Monday, December 12, 2011

What else could have gone wrong?

Yes, Ronald Ray, the state does bear the burden of proving your client guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. You are correct, sir, in your assertion that your client is presumed innocent unless the prosecution can meet its burden.

But to have your client convicted of an armed robbery while he was behind bars as a guest of Harris County is beyond comprehension. As Mark Bennett wrote,
This is what generally happens when the defense relies on the presumption of innocence: the government proves the defendant guilty. So unfair!
And that's exactly what happened.

Mr. Ray never bothered to investigate his client's case. A simple check of the District Clerk's website would have indicated that his client had been in jail at the time of the alleged offense. Hell, your client could have told you he was in jail.

It's shameful that your client's father is the one who found out his son was incarcerated at the very moment that someone else claimed he was robbing a store.

My colleague, Jackie Carpenter, has her own take on the matter. She even included a photograph of Mr. Ray and "Rev." Johnny Jeremiah. For those of you who don't practice in Harris County, the "good reverend" is quite the notorious case runner. I don't know how much the family paid Mr. Ray - and I don't know how much Mr. Ray paid Mr. Jeremiah for the referral - but it was hardly worth it now, was it?

After an agreed motion for new trial was granted and the charges dropped by the state, State District Judge Mark Kent Ellis told everyone present that he was dismayed by what had happened.
"It boggles the mind that neither side knew about this during trial," Ellis said. "Both sides in this case were spectacularly incompetent."
It doesn't matter what the prospective jurors tell you during voir dire. It doesn't matter when they nod their heads when the judge tells them that the defendant is innocent and that he has no burden of proof. Forget about the jury instruction that tells the jurors the presumption of innocence alone is enough to acquit the defendant.

Your client did something. Otherwise he wouldn't be sitting at that table with you in front of the judge. Whether you like it or not you've got to overcome that presumption. To base your entire trial strategy on the presumption of innocence is, at best, naive and, at worst, incompetent.

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