Friday, March 13, 2009

Highly Likely is not Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

I had jury duty the past few days. The prosecution had a very thin case because the defendant hardly said a word to the police (and not a thing at trial). His "girlfriend"/"best friend" accused him of breaking into her apartment, trashing the place, and stealing $1800 she had cashed in his presence the day before (when they were friends).

The whole trial hinged on her accusation. The police testimony was solely to say that damage was done to her apartment and she said he did it. No corroborating evidence whatsover pointed the finger at him.

Since the incident, the two have been on good terms, and the day before the incident, they were on good terms, so why happened that day? Did he really go into a jealous rage because she was hanging out with his best friend that Saturday afternoon? Or did she (and the other friend) hold a grudge against him for something else and frame him?

There was talk about a motorcycle accident where the other man wrecked the defendant's new motorcycle, and somehow that tore apart the friendship, but then they were all together a month later, hanging out.

Could the other man have been jealous of the defendant and have some other guys trash the apartment while he takes the woman away for a few hours?

Could she have been trying to cover for previous damage to her apartment and get her security deposit back when she moved out the next day? Did she not realize that her accusation would get him into trouble?

Did she actually remember to lock the door to her apartment or did she forget as she said she often did? If the policeman was correct in saying that there was forced entry, why didn't he photograph a damaged door jamb? The deadbolt wasn't damaged. Only the handle latch was bent out of alignment, but without damaging the jamb, the door still wouldn't have opened. So the door had to have been unlocked when it was opened. But then why was it damaged?

The woman had said that the defendant had a general invitation to enter the apartment if the door was unlocked and he had been there numerous times without her, but she hadn't specifically allowed him to enter that day.

I'll accept, even though she was planning to move to Philadelphia the next day, that she hadn't packed yet because she was young and lazy. I'll accept that she didn't deposit the check in her bank account because she was young and forgetful (and needed the money available the next day for her long drive across the country).

But basically, the prosecution did absolutely nothing to aswage my doubts as to who had actually done the crime. When the attorney said, "The prosecution rests," I nearly gasped. I couldn't believe that that was all they had.

On the other hand, it was completely believeable that the defendant showed up at her apartment that Saturday afternoon, found the door locked, called her up, found out she was with his best friend, got angry, entered via the sliding glass door, trashed the place, (stolen the money?), and exited through the front door (opened the deadbolt, pulled the handle before turning it [thus dislodging the latchbolt], then turned the handle and slammed the door against the wall).

But the police and prosecution presented no evidence except the accusation. Hence, reasonable doubt.

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