/page2/s/thompson/010122.html ). There are two or three other articles that hunter wrote on this, but I THINK this was the first. The quote below is from Diane Carman Denver Post article on 3/8/01.:

Here is the link to the article:


I’m just wondering if any Denver area Dopers are familiar with this case, and whether it is a miscvsarriage of Justice to put someone in jail for life without parole for a crime that happened when she was in custody.

There is also a site for Lisl Auman at http://www.lisl.com

The message I get from this is loud and clear.
Don’t go running away from the police while helping someone shoot at them. If you do, you will be held responsible for consequences.
I see a quick and simple solution here. Following anyone of these rules would have prevented this result.

Don’t steal.
Don’t run away from the police.
Don’t shoot at the police.
Don’t help someone shoot at the police.

thank God for preview.

I had this long rationalized posting about how some young female could have asked some friends for help, yadda yadda yadda, then hit preview and re-read the OP. The line that does it for me is:

Bingo. Now, if she wasn’t driving, then she couldn’t have stopped for the cops. But, ummmmm holding the wheel while he shoots at them? no, that brings it squarely into the realm of active participant in the crime, and therefore criminally responsible for the entire process, including stuff other idiots she apparently chose to act with went on to do.

(aside - the world must be coming to an end, I’ve agreed with ** both Freedom & IzzyR** in the same week)

We are prooud of you wring.

You are making progrees:)

I have a friend who knows Lisl Auman, so I have heard a lot from the other side. What heard from my friend was that Lisl was afraid of Jaehnig, that she had gone to her old high school friend for help in getting her own stuff back when she moved out of a place she had been sharing with another guy, and Jaehnig and her high school friend’s boyfriend decided to take a few extra things, and she was afraid to argue with him. She held the wheel because they were going really fast and she was afraid they were going to crash and she also thought Jaehnig might shoot her if she didn’t, and she had her basket full of clothes between her legs, so she couldn’t just wait till he slowed down and jump out of the car. She had never met Jaehnig until the day before this all took place. The police are said to have made up some things that they said after their initial reports to make her look worse because they were frustrated in not being able to prosecute anyone else for their fellow cop’s murder, as Jaehnig had already offed himself. The Denver Post right after the murder published her photo next to some skinheads, implying that she was one, which was also not the case. I guess the thing that scares me the most is that the same kind of thing could have happened to me when I was her age, being young and hanging around with some people my mother wouldn’t have approved of, some of whom could get violent, though I didn’t really understand that at the time.

And why was she grabbiong the wheel, wring? Was it in order to help Jaehnig evade and kill the police, or was it because she was afraid of running into the proverbial telephone poll (or another car) while going at a “high speed”? Given the circumstances of the crime and of Auman’s relationship to Jaehnig, the latter seems much more likely. Or, perhaps she was afraid of being shot by the madman with the gun.

Why was she grabbing the wheel? Anything we’d come up with would be sheer speculation. Anything she says now has to be looked at critically, since it’s self serving.

There were a total of 4 guys and the young lady all packing up the apartment.

But only the young woman and the one guy in the car in question.

Now, if you don’t know this guy and are ‘afraid’ of him, why do you get into the car with him at the wheel? there apparently was another vehicle - since when the car stopped the article talks about the ‘two’ people, which means the other 3 were some where else.

That also played in for me about why to not believe her statement about being ‘afraid’ of him etc.

Sorry. still not buying it.

Well you can be anxious about somebody (though perhaps not according-to-Hoyle “afraid”) and still accept that person’s help when moving. Why was she in the car with him? There could be any number of reasons. (For example, perhaps only she and one other person in the group knew how to get to her new address, necessitating some such split. I dunno. . .) You don’t tell someone who’s helping you out that you think he’s creepy.

As would anything that a prosecutor could come up with. Reasonable doubt, anyone?

Of course it’s self-serving, but:

  1. If she’s not lying, she’s not guilty, right? In other words: if everything happened the way she says it did, she should not be in jail for murder, correct?
  2. There is no evidence that she is lying. More importantly, her explanations seem entirely plausible (to me, anyway). I know people (friends of friends) who make me nervous and who strike me as a bit unstable. I’d still get in the car with them if they were gonna help me move. Were I truly distrustful of said person, I might want to be in the same car so that I could keep an eye on my stuff. If I’m in a car that’s going 100 mph with someone and that person lets go of the wheel for any reason (to tie his shoes, to shoot at police – doesn’t matter from my point of view), I’m going to grab the wheel.

Maybe she’s lying; it’s conceivable – but I would have trouble calling it “plausible.” If she’s lying, then apparently she thought it was a good thing that this person she didn’t know was shooting at the police, thus endangering her life. Her exaplanation just seems much more likely than the explanation one has to accept if she’s guilty. In any event, there is no way in hell that her guilt is true “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

“reasonable doubt” does not equal no doubt at all.

If you’re a female and afraid of some male you ‘don’t know’, there’s an old and trusted friend **with ** you, you’ll go with the old and trusted friend, not in the car with the guy you don’t know and fear and that goes double for getting in when he’s at the wheel.

You’re entitled to your opinion. I don’t have a personal stake in this.

I had the same sort of thoughts that you were espousing until I saw the fact that she was in the car with this guy driving and the others were some where else and she’s holding the car steady while he shoots.

I’ve interviewed lots of convicts, and hear lots of stories. In some cases, I can see how they may have been gullible, naive, fearful, etc etc etc. In others the bells go ringing off. The bells were ringing on this one for me.

As part of my never-ending mission of bringing happiness to my fellowmen, I am pleased to inform you that in this particular thread I disagree with you (and with Freedom). I too do not buy the notion of her being an unwitting victim in this matter. But I don’t think she should be charged with murder for an action committed while she was no longer a part of of he scenario. If the guy had been hit while she was driving the car, I would say put her away for murder. But with her having surrendered, I don’t see how you could consider her a participant. (I don’t think it is significant that she was in police custody - even had she run away I would say the same). I would think she should be charged with some co-conspiritor type of crime. (I don’t know what the law is - I would imagine it was followed. I am commenting on how I think it sjould be.)


I don’t see how your reasoning gets you from Point A to Point B in this case. The fact that she shouldn’t have been doing what she did does not make her guilty of any particular crime. The points you bring up are relevent to how much symphathy we should feel for her. They are something that a governor considering a pardon might consider, or a parole board. I don’t think the legal system should work that way.

If Lisl Auman was a man I wonder how many people would be supporting her claims of innocence.


Well, I know I would. My whole problem with this is the ‘while in police custody’ aspect. Where does culpability end? If it had turned into a 12 hour hostage situation after she surrendered, with the same outcome at the end, would she still be guilty?

Something else that bothers me… How the hell did the guy get close enough to a)shoot the police officer [not hard with a rifle], then b) take his service revolver and shoot himself? Where were the OTHER officers during all of this? We’re talking about a 50 mile (at least) chase here. There were bound to be ALOT of police officers there.

Given that cases like these are polarizing, it’s hard to get a good story on what really happened. But a lot of times in these types of debates it’s argued that the fact that the defendant had a story than the prosecution shows there is reasonable doubt and the jury must have been biased to convict. That’s not true.

It’s reasonable doubt, not any doubt at all. The jury heard both sides and weighed the credibility of the opposing sides. Maybe the jury just thought her story was full of shit. The fact that she had a defense that didn’t involve alien abduction doesn’t automatically raise reasonable doubt.

Are the cops lying? Is she lying? Was the jury stupid? I don’t know, but the fact that the defendant raised a defense does not equal reasonable doubt.

If Lisl Auman was a man I wonder how many people would be supporting her claims of innocence.

If she were a man, I doubt that she would have felt the need to get someone to back her up when she went to get her stuff back from the guy she was living with.

By some reports, the reason she rode with Jaehnig was that her friends thought the two of them should get together, so apparently he wasn’t wearing “I am a dangerous criminal and if the cops show up I won’t let them take me alive.” tattooed on his forehead. I mean’t that she was afraid of him after he started running from the cops and after he pulled the gun out from where he was keeping it. The crowd she used to hang around with when my friend used to see a lot of her (she’s a friend of my friend’s kids) never had much to do with guns and while they don’t like cops, they’re not likely to run from them or shoot them.

I think maybe she might have been guilty of poor judgement in friends and stupidity in talking to the police without a lawyer and more stupidity in lying to them, but this does not seem to me to call for life in prison with no chance of parole.