The trial of Jerry Sandusky (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) is trudging its way down to the finish line of a jury verdict. Thus far, the Commonwealth has been presenting its witnesses and the defense has tried to keep the presumption of innocence in play…at least until it can present its case.
As any regular reader of the Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog can tell you, the defense really has no obligation to present anything. It is the Commonwealth’s burden to prove the Defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Under the law, the defense can simply sit back, watch and do nothing.
Now, back to the land of Reality.
Particularly in this case, it would be most unwise for the defense to do nothing. It is particularly true in this case because the Defendant and his counsel have already opened their collective mouths to make promises and representations which they themselves will need to address. In fact, some of these statements have left long-time criminal defense attorneys scratching our heads since last fall!
For example, lets turn the clock back to the infamous interview the Defendant granted NBC’s Bob Costas months ago. You may remember that the Defendant’s attorney was not even in the same location as his client as he allowed this televised fiasco to hit the airwaves.
In his defense (no pun intended), the Defendant was asked some rather unforeseeable and mind-bendingly difficult trick questions, like “Are you sexually attracted to young boys, to underage boys?”
As you may recall, the Defendant finally did answer the question…after a long pause and some attempted footwork.
He eventually got to “No”, by the way.
The Defendant and his lawyer attempted some damage control during a later newspaper interview in explaining the pause and his answer. The Defendant explained, “I was sitting there like, ‘What in the world is this question?’ Am I going to be, if I say, ‘No, I’m not attracted to boys,’ that’s not the truth because I’m attracted to young people – boys, girls,”.
The lawyer, now situated to be able to do his job, was able to hit his client with the oral equivalent of cold water and interject with, “Yeah, yeah, but not sexually. You’re attracted because you enjoy spending time.”
Reminding his client that he is not attracted to kids sexually might have also come in handy during the previous televised interview when the Defendant explained, “I shouldn’t have showered with those kids…I have horsed around with kids. I showered after workouts. I have hugged them, and I have touched their legs without sexual contact.”
“Horsing around” was not the smartest admission that the Defendant could make. Especially in a case about sexual assault. In fact, the smartest statement would have been no statement at all.
After all, “horsing around ” and showering with naked kids may not be criminal per se, but it is unlikely to be viewed as appropriate.
Anybody remember a case not so long ago involving the late Michael Jackson and the response to his admitting to sleeping with kids?
On the other hand, Michael was found not guilty…at least by the jury.
Attorney Sam’s Take On Testifying Both In And Out Of Court
The Defendant has complained to the press that his statements are being twisted and made into something other than what he meant. One would imagine that a man who is as used to talking with the press as he is, albeit in the role of beloved coach, would have already expected that to happen…
…and so be more careful when deciding whether to grant such interviews. Especially when his lawyer is not around.
Other than curiosity and assuming you are not being sought for interviews while awaiting trial for various felonies, you might ask what this has to do with you.
It actually has a lot to do with anyone anytime they are accused of any crime. Of course, the press are not likely to be hounding you unless you are either a public figure or the accusations themselves have gained media attention. There are, however, other people who are usually only to happy to ask you to make statements about the allegations against you.
The police, for example, come to mind.
Quite often, if not nearly always, law enforcement will come to a suspect to ask for his or her “version”. Usually, the request is tailored to make the suspect feel that making such a statement is likely to make the whole matter go away.
The approach is key and the police are, by law, allowed to lie in seeking it. The purpose of the statement is to lock the suspect into some kind of story that can then be investigated and, hopefully, twisted to seem as close to a confession as possible.
“But, Sam, how are the criminal investigators supposed to decide who they believe if I do not give a statement?”
Simple. In 9.5 cases out of 10, they have already decided what the “truth” is. If you are consistent with that truth, then hurray! You have inculpated yourself. If not, you are lying.
I have many clients who are thirsting to go to the media about unfairness’s that they have suddenly found exist in the system. The problem is that doing so is a very risky business when you have charges pending. First of all, any statements should come out of the attorney’s mouth…not the defendant’s. That way it cannot be used against the client in cross-examination. The best bet is to simply enjoy that right to remain silent.
In terms of the unfairness’s in the system that are not discovered until one is dragged into the criminal justice system, thereby becoming one of “them”…it is one of the reasons for this blog.
Learn about them now! That’s what this blog is for.
To view the original story upon which today’s blog has been based, please go to http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/16/4567440/sandusky-trials-next-big-tell.html/