Because Sometimes We Buy Our Own Bullshit

In the comments to Murphy’s Law of Investigation we had a little discussion of what a lawyer should do when his client maintains his factual innocence, and he discovers that there is evidence that, if analyzed, could either confirm that factual innocence or conclusively disprove it.

Renaissance man Joel “JDog” Rosenberg wrote of a hypothetical rape kit with untested DNA:

If you open Schroedinger’s rape kit, you’re pretty sure that either a: he walks, or b: it’s over, ’cause he’s going to be convicted. There is no reverse Brady obligation; you don’t have to point out to the prosecutor that there’s this untested rape kit, that you think he or she overlooked. Since you decide that this is a decision you have to run past your client, he says, hey, I didn’t do it, but I trust you to do the right thing for me.

Isn’t there at least an argument that you leave it alone, at least until the jury comes back?

Now, in a post on his Waco criminal law blog, Waco criminal-defense lawyer Walter Reaves describes his handling of such a situation (textbook handling, in my view), and the unfortunate outcome for his client — “He continued to insist he was innocent, and we sent the evidence off to be tested. It came back today, and sure enough, there is now no doubt whatsoever that he’s guilty” — and asks, “How can someone convince himself that he is not guilty?”

About Mark Bennett

Mark Bennett got his letter of marque from the Supreme Court of Texas in May 1995. He is famous for having no sense of humor when it comes to totalitarianism.
This entry was posted in clients, criminal defense lawyers, DNA, psychology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Because Sometimes We Buy Our Own Bullshit

  1. Ron in Houston says:

    I take great joy in all my delusions.

  2. Gideon says:

    The comment at the Waco blog made me chuckle.

  3. Mark Bennett says:

    Clay Conrad is a smart dude, and funny too. He should start blogging again.

  4. Katie says:

    Ha, and I suppose you haven’t heard of the forensic lab case that sent innocent people to prison and hundreds of her cases had to be re-investigated?
    Integrity is afforded to those in certain positions. Everyone has a ‘price’ today and integrity can be bought. There is also the ‘quality’ of forensic care in performance. What makes anyone think that a laboratory finding is Gospel in
    today’s society’s lack of morals and values and work ethic? Work in a Lab for
    an eye opening experience!

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