Uncovering Reasonable Doubt
TOC o “1-3” h z u Uncovering Reasonable Doubt PAGEREF _Toc433822560 h 2Investigative Case Review PAGEREF _Toc433822561 h 3The Initial Defendant Interview PAGEREF _Toc433822562 h 4Crime Scene Examination PAGEREF _Toc433822563 h 4The Alleged Victim and Witnesses Background Investigation PAGEREF _Toc433822564 h 5Interviewing Witnesses PAGEREF _Toc433822565 h 5Investigating and Testifying Report PAGEREF _Toc433822566 h 6Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc433822567 h 7Work Cited PAGEREF _Toc433822568 h 8
Uncovering Reasonable DoubtMany people have different opinions and ideas about the truth. According to Perron in his book “Reasonable Doubt: The Component Method” quips that an investigator for a criminal defense must be well experienced and able to be able to perform what many people would call the impossible. To him, this includes but is not limited to saving an innocent person from the capital punishment, which is the ultimate sentence (Pg. 8).
According to Dershowitz, it is the duty of the criminal defense investigator to pursue any evidence, and try all he can to disapprove the elements of nay alleged crime, or uncover any evidence that supports the existence of reasonable doubt (Pg.24).
In an ID case, for example, the identification of an eye witness is believed to be the ultimate evidence of the case. According to Whitman, in a landmark 1996 research document by the United States Department of Justice’s, the National Institute of Justice, however, described 28 cases where defendants were convicted at trial, but later exonerated using the DNS tests. Ironically, 24 of those 28 cases had involved wrong and mistaken eyewitnesses’ identities (Pg.36).
According to Perron, reasonable doubt is defined as not being sure of the guilt of a criminal defendant to a certainty that is moral.as such; a judge must be convinced of the guilt of a crime beyond any reasonable doubt. In case there is a jury, the test is subjective since each juror has to decide if their doubt is reasonable. It is hard to give a conviction under this test as compared to the preponderance of the evidence (Pg.10).
To find reasonable doubt in any case, the following case will be used to illustrate how the Component Method can be used. The names used in this case have been changed for the purposes of anonymity. This is, however, a real case whose investigation was assisted by Jill Thomas.
Investigative Case ReviewOn 10th November 2013, Daniel Mane, an attorney, hired Jill Thomas and Sam Spade to help in investigating a case against Tang and Te 13CR25173, Denver County, Colorado. Mr. Mane was hired to be the Criminal Defense Attorney for Mr. Te, against the following charges:
1. Aggravated Assault in the Second Degree (F4)
It was alleged that on or about 10th September 2013, Tang Te feloniously and unlawfully caused bodily injury to Michael J Meyerson, using a deadly weapon, a knife,; and with the intention to cause bodily harm; in violation of section 18-203-(1)(b), C.R.S
2. Criminal Mischief (F4)
It was alleged that on or about 21st September 2013, Tang Te, in a single criminal episode, feloniously, unlawfully and knowingly damaged personal property of Michael J Meyerson. The aggravated damage was said to be one thousand dollars or more, but less than twenty thousand dollars. This, in violation of section 18-4-501, C.R.S
The investigator, Thomas, obtained the discovery late in October, and Spade reviewed the 355-paged discovery.
Thomas then compiled a notebook, where he separated seven sections from the report. The two investigators reviewed the case, discussing the highlighted details from the police reports. Using the notes made as a start journal and outline. The investigators prepared the initial questions for the interview with the defendant.
The Initial Defendant InterviewAn interview with Mr. Te took place on 10th November 2013 at the Subway restaurant, on the 14th Street Denver at about 2.30 pm. Both investigators attended the interview as well as Mr. Te. Choice of the location was based on the fact that it was centrally located for all parties, and it being a neutral location.
Mr. Te had also made some notes on his copy of the police report. He had been asked to place much focus on any discrepancies he found in either the witness or the police statements.
Mr. Te denied that he had any intention to either have a knife or cause bodily harm as stated. He said that he used a broken beer bottle that was in his hand when the fight between Mr. Tang and Mr. Meyerson broke out. He says that he stepped in when he saw the alleged victim with a knife and charging towards Mr. Tang.
When the fight heated up, Mr. Te admits threatening Mr. Meyerson with the bottle as well as kicking and in the process damaging Mr. Meyerson’s car.
Crime Scene ExaminationUsing the following evidence, the investigator identified what the crime scene consisted of. Given that the altercation took place around the victim’s vehicle, the vehicle had to be used in his report. The vehicle was found to have excessive damages that had allegedly been caused by the defendant. Police photos of inside the car showed some blood evidence on the driver’s side, he front seat, and gear shaft.
Photos of the victim showed some lacerations to his hands and face. However, the investigators could not identify any evidence whatsoever of the existence of a knife at the crime scene.
The Alleged Victim and Witnesses Background InvestigationThe victim, Mr. Meyerson was found to have some criminal history in traffic violations DUI and some possession charges.
Loudes Delmendo, a witness who is also the landowner who called the police was found to have no criminal history.
Josephine Huang was identified to be the victim’s girlfriend and has no criminal history.
Interviewing WitnessesBased on the testimony of both Ms. Houang and Ms. Lourdes Delmendo, there is no sufficient evidence that Mr. Te was involved in the property damage inflicted on Mr. Meyerson’s vehicle. Both the witnesses told the police that there appeared to be only a single person inflicting the damage on the vehicle, and the person was Mr. Te.
Mr. Te was found to have implicated himself in the crime through subsequent texts to the victim. While Mr. Meyerson implicated our client in this crime, his testimony was found to be very unrealistic since it has continually changed over the course of the investigation. The police even discredited it to the point of not seeking assault charges against Mr. Tang
Mr. Meyerson’s testimony conflicts with that of the two most reliable witnesses; Ms. Delmendo and Ms. Josaphine. In his audio testimony, Mr. Meyerson says that Mr. Tang and Mr. Te took turns to assault him; though Mr. Tan only faces charges of conspiring to commit a felony assault.
Investigating and Testifying ReportLooking at Mr. Meyerson’s testimony, there is every reason to disbelieve its reliability, in that it too could be subject to substance abuse, and also given that it changed a lot during the investigation.
Mr. Meyerson told the first person he contacts that he was assaulted by Mr. Tang’s gang, then later told the police that he know Mr. Te very well. He had also told a friend that somebody involved in assaulting him might have had a knife. His initial report to the police indicated that both defendants attacked him with beer bottles and a knife.
Before his audio testimony, he had told an officer that one of the two assailants “may” have had a knife. In his written statement, he states that Mr. Te assaulted him with “lethal weapons” and later he changed the testimony to say that Mr. Te dropped the broken beer bottle and wielded a knife. It is difficult to know what made him change his minds about who assaulted him and the weapon used, except by asking Ms. Houang who cannot testify against her boyfriend.
Mr. Te admitted hitting Mr. Meyerson with a beer bottle, though his testimony was him being assaulted by Mr. Meyerson, and reacting in the heat of the moment. In fact, Mr. Te was trying to split apart Mr. Tang and Mr. Meyerson, when Mr. Meyerson attacks him. This testimony was much closer to the testimony given by Ms. Houang, than the changing testimony of Mr. Meyerson.
The case went to trial, and Mr. Te was convicted of a felony. He received a deferred sentence. In their opinion, the jury believed the alleged victim and did not believe the eyewitness.
ConclusionThe role of the investigator was to uncover some reasonable doubts in the case, but the ultimate decision lies in the juries deciding whether, in their eyes, there is the existence of reasonable doubts. In making their judgments, the jurists believe what the victims say is the truth as with this case, but evidently some reasonable doubts on the prosecution’s case existed.
Work CitedPerron, Brandon A. Uncovering Reasonable Doubt: The Component Method: a Comprehensive Guide for the Criminal Defense Investigator. Investigative Support Specialist, Incorporated, (1998): 8-12
Whitman, James Q. The origins of reasonable doubt: Theological roots of the criminal trial. Yale University Press, (2008): 36-36
Dershowitz, Alan M. Reasonable doubts: The criminal justice system and the OJ Simpson case. Simon and Schuster, (1997): 24-25
Get a verified expert to help you with any urgent paper!Hire a Writer
from $10 per-page