Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lawyers Who Win Cases Should Exercise Their Right to Remain Silent

This week, news agencies reported certain computer evidence was overlooked by the prosecution in the Casey Anthony murder investigation and subsequent criminal trial prosecution. The overlooked evidence included Google search logs for "foolproof suffocation." The Orange County Sheriff's Office was responsible for the computer forensics but failed to advise the prosecution of this incriminating material.

One juror who served on the case told reporters this "new evidence" might have affected their verdict. Questions were raised about whether the government could re-trial Casey Anthony for the murder of her daughter. Some even asked whether the United States Justice Department could bring a federal prosecution despite the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Now the pot is stirred and the hornet's nest is abuzz.

But how did this new evidence come to light which has everybody in an uproar? Well, it appears Casey Anthony's lawyer, Jose Baez, opened his big mouth in his book about the trial. Baez told several news outlets his defense team knew about the evidence but did not disclose it to the prosecution.

I have no problem with Anthony's team keeping their mouth's shut about the incriminating Google search evidence. In fact, it's their job to keep quiet since state and federal law demand the government carry the burden of proof in a criminal trial. However, I believe Baez was an idiot for revealing this information in his book. First, it placed his client at risk by encouraging some of the country's top legal talent to take a second look at this case with a view toward a second prosecution . . . mistake. And second, it placed his client in a terribly bad light, since most of the country hated her already for getting away with what they believed was murder . . . bigger mistake.

Lawyers who win big cases should learn to keep their big mouths shut. When things go around, sometimes you never know how they'll come back around. Why put your client at risk? Why stir the pot? If it's to make yourself look good and sell books, that's a mistake. If you stir the pot to protect your client, then that's a different story. But in this case, Baez's book is for self-aggrandizement and making an extra buck. Sorry, but I simply don't respect him for that.


Chris Scott said...

Another fascinating blog Stephen. I stumbled upon one of your blogs a while back for a class and was hooked. You have an interesting take on things and find it fascinating how you share what goes in your practice and your take on everyday things when it comes to what it is like to be a lawyer

Stephen Gustitis said...

Thanks Chris: I try to be down-to-earth with folks and give them practical information.

Unknown said...

Stephen and you do a good job of that hence why I continue to follow what you write

Stephen Gustitis said...

Thank you very much for supporting me and my writing efforts.

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