District Attorney: "I Could Convict Allen Easily!" Part II


Zodiackiller.com Message Board: Arthur Leigh Allen: District Attorney: "I Could Convict Allen Easily!" Part II

By Ed N (Ed_N) (acbe20b6.ipt.aol.com - 172.190.32.182) on Monday, August 19, 2002 - 07:02 pm:

Let's continue this fascinating discussion here...

By Mike (Oklahoma_Mike) (66.138.8.210) on Monday, August 19, 2002 - 10:52 pm:

Scott, when I said Mageau's ID was, 'at odds' with other descriptions I did not calrify. What I meant were the sketch from the teenaged witnesses at PH and Kathleen Johns. The fact the sketch of the face looks nothing like him is, to me, one of the strongest sources of reasonable doubt. Re; Ms. Johns, you are correct that, if allowed to testify, the prosecution would focus on her alcohol and/or drug use. Which would come off best to the jury, her testimony or Mageau's, will be forever hypothetical. As to the question of Ms. Johns testimony being allowed, that might hinge on exactly what circumstantial evidence the prosecution uses. If they choose to bring into evidence that Allen had auto mechanic skills, they will need to introduce either the Bates or Johns cases, or both. That would open the door to the defense. If the prosecution does not do this the circumstantial evidence of Allen's mechanical skills becomes moot.
That brings up a whole new issue, just how many crimes do they need to charge anyone with before the circumstantial evidence begings to pile up? It's too late to debate that for now!

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (coral.tci.com - 198.178.8.81) on Tuesday, August 20, 2002 - 12:39 am:

Peter:

I find it somewhat amusing that you should scold me for using definitives, in a facetious manner I might add, and then turn around to use them yourself by saying:

"Allen was NOT perhaps 5'8", he did not have curly hair, he was not 195-200 MAYBE larger, he was 225-250. DEFINITELY larger."

Not only are you using definitives, but also everything in those sentences is purely speculative. To a degree, it doesn't matter how different Mageau's and Hartnell's descriptions were. After all, they were describing the same person: Zodiac. Besides, what is more reliable with regard to witnesses, testimony as to description, or identification via photo lineup?

Out of curiosity, if the prosecution were to put Mageau on the stand to testify against Allen, what would your tactics in cross-examination be to discredit his testimony? How would you put reasonable doubt into the minds of the jurors with regard to Mageau?

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (coral.tci.com - 198.178.8.81) on Tuesday, August 20, 2002 - 12:56 am:

Hey Mike. You wrote, "Re; Ms. Johns, you are correct that, if allowed to testify, the prosecution would focus on her alcohol and/or drug use. Which would come off best to the jury, her testimony or Mageau's, will be forever hypothetical."

I'm not sure that you are getting the point I'm making about Kathleen. Unlike Mageau, KJ is not a confirmed Zodiac victim. Therefore, it's unlikely that she would be allowed to testify for either side. On the other hand, Mageau is a confirmed Zodiac victim; there's very little doubt that his testimony will be allowed into evidence. See what I mean?

"If they choose to bring into evidence that Allen had auto mechanic skills, they will need to introduce either the Bates or Johns cases, or both."

Same deal, Mike. Like Kathleen Johns, Cheri Jo Bates is not a confirmed Zodiac victim. That the prosecution or defense would be able to use either case is not only speculative, but unlikely as well.

By Kevin (Kevinrm) (ip68-98-108-6.ph.ph.cox.net - 68.98.108.6) on Tuesday, August 20, 2002 - 12:57 am:

Scott, I know you were asking this to Peter, but.....it was too dang dark out there for Mageau to see the features of Z. That wouldn't be too hard to discredit.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - 12.224.139.118) on Tuesday, August 20, 2002 - 01:01 am:

Attn. Sylvie:
Can't see features, can't tell height.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-21-54.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.21.54) on Tuesday, August 20, 2002 - 10:18 am:

The only "definitive" (whatever that is) I used was as to pretty simple details. None of ALA pictures show curly hair. ALA was not 5'8". He was not 195-200. He was 241 at the time of the Lynch interview. Which sentences are speculative?

Also, I am not addressing the differences between Mageau's and Hartnell's descriptions, I am talking about discrepancies between Mageau's description and Allen. The discrepancies between Hartnell's description and ALA are back in the otther thread.

Discredit Mageau?

Lighting conditions at the scene. He's getting shot and jumping into the back seat. At what point exactly did he get this full face view of Z? Lying in the back seat in shock with a couple slugs in him? How good a look could he get? Facial details? None are in his description. How come?

20 years of substance abuse, if that's true. Substance abuse at the time and scene of the attack?

What has he seen in the 20 years before the photo line up? Ever seen a picture of Allen before? Ever seen Allen around Vallejo? Hanging at the IHOP? A painting party maybe?

What I mentioned in the last post: in his contemporaneous description to the police, he does not describe one single facial detail. None. General description of the large face is the only thing that MAYBE fits. The rest of his description, hair, weight, height all of it, is at odds with ALA. Yet 20 years of substance abuse later, he picks him out of a photo line up of the face only. Which reflects absolutely nothing of his contemporaneous description except what may or may not be a large face, but who can tell without the body to go with it? No curly hair, not 5'8, not 195-200.

What were the exact details of Bawart's linep protocol? How were the pictures presented? What did Bawart say? How many pictures? In fact, let's see the lineup Bawart used. Anon, in Cal, can you use a photo lineup ID without putting the lineup itself in evidence? I never did: always got the witness to initial the lineup card and my notes, so the atty or pro per could put it in evidence. [Oh, I guess I should explain. At the end of 1-l, I worked as a court appointed defense investigator for the summer. Used a lot of Identi-kit stuff for lineups. Its amazing how many eyewitnesses can't pick out a perp they were face to face with from a lineup of mug shots. I think its that LACJ hairdo and the jailhouse glare that makes them all look the same]

By Nick (Nick) (216.52.215.232) on Tuesday, August 20, 2002 - 11:20 am:

So then, where would you charge Allen? Solano Co, Napa Co, San Francisco? My guess would be Solano. Remember, your charging him with murder, attempted murder, armed criminal action, etc., not with being the Zodiac. And if he's convicted in one county, do the DA's in other jurisdictions then go after him? If so, is the evidence surrounding the first conviction admissable in a subsequent trial. Could a prosecutor in San Francisco say "Heck, this guys a vicious killer. Look what he did up in Vallejo. Look at the taunting letters he wrote about those murders. Compare them to the Stine letter. It's gotta be him". As you can see I'm not really up on the law, just curious.

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) (spider-wm042.proxy.aol.com - 205.188.199.167) on Tuesday, August 20, 2002 - 12:53 pm:

Anon,Scott,
it really sounds as though what you really want to say is that there is a "preponderance of evidence" against Allen. That does not hold enough weight in a criminal court but if proven is enough to obtain a civil victory.
Which begs the question, with the bar so much lower in a civil case, why pray tell, did none of the victims ever sue Allen civilly?
There are so may shark attorneys out there, regardless of whether Allen had much or not (he did have a house), they'd do it just for the notoriety of it all.
Obviously someone looked into it and did not even find that low standard of proof, that is that is was more likely than not that it was Allen.

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) (spider-wm042.proxy.aol.com - 205.188.199.167) on Tuesday, August 20, 2002 - 01:05 pm:

ps Tom,
I know that Mike didn't see a thing, and that's straight from the horse's mouth, or at least the
doctor of the horse.
The teens however did not have a flashlight pointed at their faces and bullets piercing their bodies.

By Spencer (Spencer) (acbe704c.ipt.aol.com - 172.190.112.76) on Tuesday, August 20, 2002 - 05:11 pm:

If ALA were tried by a Solano County jury, here's a story of interest.

---------------------------------------
Jurors reach deadlock for a second time

By Jess Sullivan

FAIRFIELD -- His fingerprint was on the note demanding money and his handwriting is similar to the writing on the note.

But the compelling physical evidence linking Eric E. Booze to the June 2001 robbery of a Sanwa Bank in Fairfield was once again not enough to get a guilty verdict for Solano County prosecutors.

Jurors at Booze's second jury trial deadlocked Monday 7-to-5 for a guilty verdict forcing Judge Harry S. Kinnicutt to declare a mistrial.

Kinnicutt ordered Booze back to court Aug. 27 to see if prosecutors want to try a third time to build a winning case against Booze.

Booze's first trial in June ended with a jury deadlocked 9-to-3 for his acquittal.

Booze's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Thomas Hagler, has told both juries that it was a friend of Booze's who did the robbery. The friend owned the car the robber drove away in, and the car was found later with $5,500 in cash inside, much of it stained with dye from an exploding pack that a teller gave to the robber.

The teller identified Booze as the robber at both trials but not with absolute certainty.

"I believe in my heart (Booze) is the man who robbed me, but I wouldn't bet my life on it."

[Source: http://www.dailyrepublic.com/display/inn_news/NEWS4.TXT]

By Spencer (Spencer) (acbe704c.ipt.aol.com - 172.190.112.76) on Tuesday, August 20, 2002 - 05:15 pm:

Fingerprints, handwriting, and an eyewitness, and the D.A.'s office has twice failed to get a conviction . . .

Spencer

By Ed N (Ed_N) (acbed79b.ipt.aol.com - 172.190.215.155) on Tuesday, August 20, 2002 - 08:29 pm:

A few years back, I had the misfortune of being chosen again to sit on a jury. The case was of the simple open-and-shut, cut-and-dried variety. Some guy tried to kill his ex-wife, and claimed that he was "unconscious" at the time, for which he was not legally obligated to provide any proof other than his word; therefore, he was not guilty of any wrongdoing. He suddenly found his hands locked around her throat, and let go only when he saw a picture of his daughter in his mind, and then took off. He didn't even deny trying to kill her, etc, etc. A simple open-and-shut, cut-and-dried case. Pretty easy to decide, huh???

WRONG. We deliberated into the second day, and it was finally declared a hung jury, all because one idiot insisted that the guy was innocent because he was "unconscious," for which there was absolutely no proof other than the word of the scumbag himself. Personally, I think he was on a power trip because he was able to keep 11 other people in the one small room fighting with him for two days (I was not alone in that opinion. Most of the other jurors thought so too). Needless to say, it was one of the worst experiences of my life, not only to be part of that nightmare, but to see an obviously (and self-admitted) guilty man go free.

So, regardless of whatever evidence there might or might not be, I wouldn't count on a conviction for Allen (or anyone else, for that matter). Here in the People's Republic of California, there are plenty of wackos who are more than happy to let the guilty go free, as evidenced by Spencer's post above...

By Gregusjay (Gregusjay) (12-234-233-242.client.attbi.com - 12.234.233.242) on Tuesday, August 20, 2002 - 09:44 pm:

On the other hand Ed, I was on a jury that showed the system can work to a tee. This was one bizzaro case too..A drug dealer's wife and her friend were ripping people off (for $$ and drugs) including her husband. The husband and his "connection" decided they had to get rid of her. They rigged up a shotgun to go off when the wife opened the door to a house. The shotgun rigged house belonged to another associate, whom the wife didn't know and the wife was to go there to drop off dope and pick up $$..Well, the wife had a "friend" with her who went into the house first and got shotgunned in the shoulder..
The husband and his friends were waiting outside
they panicked, pretended that they were going to take the friend to a hospital, but killed her and dumped her body off the highway 1 devil's slide area..they then drove somewhere else to kill the wife.
The police found a phone # belonging to "the associate's" house on the wife's friend's body, used that to pressure the girlfriend of the associate and she "cracked" and told the police
all about the murders. 4 people were convicted on conspiracy to murder in this case. The prosecution tied eye-witness testimony and
physical evidence to get the conviction. The girlfriend actually accompanied the murderers when they killed the wife. She was able to bring to light all of the women's scars and told of the tool they used to kill her (they tried to strangle her first, but ended up beating her with a piece of re-bar) Both the rope and the re-bar were admitted as evidence. There was almost no deliberation, the story unfolded perfectly for the prosecution there was almost nothing the defense could do to discredit the physical evidence and the story of the witness.

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) (spider-ntc-ta041.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.16.36) on Tuesday, August 20, 2002 - 09:49 pm:

Ed, that wasn't an aquittal, just a hung jury. In which case the DA has the option to retry the case. If it was a case of attempted murder as you said, and it appears to have been a solid case, I am sure the case was retried and the defendant in fact did not go free.
The San Diego DA for example have already stated they will have an automatic retrial should the jury be hung.

By Ed N (Ed_N) (acc30e18.ipt.aol.com - 172.195.14.24) on Tuesday, August 20, 2002 - 11:04 pm:

You are correct, Sylvie, it wasn't. The scumbag was probably tried again, and assuming there wasn't another halfwit among the jury, he was probably convicted of attempted murder. But, my point was that it was not unlike the OJ case: open-and-shut, cut-and-dried, and yet a bunch of morons chose to let him go free, despite the fact that the evidence clearly showed he had the means, motive and opportunity (even though the case was botched by the prosecution).

So, when we consider the location (California) and the way trials seem to go here (let the scumbags go free), no matter what the case against Allen or any other suspect, I think it highly probable that a jury would be hung or he'd be acquitted.

On the other hand, they recently did get Skakel, which shows that "justice" actually works once in a while.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (172.philadelphia01rh.16.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.17.172) on Wednesday, August 21, 2002 - 12:27 am:

I'd only point out that a moron or two could serve for the conviction of an innocent person as well as the acquittal of a guilty one. Which, I believe, is the point I made earlier in this topic.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (coral.tci.com - 198.178.8.81) on Wednesday, August 21, 2002 - 01:27 am:

"What I mentioned in the last post: in his contemporaneous description to the police, he does not describe one single facial detail. None."

Neither did the 3 teens at Presidio Heights, but everyone seems to be clinging to their description as though it were the word of God. Besides, are you saying that "a large face" isn't a facial detail?

"The rest of his description, hair, weight, height all of it, is at odds with ALA."

That's BS, Peter, plain and simple. The only thing that is perhaps at odds with Allen is the description of Zodiac's height. Mageau's general description of Zodiac meets the general description of Allen. Allen had short brown hair, and it wasn't "Ari Fliesher-like" as Sylvie suggested. He was "approximately 5'10"" (as described by Foukes and implied by Hartnell's comparison to Sgt. Robertson), had a heavy build, and had a large face.

Attention: Possible future victims of violence, be sure to have a measuring stick and a scale with you where ever you go because, by God, attorneys like Peter will nail you to the wall if you can't provide exacting details of your attacker.

Btw, how do you know that Allen was 241 pounds at the time of Lynch's interview? Oh, is that what Allen told him? By God, then it must be true. How do we know Allen was 6 feet tall? Because that's what he told the DMV? Please.

"What were the exact details of Bawart's linep protocol? How were the pictures presented? What did Bawart say? How many pictures? In fact, let's see the lineup Bawart used."

Sounds like a job for a "court appointed defense investigator" to me. Not only are you expecting me to meet the standards of the judicial system [It's your -- my -- responsibility to prove Allen's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt] when I'm not a lawyer, but now you want me to provide you with the information regarding Bawart's photo lineup?

As far as discrediting Mageau, what you've provided above certainly doesn't do it. I know there are people who aren't in agreement with me with regard to Mageau, including Tom and Ed. Nevertheless, Mageau's general descriptions closely match Allen and the other descriptions provided by eyewitnesses.

If I'm a DA, I'm putting Mageau on the stand to testify against Allen. And he will point to Allen and tell the jury, "That's him! That's the man who shot me at Blue Rock Springs." That you could put a reasonable doubt in even one jury member with regard to Mageau's description and Bawart's photo lineup is absolutely speculative. The jury might believe Mageau and they might not, but that will never be determined in this thread.

I will admit one thing, however, especially after reading the posts by Spencer, Gregusjay, and Ed: Convicting Allen of the Zodiac crimes could not be done "easily." On the other hand, I do believe it's possible, even likely, but it certainly isn't a slam-dunk.

Kevin wrote, "Scott, I know you were asking this to Peter, but....."

Kevin, as far as I am concerned, these discussions are open to everyone. If you have something to add, even if not directed to you specifically, feel free to do so, it doesn't bother me at all.

Scott

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-21-54.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.21.54) on Wednesday, August 21, 2002 - 06:52 am:

Scott:

If you don't start bringing a little more care and discipline to your discussion, I AM going to give up on you. These dialogues can be productive, but, not if we put words in each others pens:

" That's BS, Peter, plain and simple. The only thing that is perhaps at odds with Allen is the description of Zodiac's height. Mageau's general description of Zodiac meets the general description of Allen. Allen had short brown hair, and it wasn't "Ari Fliesher-like" as Sylvie suggested. He was "approximately 5'10"" (as described by Foukes and implied by Hartnell's comparison to Sgt. Robertson), had a heavy build, and had a large face."

Quit mixing apples and oranges. I explicitly wrote that I was comparing Mageau's description to Allen. I don't care what SYlvie said: I am looking at his photos and the hair is not curly. FOukes described someone on the street, maybe Z, but you certainly can't assume it was Allen. Hartnell, likewise, was describing Z and youy can't use that to confirm Mageau's description of Z. Of course Mageau and Hartnell are going to correspond: they are both maybe describing the same guy? Face up to it, man, there are elements of Mageau's description that simply do NOT meet with Allen: curly hair, height and weight. And no, the size of the face is not a detail, Its as general as it gets.


"Btw, how do you know that Allen was 241 pounds at the time of Lynch's interview? Oh, is that what Allen told him? By God, then it must be true. How do we know Allen was 6 feet tall? Because that's what he told the DMV? Please."

Actually Lynch said 6'1, 241. If he had observed a discrepancy, I think he might have noted it: "Subject claims to be 6"1, 241, but officer's training, experience and observation is that he appears to be short, perhaps 5'8", but stocky, maybe 195-200. Further, subject claims to be bald, but appears to have brown curly hair. Hmmm. He could be lying." And I did not say Allen was 6-0. All I said was his license said it and Lynch has him at 6-1. So just how do we know how tall he was? And, please, I mean Allen, not Foukes's observation and not Hartnell's.

"Sounds like a job for a "court appointed defense investigator" to me. Not only are you expecting me to meet the standards of the judicial system [It's your -- my -- responsibility to prove Allen's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt] when I'm not a lawyer, but now you want me to provide you with the information regarding Bawart's photo lineup?"

Where do you get this stuff? A little self absorbed, are we? You asked me how I would go after Mageau on the stand, not what you need to provide in this discussion. You want to now how I would do it and I told you.

"As far as discrediting Mageau, what you've provided above certainly doesn't do it. I know there are people who aren't in agreement with me with regard to Mageau, including Tom and Ed. Nevertheless, Mageau's general descriptions closely match Allen and the other descriptions provided by eyewitnesses."

What lens are you looking through? If all that doesn't raise at least some doubt in your mind as to whether Mageau's description is both relaible and consistent with ALA, then I have to conclude that it is you who has the closed mind and preconcieved conclusion about ALA. Mageau's description simply and objectively does not match Allen in important details. And of COURSE it is going to match other witnesses descriptions of Z. Look at it this way: it matches Hartnell and Foukes descriptions one help of a lot better than it matches ALA. Does that tell you anything?

"If I'm a DA, I'm putting Mageau on the stand to testify against Allen. And he will point to Allen and tell the jury, "That's him! That's the man who shot me at Blue Rock Springs." [And either Johnny Cochrane or any stringer from the P.D. is going to rip him, and you, a new one.] That you could put a reasonable doubt in even one jury member with regard to Mageau's description and Bawart's photo lineup is absolutely speculative."

It certanly is not speculative. Its based on facts and experience. I have shown above exactly how I would go about it, and asked for comments. So far, you are the only one respondng that you still believe Mageau beyond a reasonable doubt. Does THAT tell you anything?

Allen fans? Who likes Mageau as a witness? And BTW: What is the best evidence we have on ALA's height?

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p50-29.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - 159.134.50.29) on Wednesday, August 21, 2002 - 08:43 am:

There is no getting away from the obvious problems concerning Mageau's identification of Allen.Having said that,for me personally,it would hinge on his performance in the witness box.As a juror,I would expect the defense to challenge his testimony,if for no other reason,than they have to.Mageau,has no axe to grind.That,I imagine would form part of the prosecutors argument.If he were to stand up there and say something like "that's him,that's the man who shot me" etc I imagine,I could be more convinced by that, than what I would be expecting the defense to do anyway.
On the same lines,I think performances all round would be crucial.I can imagine the prosecution summation beginning with "the defence would have you believe that all these people are liars/mistaken,that are willing to come here and swear on oath to send an innocent man to his death....."
I'll have to stop watching old re-runs of Perry Mason.

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) (spider-ntc-tb031.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.16.161) on Wednesday, August 21, 2002 - 11:02 am:

Scott,
a picture is worth more than thousandz of words, one must only look at Allen head. If you don't like the Ari simialarity, how about David Westerfield's head. Looks very much like Allen's hair problem to me.
Honestly, if I really thought Allen was the Z, I'd have to go with the toupee theory. And that is what I'd tell the jury, if not that alone would cause reasonable doubt.
Trying to help the Allen Forces out here.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p50-12.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - 159.134.50.12) on Wednesday, August 21, 2002 - 11:31 am:

So your position,Sylvie,is that Zodiac(whoever he was)did not disguise himself!

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) (cache-mtc-ak04.proxy.aol.com - 64.12.96.201) on Wednesday, August 21, 2002 - 06:20 pm:

No,
Lapumo, quite the opposite, I think he did to a certain extent anyway, and I think the pro Allens
should take it from that perspective, esp. if there would have been a court case. If not few would have believed it.
Since Z himself said he was disguised that gives even more fuel to that fire.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (66.59.238.100.lcinet.net - 66.59.238.100) on Wednesday, August 21, 2002 - 09:59 pm:

Scott,
You and all of the posters are doing a fantastic job of looking at all the angles.This has got to be the most exciting site/Board on the net(thank you Tom)!
Just one thought about the height extimate,as you mentioned how Mageau arrived at it or that there is some area that hasn't been explored,etc.
According to some reports he was able to give a 5'8" estimate based on the height of the Corvair.
The gunman was about a 'head taller' than the Corvair and he surmised he was"short" or 5'8."
Police reporter Dave Peterson heard Mageaus interview some time after the attack and Peterson told me that M kept maintaining that the shooter was "young" and "short."
He saw ONLY the attackers face in profile.
He changed hair color and style including what Z was wearing!
Speaking of weight he said that it could have been as low as around 165 lbs.The right kind of clothes,according to anti detection books, can increase weight 'appearence.'Dougs son proved that!My guy didn't weight that much,but all that knew him said he was"stocky", "husky","thickset with a large angular face","muscular"with a "pot belly",etc.
I use this example because I know my guy,but it can apply to Allen,TK,Kane,or some of the other suspects.No friggin'tm(I know,like Ed,you have your word trademarked-don't sue -we are friends!) scales to weigh Z and I don't think he would have climbed on either!
Rusts report was just one account.
As you know,like in the Hartnell interviews,we have to very carefully read and study ALL those reports to get a detailed panoramic view of all that he recounts,etc.
We know when seeing Mageau speak that he's an eight cylinder engine running on four plugs(and the middle wire of the distributer has been pulled out too!).This is sad as he is one of the few surviving witnesses.He drank(drugs too) heavily for a number of years and we know alcohol causes what some researchers call "sluging",that is,it deprives the brain of oxygen and millions of cells die(Tom,except for white Russians!)-we have a few billion,but he is overdrawn at the brain bank!).
I have compassion for the man ,but it was his fault.Much to his credit,thank God, he has had a "sponser" for sometime and as far as is known has stopped his destructive life style,but the damage remains and I doubt if his testimony would have much weight.I do take in the terrible effects of the shooting as at least,a partial cause of his hqabit.
What I am saying is that the lawyers would have a field day with him on the stand!

By Mike (Oklahoma_Mike) (66.138.8.107) on Wednesday, August 21, 2002 - 10:11 pm:

Re: Best guess as to ALA's height.
It would be interesting to know if that 6 ft. figure on his drivers liscense was consistent for the different renewals. If he had always told the DMV 6-ft., and never changed it (as a person interested in clouding his description might) it is probably the most accurate we have. Plus, Lynch, who was a trained observer and saw him face to face in daylight had him within one inch of this.
To all posters, please let's not quibble over small (1-2% variation) in height and weight. Very few people can accurately guess everyone's height to within less than an inch. Same goes for weight, some carry it better than others. People consistently guess my weight as 10-15 pounds less than actual, thank goodness!

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (128.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.16.128) on Wednesday, August 21, 2002 - 10:34 pm:

The point regarding Allen has nothing to do with how well people estimate weight. A person who carries 240 pounds on a 6'-0" frame isn't going to be taken for anything but "big." If he were 6'5" or better the weight ambiguity might be understandable, but at that height he wouldn't have been mistaken for someone shorter.

By Gregusjay (Gregusjay) (12-234-233-242.client.attbi.com - 12.234.233.242) on Wednesday, August 21, 2002 - 11:19 pm:

What I'd suggest is to re-create the crime.
Have someone roll into the parking lot at Blue Rock Springs around midnight. Put someone in Mageau's position. Have the person playing Z secure a light to a gun that shoots blanks, approach the car with a flashlight,
shoot the gun towards the car then start to leave. Then, have the Mageau character lay on the ground in the same position he was in that night, when the Z character comes back to shoot again.
Then, we line up 6 to 10 people dressed the same way as the person actually playing Z and the Z character himself there. Then we can see if the Mageau character can pick the right person.
I know there are flaws, (the person playing Mike will be more alert and attentive to detail) but maybe we'd get a better idea of what Mike Mageau saw.
Scott, no offense, but you can't play Z because you're too dang tall! =)

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (coral.tci.com - 198.178.8.81) on Thursday, August 22, 2002 - 02:54 am:

"If you don't start bringing a little more care and discipline to your discussion, I AM going to give up on you."

No Peter, it is me who am giving up on you. So I was tired when I wrote my last post and some of the logic was a little fuzzy, big deal. That doesn't give you the right to act like some pretentious, know-it-all a*shole.

I tried to do what Anon. was either unwilling or incapable of doing, and what I got in return was a persistently overbearing attitude. On this thread, Anon has done a poor job of proving anything to anybody beyond a reasonable doubt. Nevertheless, I'm still convinced, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Allen was the Zodiac, and you have done nothing [Get that? Nothing] to instill reasonable doubt in my mind as to his guilt.

To put it another way, if I'm a juror at Allen's trial with absolutely no knowledge of this case, the only thing I can conclude at this point is that both you and Anon are worthless as lawyers. Anon isn't using his/her "presumed" skills to demonstrate squat beyond a reasonable doubt and, likewise, you haven't offered jack to instill reasonable doubt in even the most basic of my beliefs and assertions. You certainly "talk the talk," but to be honest with you, I have serious doubts about your ability to "walk the walk."

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-21-54.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.21.54) on Thursday, August 22, 2002 - 05:45 am:

Well, Scott, how am I supposed to know you were not at your best? Sorry about the attitude.
Don't blame you for being annoyed with Anon and me. I was hoping to see some basis for his beliefs, not just the boasting.

You have a good bit of my theory: Lonely loser who liked to play with matches, so to speak. Found himself in a position to be a minor suspect, known to the surviving victims, and played it up a little.

Hard to see how you can not at least doubt Mageau's reliability. I guess I'm not clear on just what your most basic beliefs ARE with respect to ALA. In another thread, someone asked for top 3 reasons for belief in a particular suspect. I was assuiming, I guess, that Mageau's ID was one of yours. Set me straight here, what are your top pieces of evidence that support your belief?

And I promise not to give you one of my know-it-all answers, which are mainly designed just to get your attention, BTW.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (cache-dr05.proxy.aol.com - 205.188.209.169) on Thursday, August 22, 2002 - 10:55 am:

Okay Peter, fair enough. Besides, me calling you an as*hole is like Dom DeLuise singling out Oprah for being overweight.

"I was hoping to see some basis for [Anon's] beliefs, not just the boasting."

That makes two of us.

"You have a good bit of my theory . . ."

Your theory about Allen is obvious. I want to know your theory as to the identity of the Zodiac and why; in a different thread, of course.

"Hard to see how you can not at least doubt Mageau's reliability."

Because, in my opinion, it's easy to get someone's height and weight wrong, even though they are considered general features. On the other hand, I consider the descriptions "heavy set," "heavy build," and "large face" to be more telling observations for the simple fact that no mathematical assumptions are, or have to be, ascribed to them. These kinds of observations are purely impressionistic, and don't require the eyewitness to compare them to some specific range of measurements that, if prove to be wrong, can easily throw the entire description, not to mention the investigation, in the wrong direction. Also, what reason or motive could he possibly have to undermine the investigation? [Man, that sure is a helluva lot of explanation considering the fact that it is coming from a guy who doesn't put a lot of credence in eyewitness testimony to begin with!]

"I guess I'm not clear on just what your most basic beliefs ARE with respect to ALA . . . Set me straight here, what are your top pieces of evidence that support your belief?"

Dude, I've been posting on this message board for close to one and one half years. Are you telling me that nothing I've said with regard to Allen as the Zodiac has made sense or seems even the slightest bit reasonable? And no, I'm not putting words in your mouth, it's a legitimate question, hence the question mark.

To be honest with you, I've never really thought about what order I'd put the evidence in, other than definitely including the testimonies of specific individuals, all of whom you are obviously familiar with. I have to admit, it is largely due to the sheer amount of circumstantial evidence that, when viewed collectively and combined with the testimonies, has me convinced that Allen was the Zodiac. Also, I can't say that I've honestly heard, seen, or read, any really solid rebuttals against Allen's guilt that can't be explained well within the bounds of reason.

Anyway, I tell you what, we can take the case for and against Allen point by point and in any order you prefer [New thread?], and I'll do my best to play the part of the prosecution if you promise to remain patient with my layman's knowledge. I know, let's start with "opportunity." My assertion is that the prosecution can show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Arthur Leigh Allen had the opportunity to commit all 4 of the known Zodiac crimes. Objections, or shall we move on?

Board: Please offer your input here. And, considering that all of us are familiar with the Zodiac case, doesn't it seem reasonable that individual contributions should either be in favor of the prosecution or the defense but NOT from the pov of a jury member? Seriously, is that fair or not? We have to establish some ground rules or else this thread will continually wobble off course. Ideas? Suggestions? Comments? New thread? Abandon the concept altogether?

Also, Peter, Spencer, or anyone else who's familiar with court room procedure, please offer a sense of direction here in terms of how the sequence of events would play out in a court room because I honestly don't know, and I don't watch "court room dramas" on TV whether real or imagined.

Scott


Ps. "And I promise not to give you one of my know-it-all answers, which are mainly designed just to get your attention, BTW."

Peter, I'm not exactly sure what you mean by that. Would you mind explaining in better detail?

By Kevin (Kevinrm) (ip68-98-108-6.ph.ph.cox.net - 68.98.108.6) on Thursday, August 22, 2002 - 12:48 pm:

Peter,

I used to completely bypass reading all of your posts because I thought, and still do think, the "it's not Z's handwriting on the car door" theory is whacky, so therefore anything else you had to say must be equally so. I also notice that you tend to provoke arguements or discussions just to get a rise out of people. However, in this case, it is my opinion that you have presented the facts well, and you completely out-did Anon despite his questioning your credentials. Anon came in here with credentials, but based everything he knew about the case on Graysmith's book, which we all know will only turn around and bite you in the behind. I actually lost respect for this guy, whoever he is, because he bought Graysmith hook, line, and sinker.

Like I said in an earlier post, whether Allen could or could not be convicted is not important. All I want to know is, "who really did it?" In the Bob Crane case, everyone knows who did it, even though there was no conviciton. This is not like that, at least to me.

Kevin

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ldeu3.dialup.mindspring.com - 209.86.187.195) on Thursday, August 22, 2002 - 01:14 pm:

"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here - this is the War Room!"

You know, when you think about it, this thread has basically nothing to do with working on the Zodiac case and trying to move it forward. It's been an outpost for boasting, flaming, name-calling (of course) and arguing irrelevant points. The fact that it's one of the longest threads on the board speaks volumes! Don't you cats have anything better to do? I don't know if my heart could stand it if you'd focus all this energy in a creative direction. Although I'm glad to have Anon's opinion, it doesn't really bring about any changes pursuant to the case, nor is it likely to.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-21-54.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.21.54) on Thursday, August 22, 2002 - 02:03 pm:

Okay, boys, let's get back to the game.

Scott: First, on Mageau. I am trying to distinguish beteen his description given to investigators shortly after the crime and his ID twenty years later. As to the description, Yup, the three general features you describe fit with ALA. And many others people. A couple of other features, and more specific ones at that, simply don't. That description I think is reasonably reliable because it is contemporaneous. It also matches PH and Hartnell. What is not reliable is the photo ID 20 years later. He never saw what he claimed to recognize: The perp's full face.

On your position: Of course I know your firm conclusions, and I have a hint of your PH theory, but out of all your posts I really can't identify what is the most important basis of your copnclusion. Do you buy Cheney's story? Do you buy Mageau's 1991 ID? Tucker? Spinelli? The bloody knives/Salt Point/treasure Island deal? What really sticks so hard that you can't shake it, that supports your conviction (pun intended) which BTW I see is quite sincere? What onne or two or three things do you find commpelling?

I suggest we abandon the idea of trying to anticipate how the jury trial would go in its legal detail, and focus on what any good lawyer does anyway, ask "What is really going on here? At the heart of it, what is it that I really base my conclusions on, what just has so much credibility that I can't shake it, or what is just too farfetched to be plausible?"

As for my style: Kevin came close: "I also notice that you tend to provoke arguements or discussions just to get a rise out of people". Its not so much to get a rise, if by that you mean some kind of emotional response. Its to get focus, attention, and some rigorous analysis and hard looks at things about this case that are just not as easy to explain as they have been treated. Such as the wild departure from form at LB. Such as the easy assumption that the desktop poem has anything whatever to do with the case.

I once knew four guys who went fishing for cod around here, in an open boat. About 5 miles out the engine died. They drifted for four days, and in that time the best mechanic among them took the engine down and reassembeld it four times, looking for whatever he could. Spark, fuel, carbeuration, compression everything. When they were about hundred miles out and two hundred miles north he took it down once more and inspected everything again. This time he noticed a hairline crack -- I am not making this up -- in the insulation of the main ignition coil wire. The wire inside the rubber insulation had broken and was separated by perhaps hundredths of an inch. He inserted a pin to reconnect it and the engine fired on the first try. Safe ashore in a couple of hours.

I'm such a pain in the butt on purpose, because if there is an answer to this case, or at least to the ALA question, I think its probably something that's been looked at four or five times, but hasn't been noticed. I'm looking for that hairlne crack, and you don't find things like that in general descriptions or general anything. Its in the details. The boring, pedantic, tedious minutia.

Don't take this too literally: the coil wire thing I mean: I'm also one of the wackos that thinks CJB has nothing to do with Z, except for an idle boast in one letter.

As for my theory of Z's identity. I have no idea, and I don't think anyone else has identified him, or them, either.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p50-232.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - 159.134.50.232) on Thursday, August 22, 2002 - 02:12 pm:

Scott,
It was not my intention to throw this "discussion" of course with my comment from
"the pov of a jury member".Whether here or in a courtroom evidence will not only be evaluated on an individual basis but also weighed with and against other testimony.
We have heard Mageau's testimony,but do not know h

By Gregusjay (Gregusjay) (12-234-233-242.client.attbi.com - 12.234.233.242) on Thursday, August 22, 2002 - 07:32 pm:

Seems like Lapumo got cut off...
I think he was going to imply, that we heard Mageau's testimony, but don't know how it would be presented in court? Or how it was procured?
Anywho, I know that it would be imperative to discern the cold hard known "facts" of the case with no implications or rhetoric. Profile and present it as the true known facts of the case, then, profile what is factual about Allen, and then present the true known facts about him.
We'd have to reject anything that is "supposed" or "assumed" (this would be the judge's job). Look at them side by side and see if they fit. The prosecution can argue as to why this is Allen, beyond a reasonable doubt. And the defense can argue why it's not. Then let a fair and impartial jury make it's decision.

By Ed N (Ed_N) (acc183f5.ipt.aol.com - 172.193.131.245) on Thursday, August 22, 2002 - 10:43 pm:

Ray: I counted 168 pages in Part I...

By Anon (Anon) (adsl-209-233-17-213.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 209.233.17.213) on Thursday, August 22, 2002 - 11:02 pm:

Hey people,

Been a while... I'm REALLY sorry I don't have time to type in a case against Allen. Sorry to dissapoint. I'd love to continue reading about the case and am subject to chaning my mind. So far, nothing has. And based on what's in the Allen File here, and accounts from elsewhere, AND retrospective opinions from investigators, I think he'd be convicted. Feels right to me. Of course we'll never know, but you don't need scientific certainty to convict.

I don't get why you think my confidence in the case equates to pompous boasting. If any professional had an opinion based on their reading, I'd be interested to hear it. If a defense attorney (And PeterH isn't a criminal defense attorney, right?) thought the case was weak, I'd love to hear his opinion on that.

Yes, I would be interested even if that person wasn't inclined to take a day or two to write an opening statement. Murder convictions are often obtained on VERY few circumstantial facts if a jury is smart and goes over the facts aggressively.

Go back and read my previous posts, I can't say it any more clearly. Read my first post... Look at this very web site's info on Allen. Or correct the plentiful data on Allen if that's what you want to do.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is an internet discussion board, nothing more. Enjoyable to read opinions, share thoughts, but pleasure and work are two distinct things, and I generally don't look for contentious arguments and being told to 'put up or shut up'.

I offered an opinion, that's all. And a question as to why the autorities didn't play dirty pool with the main suspect, who was a child molester... Not sure why Peter and all are so empassioned defending him in a forum like this, at least to the point of putting pressure on him when he was alive. Oh wel...

Anon

Anon

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (coral.tci.com - 198.178.8.81) on Thursday, August 22, 2002 - 11:54 pm:

"[T]his thread has basically nothing to do with working on the Zodiac case and trying to move it forward."

Oh, that's right. The only way to move this case forward is to solve the 340-character cipher.

"The fact that it's one of the longest threads on the board speaks volumes!"

"Ray: I counted 168 pages in Part I..."

Sorry Peter, even though Tom started this thread, I guess the discussion will have to stop here. Apparently we're doing nothing but wasting our time, other peoples' time, and Tom's bandwidth. Why didn't we see that before? Obviously, any discussions regarding the value of the evidence for and against Allen are a complete waste of time and energy; everyone on the MB already understands all that there is to know about such things.

By Anon (Anon) (adsl-209-233-17-213.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 209.233.17.213) on Saturday, August 24, 2002 - 10:07 am:

Scott,
This underscores the futility of a discussion with Peter IMO. I'm not even sure his mind is made up, he just likes being a PITA. Boy, I didnt' think ALA as primary suspect was that controversial a subject, yet according to Peter, there isn't a SINGLE piece of compelling evidence against him... I'm sure people know the facts better than I, but Peter's defense of ALA smacks of amateur 'defend every point on every basis' whether true or not tactics. Can't grant ANYTHING towards ALA being guilty? Nothing at all?

Plenty of people think ALA is Zodiac. From the record (here and elsewhere) there appears to be a good deal of evidence to this end. Usually discussion here centered around proof beyond a shadow of a doubt... This is where most of the mystery lies: can we prove he wrote the letters and how he did it? Why did he pass the polygraph? Where is the hood and the rest of Stine's shirt?

All I was trying to add was that in a criminal trial, you DON'T need to establish these things. Plenty of mysteries can remain while still proving guilt. And why not play rough with ALA, that remains an unknown that I can't grasp.

I'm not sure what drives Peter to feel a need to naysay and nitpick, I'd still bet its under-stimulation but who knows...

Anon

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-21-54.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.21.54) on Saturday, August 24, 2002 - 12:05 pm:

Anon:

I think you can carry on this discussion and keep your speculation about my psyche to yourself. Naysaying and nitpicking eh? You aren't reading me any better than Scott on his worst day. I have never said anything like ALA is innocent beyond a "shadow of a doubt". Never applied that standard to any of this discussion. Sure there are a few circumstances with respect to ALA. But the best stuff -- Cheney, Mageau, Spinelli -- is at least doubtful, more likely bogus. The stuff that is acceptable as beyond a doubt -- size 10.5 shoes, searches 20 years after the fact, residency in Vallejo, child molestation, Darlene knew someone named Lee -- is completely inconclusive. And a bunch of it, handwriting, certain elements of the physical descriptions, is exculpatory. So why not lean on the guy? Ask Toschi, Armstrong, Bawart, Lynch, Lundblad and Mulanax, but I'm guessing that the guys closest to it saw it my way. Not even a definite maybe.

By Zander Kite (Zk) (dialup-65.58.111.66.dial1.nashville1.level3.net - 65.58.111.66) on Saturday, August 24, 2002 - 02:54 pm:

Anon, your arguments are weak. Anyone can see that those are bogus confessions(2- Cheney and the jailbirds), and the Mageau ID is ridiculous. You keep saying it doesn't matter this..it doesn't matter that..What's your speech gonna be: Handpicked Ladies and Gentleman: It doesn't matter that there are no fingerprint or handwriting matches in this case. It doesn't matter that we have no gun evidence either. It also doesn't matter that Mr. Allen looks nothing like the composite circulated by the police. It also doesn't matter that Mr. Allen is bald while the suspect has been described with crew-cut hair. It also doesn't matter that the suspect was viewed with greasy hair near his eyes. It also doesn't matter that we have no car ID or that we have not recovered any crucial evidence in Mr. Allens possession ,relating to the case, such as Stines shirt or a knife(we do have some of Zodiacs rope!). It doesn't matter because we have... ?? After the bogus confessions and ID, there is nothing. Stine was born on Allens birthday and had the same middle name- Lee. I like coincidences, but how does that make it to court?

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (207.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.16.207) on Saturday, August 24, 2002 - 06:52 pm:

Anon, I'll bow to your superior credentials, but at the same time I'm going to give serious consideration to changing my stance on the death penalty.

By Ed N (Ed_N) (acc2c874.ipt.aol.com - 172.194.200.116) on Saturday, August 24, 2002 - 10:26 pm:

202 pages and counting... let's keep it going...

By Anon (Anon) (adsl-209-233-17-213.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 209.233.17.213) on Sunday, August 25, 2002 - 04:54 am:

Don't change your views on my accounts, Douglas... Just acquit if you are a juror and the state doesn't prove their case to the legal standard the judge defines for you in court. I'm opposed to the death penalty in theory myself, but no one person's view of a specific case would be enough to change my philosophical stance on anything I can think of. Me thinking that ALA is definitely good for this stuff is just that. Can't see why that'd make you question the validity of a jury being able to decide whether or not to be able to carry out capital punishment. I'm opposed when OTHER people are involved. If I'm on the jury, prosecuting, or defending a DP case, I'm ok with it. If the guy is guilty of murder1 with specials, I don't have a problem with him being executed. I just get worried that innocent people could get convicted. If I'm convinced that someone is guilty, I have no problem with death. So paradoxically, I'm ok if personally involved (e.g. as a juror I'd have to be sure they guy did it), not ok with it on a statistical/societal level.

And Zander, I think we aren't as far apart as you think... A 'bogus' confession or two (and I'm not convinced it'd play out that way to a jury) is enough to arrest and investigate while the suspect is in custody.

Once in that posture, things change more often than you'd think. People confess, provide details, or evidence turns up when the suspect isn't around to keep hiding it. At LEAST there is a chace that while in custody, ALA (if Z) wouldn't commit any more crimes. In my book, a sexual predator looses the benefit of the doubt in charging decisions.

Why people look for reasons NOT to have played rough with ALA instead of finding reasons TO hook him up is beyond me... I haven't heard ANYONE say, 'Anon, I agree that the police should have done WAY more to sqeeze ALA. It's a shame they didn't arrest/search/intimdate him more aggressively. But I don't think it would have resulted in anything because I think he was not Z".

No, instead people want to pretend ALA was SO squeeky clean that the police did all they could but couldn't 'pin' anything on him, but just couldn't make a case strong enough to do ANYTHING. Please... If information had been shared adequately, there was PLENTY to go by. You don't need much to arrest, and certainly a confession to an acquantance coupled with ANYTHING (location of defendant, anything) would have more than done it.

Peter, surely you've read interviews of some of the original investiators where they say that if they knew then what is in the record now, they'd have grabbed ALA... Why didn't the CHP arrest Richard Allen Davis when they found a sex offender stranded on the side of the road in the middle of the night after a girl had been abducted by someone matching his general description? Not because a case couldn't be made, but because information wasn't available to the officer in question. Tragedies result from bad information dissemenation. Then when agencies find out they muffed the investigation, they defend their initial action (or non action) to CTA.

I think the autorities just played it wrong and lost a game of cat and mouse. They, like many of you here, were looking for a smoking gun. I believe that ALA had some good, simple, sneaky methods. A more direct, in-custody approach would have yielded better results.

Besides, I think the 'small' stuff (size, naval experience, shoe type, psych profile, including killing animals, location of crimes and familliarty with the areas in question, timeline of ALA in custody and Z crimes/letter stopping, access to cars of similar type to those used, etc etc etc etc (again, Graysmith or this site or ANY site on suspects and ALA) would be more than enough to get a conviction on. I remember getting a conviction (followed by a full confession and details) on a case with one or two 'little' facts (proximity to crime scene, approximate description, partial shoe print match, mud on defendant matching mud at scene). Juries take crimes like this very seriously, and absend some good 'splaining by the defense and barring an air of innocence of the defendant, they'll scrutinize the evidence very carefully, even on the so called 'small stuff'.

Would they convict for sure? No, nothing is for sure in a criminal trial, but on balance, considering the risk to the community on leaving him out of custody, I think someone should have gone for it.

Anon

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-21-54.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.21.54) on Sunday, August 25, 2002 - 09:54 am:

Little stuff? Defendant is placed at the scene is little stuff? that's just what is missing with ALA: if there really had been a bloody knife in his car, if he had worn wing-walkers, if, he did fit the descriptions. Yeah, little things like that could make the difference.

ACtually, no, I haven't read any such interviews. Maybe you could point me to them. I've read everything on this site and Jake's, and don't remember them. And if they knew when, exactly, what they know now? 1991? Graysmiths book was out, Spinnelli, Tucker, Mageau and Cheney all had talked, the searches had been done. Just exactly what important information has developed since 1991 that makes all the difference? Sure, Tom has done a yeoman job of compiling it, but look at the ALA File here, and information available anywhere, including RGs "new" book, and you gotta wonder what the heck they could possibly know now that was not avaialble in 1991, that would make them slap their forehead. I don't see it.

By Nick (Nick) (216.52.215.232) on Thursday, August 29, 2002 - 11:44 am:

Anon, I agree that investigators should have done more to squeeze ALA. Why didn't they simply request that Allen submit to a sodium pentathol interrogation. It seemed to be a common practice at the time. If he refuses, he's probably got something to hide. Investigators then know it's time to really start turning the screws. If he agrees, a skilled interrogator is going to get to the bottom of things regarding his culpability, or lack thereof.

By Richard DeBoest II (Rddesq) (user40.net014.fl.sprint-hsd.net - 207.30.206.40) on Thursday, August 29, 2002 - 02:41 pm:

I don't know if it has been mentioned, if so as a first time poster please forgive me, but has anyone considered/compared the Michael Skakel verdict? The case was virtually all circumstantial evidence, much of it after the fact statements made by Skakel years later. Here are a few quotes from an article on the prosecutions case from the website stamfordadvocate.com

"The bedrock of the prosecution's case against Skakel is statements he allegedly made over the years about his involvement in Moxley's 1975 murder."

"But the prosecution also relied on statements Skakel allegedly made later in life to people in different situations, with no fear of coercion."

"The prosecution's case rests almost entirely on such statements, in large part because there is almost no physical evidence linking Skakel to the crime. No DNA evidence, no blood evidence, no semen -- in Detective Thomas Keegan's words, "zilch."

Also, I too am a lawyer but not a litigator so I do not profess to have any skills or experience in trying cases, particullarly criminal cases.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-19-52.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.19.52) on Thursday, August 29, 2002 - 03:35 pm:

Richard:

Yes: very different. And a lot of direct evidence, too. Prosecution had the murder weapon, matched it to a set in Skakel's house, placed Skakel at the scene, clear motive, consistent reliable and credible admissions to more than one classmate and others, and highly incriminating statements on tape in a 1997 interview. Not all the statements were circumstantial; onlt those made in the interview that only the killer could know. Others were direct admissions.

By Anon (Anon) (adsl-209-233-17-213.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 209.233.17.213) on Tuesday, September 03, 2002 - 06:34 am:

Of course according to Peter, no reasonalbe person could draw an analogy to ALA any any case that resulted in a conviction. Peter, try to be a bit more open-minded, just for the sake of the discussion. Surely there are things that point to guilt. Surely there is a reason he is regarded by almost every Z expert as the prime suspect. And re-read the defintion of circumstantial evidence... A confession (whether inclusive of information only the killer could know or not) is ALWAYS direct evidence. And if a jury found ALA's confessions credible, where would that put you?

And Richard, you are 100% correct. The state has TONS more evidence against ALA then they did against Skakel. Think of the TIME LAG in this case! And speaking of 'bogus' confessions, Skakel has more excuses in the defense lawyer bag of tricks than Peter could dream of: he's a drug addict, he suffers from imagined guilt, as a child, being blamed caused him to falsely beleive he was responsible, etc. But juries see through this stuff.

convictions with small pieces of focused circumstantial evidence, coupled with no defense but criticism of the prosection, usually leads to conviction in real life. Maybe not on internet discussion boards, but court is a bit different than armchair litigator's opinions IMO. Absent an affirmative defense (which Peter or anyone else has yet to provide a shred of), ALA would be slam dunked in court. No question in my mind he'd get convicted.

Put it another way: I wouldn't be AT ALL confident if ALA retained me as his defense attorney, and I'm a better defense lawer than I am a prosecutor.

ALA would be a nightmare client, IMO. And he left a long trail of bad explanations and excuses. Just on the ID, physical proximity, conflicing alibis as to where he was at various times, ownership of firearms of like caliber as used in crimes, numerous observations of him wearning size 10.5 wingtips, proficiency with firearms, psychological profile match, prior crime to ram down his throat if he took the stand (and I guess he would want to), several confessions (I know, some of you don't believe them, but I'd leave that to a jury; I'm sure the Peter types would say the same thing of Skakel type confessions; absent hearing from the witness direcly in court, you can't say they'd be discredited and if there is a chance they'd be belived, end of case), family members observations of cyphers, lack of Z crimes or letters while ALA was in custody, ownership of PIPE BOMBS matching those described by Z... Yeah, I think he'd be locked up or put to death in short order.

Or more likely, he'd see the case being built, find himself in custody and being treated badly, and would try to plea to LWOP to avoid the Death penalty. I'd take him up on it if he gave all the details, other victims, etc.

By Anon (Anon) (adsl-209-233-17-213.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 209.233.17.213) on Tuesday, September 03, 2002 - 06:51 am:

And one more thing... Peter, you are SO eager to discred anything that points to ALA, I'm left wondering why you NEVER grant that a witness may be correct or truthful.

This underscores my contention that you've never tried a criminal case. YEah, in law school, you study how to discredit an ID witness. Lighting, panic, passage of time, etc etc. The same stuff you site to discredit Mangeau. Fine.

But have you ever had to discredit an attempted murder victim's ID from a photo lineup in real life? Do you have ANY IDEA how seriously a jury takes a person's testimony when they point to the Defendant and say, "Yes, that's him RIGHT THERE! I'll never forget that face" with tears choking up their words and scars showing? Do you SERIOUSLY think its that much of a given that you can just discredit that kind of direct, powerful, live, empassioned testimony with law school formalities? If so, you've got a surprise coming to you.

See, people take this stuff seriously. THey aren't likely to suspect a victim of manufacturing memories, or tell him he is a liar, or tell him that he really doesn't remember, despite what he is SURE he remembers. Like it or not, picking someone out of a photo lineup in 20 seconds with no hesitation is NOT somehting a qualified defense lawyer would want to deal with. Especially when you don't have a defendant taking the stand insisting that he WASN'T the one the witness saw, a jury is going to take this testimony VERY seriously...

That and any other quantum of evidence would have you in 'plea bargain' mode. That's what I've seen in actual court anyways, for all its worth.

This is part of my general frustration with this discussion on this board; peole think this is some kind of mathematical process of adding up enough evidence to reach a sum total that yields a conviction. That's not how it works. Emotion and live witnesses play a huge part. Convictions are routinely attained on the testimony of one witness to the crime or a confession. Often these are witnesses who are FAR from squeaky clean; jailhouse informants, co-conspirators, ex-con witnesses, etc.

Especially when a Defendant doesn't take the stand, one witness (even if you think there are formal problems or bias issues) is often more than enough. And ALA would be cooked if he took the stand. Boy, that's a professional fantasy to have a guy like him on the stand :)

Anon

Anon

By Anon (Anon) (adsl-209-233-17-213.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 209.233.17.213) on Tuesday, September 03, 2002 - 06:56 am:

Lets look at this in detail:

Yes: very different. And a lot of direct evidence, too. Prosecution had the murder weapon, matched it to a set in Skakel's house, placed Skakel at the scene, clear motive,

Ok, Peter, you realize that NONE of this is direct evidence at all? All this is circumstantial. Not a single one of these things establishes the defendant's guilt without further inference.

consistent reliable and credible admissions to more than one classmate and others, and highly incriminating statements on tape in a 1997 interview. Not all the statements were circumstantial; onlt those made in the interview that only the killer could know. Others were direct admissions.

What? Direct admissions are direct evidence, other confessions are circumstantial? No... All these statements are direct evidence. You confess, its direct evidence. If believed, the defendant is guilty...

Anon

By Zander Kite (Zk) (dialup-65.57.49.110.dial1.nashville1.level3.net - 65.57.49.110) on Tuesday, September 03, 2002 - 02:40 pm:

Anon: you wrote: "The State has tons of evidence against Allen." Actually, there is no evidence against Allen. If I counted what you count as evidence, then there's a much better case against Kaczynski. Ray has shown a lot of class here by saying he would acquit Allen, even though that's his suspect. And I believe that is the situation here: Even if you are totally convinced that Allen was Zodiac, there is still no evidence to convict him with. Pointing out such items like: same caliber guns? and pipe bombs are meaningless and pale in comparison to Kaczynskis comprehensive bombing effort. Also, I'm not ready to see convictions based on past military experience and 10.5 shoes, the same way I'm not quite ready to lead the Gestapo-lifestyle. Now if the argument here is whether or not a jury of handpicked working stiffs can be assembled and fall under the spell of a greasy lawyer: well, that's a different question. Anything's possible.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (83.philadelphia08rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.30.83) on Tuesday, September 03, 2002 - 04:44 pm:

Now if the argument here is whether or not a jury of handpicked working stiffs can be assembled and fall under the spell of a greasy lawyer: well, that's a different question.

Zander, I believe that is the argument. Although any such greasy lawyer would be wise to remember that in the world-famous Zodiac case you're not going to be trying some confused and ignorant Spanish-speaking migrant laborer whose only counsel would be some court-appointed fellow greaseball.

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) (12.81.120.17) on Tuesday, September 03, 2002 - 06:52 pm:

Lord knows I'm anything but PC, Douglas, but that appelation you just applied to the Mexicans ain't pretty.

Justice in this country is parcelled out according to the same set of rules that govern the healing practice: you get what you can afford. We all know that, don't we? We're all grown-ups here, right?

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (209.philadelphia01rh.16.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.17.209) on Tuesday, September 03, 2002 - 08:29 pm:

Alan, who said anything about Mexicans? I was referring to itinerant laborers, although I suppose that in the U.S. they're liable to be Mexican, especially the Spanish-speaking variety.

Having access to the better variety of legal representation isn't exactly the same as "buying justice," although I can see where it might be interpreted as such. Unfortunately in some cases having poor representation can get an innocent person convicted, just as having excellent representation can get a guilty person exonerated. In most countries throughout the course of history this dilemma has been solved by ensuring that no one gets any legal representation at all.

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) (12.81.120.83) on Tuesday, September 03, 2002 - 09:46 pm:

I was referring to "fellow greaseball", Doug.

God help me, I seem to be reverting to Socialism. Maybe it's the Triumph Of The Euro or something, or maybe it's that it's been 10 years since I took any LSD, I dunno.

Anyway, don't take it too personally. Some people figure me for a Nazi these days, which is patently absurd on the face of it.

By Roger Redding (Roger_Redding) (sdn-ap-008txhousp0440.dialsprint.net - 63.188.201.186) on Tuesday, September 03, 2002 - 10:18 pm:

I think the the perjorative "greaseball" was meant to perjore lawyers, not Mexicans.

Yes it is a word,

Roger

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) (cache-dr05.proxy.aol.com - 205.188.209.169) on Wednesday, September 04, 2002 - 12:27 am:

Actually Douglas, the PD's are some of the best lawyers around. Many have a deep philosopical and social commitment to the best defense possible to their client. This is what I've seen.
The ones that tend to get screwed are the middle class defendants that don't qualify. They always seem to get this red faced alchoholic that could not really give a crap either way.
At any rate this whole thread is ridiculous on its face. The DA does not "convict anyone" as she claims at the beginning of the thread, only the jury does and to presume how the trial would unfold and how the jury would vote is utterly impossible. Pretty silly stuff here.

By Anon (Anon) (adsl-209-233-17-213.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 209.233.17.213) on Wednesday, September 04, 2002 - 04:00 am:

Sylvie, how do you think people make charging decisions? No, trials aren't crap shoots entirely, there are good cases, and there are cases you don't file.

I don't get why nobody went after ALA in court, as I think he's very convictable. Not only as Z, but for the bombs (which would be a felony and get him some serious prison time), for 290 registrant violations (and this would have been an utter slam dunk), and for weapon violations after the search warrants.

Hard to see why this conversation is in the gutter all of a sudden... Is it that alarming to you Zander, Roger, Sylvie, that someone could disagree with you regarding ALA? Notwithstanding your personal characterizations, I hope a professional criminal defense lawyer starts a thread and gives us his opinion also. I'd take this seriously. Sort of a difference between 'who's the Zodiac' versus a 'who can you convict of being the Zodiac' discussion.

But gawd people, lighten up a bit, ok? DA's are normal people motivated by a desire to keep your neighborhoods safe. They are an integral part of law enforcement, all the police in the world are worth little without skilled prosecutors.

And likewise with PD's. Some of the best, most qualified trial lawyers in the world at the PD's office. And neither PD nor DA is in it for the money, trust me :) Both are motivated by a desire to do good. Not sure if the hostility here is an indication of class hostility, disagreement with MY opinion that I could get ALA convicted, or what.

Sylvie, I agree that the Defendants who can't get a PD are usually worse off for it, btw! Even very wealthy Defendants don't often know a qualified lawyer from an inexperienced un-talented private lawyer with a big page in the yellow pages. See this all the time, terrible to see...

But I don't think that letting you all know that a competent Defense lawyer would have a tough time with ALA's case is a waste of time. If you think it is, there's always the 'back' button...

Anon

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (coral.tci.com - 198.178.8.81) on Wednesday, September 04, 2002 - 04:05 am:

Zander wrote, "Actually, there is no evidence against Allen. If I counted what you count as evidence, then there's a much better case against Kaczynski."

That's the most ridiculous statement I've read in a long time. Let me ask you Zander, how many surviving victims of the Zodiac have picked Kaczynski out of a photo lineup? How many associates of TK claim to have heard incriminating statements from him? Any of TK's family members ever see any of the cipher symbols in his possession?

Might I suggest putting the bong away prior to posting?

By Nomad (Nomad) (aca92ae3.ipt.aol.com - 172.169.42.227) on Wednesday, September 04, 2002 - 10:48 am:

If that's the most ridiculous statement you've read in a long time, it must have been awhile since I've posted anything.

After following this thread for what seems like weeks, its relative meaninglessness (is that a word?) just hit me. "I Could Convict Allen Easily" doesn't even specify what the charges are. I probably could have convicted him on parole violations, and I'd have trouble selling water to someone dying of thirst in the middle of a desert. Anyway, as has been mentioned, convictions don't necessarily even imply guilt on the part of the defendant in the first place.

I am reminded of one of Frank Zappa's more humorously blunt song titles: "Don't Be a Lawyer."

By Ed N (Ed_N) (acc1d699.ipt.aol.com - 172.193.214.153) on Wednesday, September 04, 2002 - 12:11 pm:

Now, how often have we seen guilty parties go to jail on unrelated charges because the authorities could not get them any other way, just to get them off the street? A perfect example is Al Capone: they couldn't get him for anything other than tax evasion, and so put him away for a long time. While VPD and the DA should definitely have gone after Allen for obvious parole violations (and dropped the ball, as usual), they didn't. Whether there was enough evidence against Allen as Z or not is irrelevant: if they believed he was Z, they should have nailed him on felony possession of bombs and firearms, then closed their Z file and say that they finally put him away.

One thing that's bothered me for a while is that Anon mentioned that Allen should have been pressured into a confession. That's making the assumption that he's guilty of the crimes; I thought that here in the US, one is assumed to be innocent until proven guilty. Just because someone confesses to a crime doesn't mean they are in fact guilty; I'm sure there are plenty of cases where the "guilty" party confessed only to get the cops off their backs, and others confess to crimes just for the attention.

In fact, I bet that, given enough time, one could pressure any and all of the major suspects (ALA, TK, Kane, Marshall, et. al.) into confessing to the Z crimes, and where would that leave us?

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-21-45.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.21.45) on Wednesday, September 04, 2002 - 01:19 pm:

"One thing that's bothered me for a while is that Anon mentioned that Allen should have been pressured into a confession"

Me, too, Ed. Strong implication in his approach that getting the conviction is more important -- or at least very different from -- convicting the right guy. Paradigm example is the current prosecution in Florida (see CNN.COM) of two different sets of defendants for the same murder on completely inconsistent theories. Both cases brought by the same prosecutor. How's that for a charging decision? He presumably thinks he can prove both cases beyond a reasonable doubt, but obviously can't believe both stories. the CNN commentator points out that the ethical standard for prosecutors is different from that for defense attorneys. A defense attorney must defend regardless of his opinion of innocence. A prosecutor is not supposed to bring a case unless he believes in good faith he has the right defendant. This guy in Florida is relying on the confessions of the two kids in the case against them, and on their testimony against someone else in the other case. One verdict is already in, and being held under seal. Wierd, but not too different from Anon's implicit attitude.

By Nomad (Nomad) (ac8fcab9.ipt.aol.com - 172.143.202.185) on Wednesday, September 04, 2002 - 02:37 pm:

A notable (recent) example of authorities pressuring a suspect into a dubious confession is the infamous "West Memphis Three" case. A classic instance of someone confessing for attention is Albert DeSalvo, the alleged Boston Strangler.

To try to keep this on topic: if Allen wanted some people to think he was the killer (whether he was or not), and he would have been sent to jail anyway for the weapons violations for a long time, perhaps he would have confessed (honestly or otherwise).

By Ed N (Ed_N) (acc3ad25.ipt.aol.com - 172.195.173.37) on Wednesday, September 04, 2002 - 04:51 pm:

Peter wrote:

the CNN commentator points out that the ethical standard for prosecutors is different from that for defense attorneys.

Does that mean that prosecuters don't need to have a sense of ethics??? That certainly seems to be the case more often than not. To wit:

We had a case in nearby Fairfield in the last few years that was open and shut: some teen murdered another teen, but the DA, for reasons known only to himself, despite having evidence and presumably a confession, etc etc, decided not to prosecute the killer, but instead went after another teen who goaded the killer into murdering his victim, yet was not guilty of murder himself (the killer was, as I recall, white, while the other who goaded him was Hispanic). The DA based this miscarriage of justice on some obscure law, and the teen was, not surprisingly, found innocent (what a waste of taxpayer money!). And yet, the actual murderer testified on the stand in front of the judge and jury about how he murdered his victim!!! As far as I know, the actual murderer was never brought up on charges, and the DA never commented on why he did what he did. I think it's pretty obvious that race played a major role in the DA's moronic decision to let the killer go while prosecuting an innocent man, and I believe that was also hinted at by the reporters.

Now, back to Allen: whether he's guilty of the Z crimes or not is irrelevant. Much like the above case, and based on what we know about Allen (were he still alive), I'm not certain that pressuring him into a confession and then prosecuting him is entirely ethical, because it assumes guilt rather than innocence, which is not how our system of justice is supposed to work (if it works any other way, would those in the know please enlighten us???). As we have seen in the last 160+ pages* of opinions, arguments and observations by professionals and amateurs, the case against Allen is hardly open-and-shut, it is entirely circumstantial, and rather large holes can be torn in the case against him. But then, the same goes for every other suspect considered on this message board: there is evidence pro and con for them all, and, ultimately, it's all circumstantial too.

While officially I'm neutral regarding the status of the suspects, Allen has always been my favorite, and I would have loved to see him tried for the Z crimes. However, I'm not certain that I would have approved of ethically questionable means of obtaining a confession to prove his guilt. Rather, he should have been prosecuted for felony possession of bombs and firearms and put away for the last 18 months of his life.

* Since Tom recently reformatted the board using a smaller font, the total number of pages has shrunk by some 27.4%, since obviously more text can fit on a page now. With the previous font size, I'd guess we'd be well over 220 pages by now.

By Zander Kite (Zk) (dialup-65.58.109.103.dial1.nashville1.level3.net - 65.58.109.103) on Wednesday, September 04, 2002 - 06:16 pm:

A good comparison to Allen in The Zodiac case is the lawyer suspect in the New Bedford,Mass. serial murder case. The lawyer knew all the missing girls at the time, and even represented several. The victims were into drugs, he was into drugs. He made enemies easily and even had a bodyguard. Once he reached prime suspect status, then the bigfoot stories started rolling in. He was reported as saying that the girls were killed to make snuff films. He was reported as saying to one witness: "I'll tell you the same thing I told those girls: It's my way or the highway." (The girls were left off the highway). He was reported as being seen with a victim several weeks after she was reported missing. The court comparison here is that they tried real hard to convict him, but couldn't. The guy really had a better(but still weak)case against him than Allen. The author who wrote the book understood serial killer theory though (no, it wasn't written by Robert Graysmith). The lawyer, who was a lifelong New Bedford resident, was an unlikely suspect, just based on the plotting of the abduction and dump sites. The killer was obviously headed north toward the direction of Boston or so, hence the riskier off the highway recovery sites. He was relatively unfamiliar with New Bedford, that was obvious. An unsolved case usually has guys like Arthur Allen, the result of not having identified the real killer. In the Zodiac case, let's just call it the Kaczynski-vacuum, it(helped)produce Arthur Leigh Allen. The same as the New Bedford example I gave. The same as the cab driver in the GRK case. The same as the skitzo wacko in the Gainsville, Florida case. I think his name was Humphries?. Or otherwise, the guy that wasn't Danny Rolling. Speaking of Florida, that state would hold the best possibility of conviction for Allen. All you need there is one bonehead detective to become convinced in Allens guilt, and(real)evidence will ,most likely, "surface".

By Roger Redding (Roger_Redding) (sdn-ap-008txhousp0001.dialsprint.net - 63.188.200.1) on Wednesday, September 04, 2002 - 09:45 pm:

Huh? How did I get in the gutter with Zander and Silvie? I wuz just trying to get between Alan and Doug before they became the Allen & Spinelli (not saying which would be which) of this board. But anyway, I notice one thing that Silvie said that Anon didn't bother to correct...

Hey Silvie - In that brown paper bag that Zander's clutching? There's a 40oz Coors bottle. See if you can get it away from him without waking up the poor soul. Thanks.

Looking at the stars,

Roger

By Roger Redding (Roger_Redding) (sdn-ap-008txhousp0001.dialsprint.net - 63.188.200.1) on Wednesday, September 04, 2002 - 09:54 pm:

And now that I've brought up Spinelli, here's a story about another jailhouse snitch:

"snitches"

Roger

By Ed N (Ed_N) (acc3afd5.ipt.aol.com - 172.195.175.213) on Thursday, September 05, 2002 - 12:05 am:

Roger: it's because you're lucky.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - 12.224.139.118) on Thursday, September 05, 2002 - 12:22 am:

Anon, please e-mail me: tomvoigt@zodiackiller.com

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-20-213.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.20.213) on Thursday, September 05, 2002 - 06:55 am:

Ed: "Does that mean that prosecuters don't need to have a sense of ethics???"

PeterH: No. I wrote, "A defense attorney must defend regardless of his opinion of innocence. A prosecutor is not supposed to bring a case unless he believes in good faith he has the right defendant."

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (cache-ntc-af07.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.26.172) on Thursday, September 05, 2002 - 07:15 am:

Peter, you wrote, "A defense attorney must defend regardless of his opinion of innocence."

Public Defenders? Or defense attorneys in general?

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-19-154.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.19.154) on Thursday, September 05, 2002 - 07:24 am:

Scott: All criminal defense attorneys. A private atty can refuse to take a particular case, but the overall commitment to the practice in the system and to any particular case requires the defense of a client who did the deed. Its the nature of the system. Kind of like the first amendment: its there to protect the speech we despise, at least as much as the speech we agree with. Right to counsel is a right of the guilty as well as the innocent.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (cache-ntc-af07.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.26.172) on Thursday, September 05, 2002 - 07:54 am:

"A private atty can refuse to take a particular case, but the overall commitment to the practice in the system and to any particular case requires the defense of a client who did the deed."

Thanks, Peter, really. I realize that anyone who is charged with a crime has the right to be represented by council, and that an individual is presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, isn't said council still going to look for some explanation for the crime other than his/her client's guilt, at least in many instances, even if he/she knows that their client is guilty?

In my mind, that is just as unethical as a prosecutor pushing for a conviction despite the uncertainty of the defendant's actual guilt: Anon. for example, whom I believe isn't even as sure of Allen's guilt as I am. Am I missing the mark here?

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-21-142.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.21.142) on Thursday, September 05, 2002 - 08:47 am:

Scott:

Yes, the defense looks for legal defenses: diminished capacity, self defense, etc, but is also obligated to provide a factual defense if possible: my guy didn't do it. I know it seems like a contradiction, but without the vigorous defense even of a guilty client, the presumption of innocence means little. It's an adversarial system: the prosecution presents the best possible case on one side, the defense presents the best possible case on the other. that provides the jury with the best possible information on which to decide the facts. The system is what makes the determination of the truth possible. Its not up to either attorney to decide who is guilty: its up to the trier of fact, who is entitled to all of the relevant information.

One good reason for the difference in standards between defense of the guilt and prosecution of the innocent is that the case is initiated by the prosecution. The decision to prosecute is based on the good faith belief in guilt. The "decision" to defend in effect is made by the prosecutor: the charge creates the right to defend: it's not an independent judgment made on the basis of guilt or innocence, but on the necessity to defend against a charge the prosecution has initiated. To hold the defense to another standard -- defend only the innocent -- would be to give the attorneys the judge's job. The system can't work that way. It's not a question of who should go to jail and who should walk: its a question of who gets to decide. And if a jury is going to decide, they have to have both sides before them.
And you know what? Despite the sensational cases we hear about, the system usually gets it right.

By Legal Eagle (Legaleagle) (216-83-250-235.wan.networktel.net - 216.83.250.235) on Thursday, September 05, 2002 - 10:00 am:

I agree heartily with Peter. A system whereby an attorney will take only those cases where innocence is obvious is fatally flawed. Suppose a defendant is indicted and brought to trial on overwhelmingly persuasive evidence. Should we just go ahead and sentence him without the benefit of a vigorous defense? Such systems do exist in many countries of the world. In such systems, the accused is given minimal opportunity to prove his innocence and is laboring under a legal presumption of guilt.In contrast, our sytem places the burden squarely on the shoulders of the state,creating a legal "presumption of innocence." This presumption is not simply a cliche either. It is woven into the fabric of our legal system, from the rules of evidence to the rules of criminal procedure. To simply expedite the process of prosecution and put the burden of proof on the accused rather than his accusers is not a road we want to travel down, trust me. If you remember, a certain European government in the 1930s and 1940s took a similar tack; we all know the results of National Socialism. Just something to consider.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (cache-ntc-af07.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.26.172) on Thursday, September 05, 2002 - 10:20 am:

Peter, thanks once again. Believe me, I'm as American as they come; God, mom, country, duty, honor, apple pie, football, the whole bit. But I honestly feel that if this great nation of ours has but one flaw, however minute, it lies within our judicial system.

Though your last post is eloquently stated and rings with the clarity of truth, and I honestly appreciate your taking the time to put it into such a well-written post, it makes me wonder if you have ever seen "the system" from a defendant's point of view? And I don't mean traffic court either. I have. And it's more brutal than one would think. In fact, not once did I feel like my rights amounted to more than a can of beans, despite the fact that I was innocent of all the charges. Granted, I was also acquitted of all the charges, but for a time there I really fu*king wondered.

It strained my marriage, my job, my financial situation, the relationships I have with family and friends and [regardless of what some may think or infer from the subject], if I'd been found guilty, it would have prohibited me from owning firearms for the rest of my life, which is a hobby and freedom that I enjoy and respect tremendously. Basically, it turned my life inside out for over a year and I wasn't even guilty of the charges against me.

Sure, "the system" ultimately got it right, but never once did I feel like said institution was motivated by my stake or position in the process. From what I could gather, it was nothing but one mother of a moneymaking machine with more scumbags than you could shake a stick at. And not all of the scumbags were defendants either. It made Vegas seem like Oz. Anyway, I just thought it was time for someone to interject the defendant's point of view into the discussion. Personally, it makes me sick that the likes of Allen and OJ can be subjugated to the same system that I was and come out unscathed and unrepentant while someone as cool as me walked away from it jaded and bitter as hell.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (cache-ntc-af07.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.26.172) on Thursday, September 05, 2002 - 10:34 am:

Legal Eagle: Excellent points, and I really do agree with you in principle. In retrospect, I'm not sure how it could have been handled any differently. But believe me, when you experience it from the pov of the defendant, the process can be overtly stark, bleak, and cold. At least, that's how it felt to me.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-20-187.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.20.187) on Thursday, September 05, 2002 - 12:54 pm:

Scott:

Yes, I have seen if from all sides (including the judiciary) and heartily sympathize with your experience. Glad to know of your acquittal. I Can't agree that this is the only flaw in our society, however. "Never once did I feel like said institution was motivated by my stake or position in the process". What intitution is? Every single institution you can name has the equivalent of the treatment you were subjected to. Ever been to a major metropolitan hospital? Ever tried to register a motor vehicle in our nation's capital? Ever had to deal with the tenure system at a major university? Ever interviewed for a job with a genteel, upscale professional firm and have the interviewer proudly show you the all night/all weekend dining room, showers and cot room? Put in a major insurance claim? Granted, waitng in line for some surly clerk to tell you you got in the wrong line or having some senior partner tell you you have no personal life for the next seven years can't hold a candle to being put at jeopardy of life & liberty, but there are parallels. especially in the hospital. The key is that you got your acquittal. Its not a pretty process, but neither is legislation or sausage-making. No one should have to witness either, but are pretty important industries. Hope your recovery from your brush is sucessful.

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) (cache-rp06.proxy.aol.com - 152.163.189.171) on Thursday, September 05, 2002 - 03:06 pm:

Every DA, every PD I've ever met has told me the system of ours is anything but perfect, then add that they think it is most likely the best in the world. I am not so sure. The founding fathers said a "jury of our peers" and one hardly ever gets that. The "peers" back then were all well educated white men, so it was was hardly equal back then either.
After living in France for 10 yrs. I saw another system - that of a professional jury. Despite what Peter says the fact is the US system gets it wrong way too much. All those recently released due to new DNA testing (even some who'd spent years on Death Row) prove this point.
I highly doubt an O.J. would have walked in the French system.
On the last jury I served on, one of the men was straight from the Jerry Springer Show. Frankly, I think we need a new system.

By Ed N (Ed_N) (acc15252.ipt.aol.com - 172.193.82.82) on Thursday, September 05, 2002 - 05:09 pm:

The truly frightening thing is, it actually is the best system there is. Be thankful you live here and not in Afghanistan or some other loser place like that where you have even fewer, if any, rights, than you have now.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (140.philadelphia08rh.16.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.31.140) on Thursday, September 05, 2002 - 06:55 pm:

Read Solzhenitsyn's "The Gulag Archipelago" if you have any doubts--this is the system the French intellectuals admired so very much, before it collapsed of its own rotten weight. The funny thing is, the Soviet "constitution" guaranteed its citizens rights that, on paper, might have been the envy of the West. Without the fundamental precepts of government such as those enshrined in our Constitution (most notably the division of powers and rule of law) those rights weren't worth the paper they were printed on.

We Americans, for the most part, have been content to enjoy the true advantages of an imperfect system, as opposed to the false promises of a perfect one. Between the two, commend me to the former!

By Mike (Oklahoma_Mike) (66.138.8.154) on Thursday, September 05, 2002 - 10:28 pm:

Greetings, fellow patriots! The rights of the individual must have total priority. That does not mean we have to be soft on crime, just be as sure as reasonably possible we have the right man.
When it seems like we are too easy on defendants in our system we nned to recall our system of justice was made by men wholived under a King's rule, when individual rights were iffy at best. To paraphrase Churchill (I think it was him), 'our system is the worst imaginable, it is just that it is better than anything else in the world'.

Anon: Don't think just because some of us have that reasonable doubt about Allen and would not vote to convict that means we are soft on crime or are defending Allen. IF nothing else, Allen as a pedophile predator and my opinion of such people can't get lower. In many ways that crime is more reprehensible to me than murder (some murder victims half-way asked for it, the child victims of sexual predators never do).
For the record, I would have voted to convict in the O.J. and Skakal cases, because the evidence presented was MUCH stronger and more sonsistent than that against Allen or any known Zodiac case.
As to the question why Allen was not arrested on weapons's charges while on parole/probation I posed that question way back in April, 2001.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (coral.tci.com - 198.178.8.81) on Friday, September 06, 2002 - 04:02 am:

"I can't agree that this is the only flaw in our society, however."

I never said it was the only flaw, I said "if there is but one . . ."

"Every single institution you can name has the equivalent of the treatment you were subjected to."

I'm not too sure about that, Peter. I've been treated in hospitals before and am also a college graduate. Neither ever made me feel even remotely as I did when I experienced the judicial system firsthand.

"Hope your recovery from your brush is successful."

Thanks Peter, it has been successful. I'm not nearly as bitter about it as I was the first year or so following the incident.

Sylvie wrote, "I highly doubt an O.J. would have walked in the French system . . ."

I'll agree with that.

"Frankly, I think we need a new system."

Despite my personal ordeal with the system, I can't say I agree with that statement. Some revisions, a little tuning up, sure, okay. But I certainly wouldn't want our system rebuilt from scratch.

Ed N. wrote, "Be thankful you live here and not in Afghanistan or some other loser place like that where you have even fewer, if any, rights, than you have now."

Ed, you don't really think that I'm an ungrateful American do you? I can assure you that I am not. However, that doesn't mean I have to just sit back and accept everything at face value, does it?

Douglas, you wrote, "We Americans, for the most part, have been content to enjoy the true advantages of an imperfect system, as opposed to the false promises of a perfect one."

I'm with you; I'll stick with the former. My point is that "the system" isn't as squeaky-clean or as black and white as you'd think. In fact, in my situation, I often felt as if I was guilty until proven innocent, not the other way around.

Mike, you wrote, "The rights of the individual must have total priority."

I agree 100 percent. Nevertheless, throughout my ordeal, I constantly felt that my rights were taking a backseat to the almighty dollar. In my case, my defense attorney even tried to persuade me to plead guilty to a lesser charge. His thinking was that it would save me time and money in the long run. And believe me, the prosecutor approached me with all sorts of deals. Screw that! I would have never pleaded guilty to a crime I didn't commit. However, that particular line of thinking cost me a helluva lot more money than pleading guilty to a lesser crime would have because I was forced to retain my attorney for a much longer period of time.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback folks. I just wanted to point out that many of the decisions that are made between attorneys and defendants aren't always as beneficial to the defendant as they should be. Btw, I still don't believe that it is ethical for a defense attorney to whitewash a case when he/she knows that their client is guilty. I'm not sure how to reconcile that concept from a moral point of view. Any suggestions?

Scott

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-18-9.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.18.9) on Friday, September 06, 2002 - 07:16 am:

"Frankly, I think we need a new system."
Such as?

"Btw, I still don't believe that it is ethical for a defense attorney to whitewash a case when he/she knows that their client is guilty. I'm not sure how to reconcile that concept from a moral point of view. Any suggestions?"
It would be unethical not to make the best case possible. Tactically, its sometimes necessary to admit certain tings. Part of the Chavis defense, by way of appropos example, is "He's a child molester, sure, but you can't consider that in deciding whether he did this murder". But that's all part of what Scott calls a whitewash. You can't deny an incontrovertible fact and expect the jusry to believe anything else. To admit it and move on builds credibility. The system only works because each side is required to make the strongest case it can. If the prosecution doesn't get the conviction, even if the defendant did it, its because it hasn't met its burden, which is the cornerstone of the sytem: the requirement to overcome the presumption of innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. I can't imagine what could legitimately replace that.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (cache-ntc-af07.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.26.172) on Friday, September 06, 2002 - 09:15 am:

"It would be unethical not to make the best case possible."

Even if, as the defendant's attorney, you're positive the guy/gal that you are representing committed the crime for which they're being tried? That's a tough one for me to chew, to be brutally honest with you.

"Tactically, its sometimes necessary to admit certain tings. Part of the Chavis defense, by way of apropos example, is 'He's a child molester, sure, but you can't consider that in deciding whether he did this murder'. But that's all part of what Scott calls a whitewash."

That is not what I was implying whatsoever. A "whitewash," in my opinion is, to use your example, Peter, when the defense does everything within their power to create reasonable doubt as to their client's culpability while, at the same time, also knowing that their client is 100% guilty. Granted, that is not always the case, and is probably not even the case the majority of the time. Nevertheless, it does happen. OJ is a prime example; you can't tell me that the "Dream Team" -- and I'm not talking about the NBA/Olympic team either -- didn't know that "The Juice" was responsible for Nichole's and Ron's deaths. Therefore, to paint a picture that depicts a false explanation of the events is tantamount to lying in my opinion. In other words, when the defense has to lie in order to create reasonable doubt that is what I refer to as a "whitewash." Otherwise, I have no problem at all with a defense that points out a client's prior offenses to establish credibility with the jury.

IMHO, what it comes down to is which is the lesser of two evils: allowing a piece of dung like OJ to walk free without penance to forever be scorned by society, or putting an innocent man behind bars for a lifetime of, perhaps, prison rape? Personally, I guess you gotta go with the former because the latter would be the greater travesty, but that still doesn't resolve the moral conundrum in my opinion. I'm not sure what it is, but something is being lost in the shuffle.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (cache-ntc-af07.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.26.172) on Friday, September 06, 2002 - 09:23 am:

Btw, Ed, by my count, the second part of this thread is exactly 23 pages long, no more, no less. How are you deriving the 200-page figure?

By Mike (Oklahoma_Mike) (66.138.8.10) on Friday, September 06, 2002 - 10:12 am:

Scott; I'm not an attorney but the way I see a defense lawyer could reconcile defending a client he or she thinks is guilty (and very rarely does a lawyer KNOW the defendant is guilty,though he may have very strong belief as such) is the fact that in every case the state MUST prove it's case. That is, even when everyone thinks the defendant is guilty, the job of the defense is to make sure the case presented by the prosecution is valid. If a prosecution witness is suspected to be lying, for example, even if the guilt looks obvious that should be confronted. IF the state may have lost or fouled up evidence, they should not get to present it without an argument. In other words, the defense lawyer can, and should, try to make sure the defendant is convicted fairly, even if guilty. Once anyone, prosecutor, judge, defense, the public, thinks it is OK to convict on unfair evidence because, 'heck, he's guilty anyway', we are all up that creek without a paddle.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-19-126.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.19.126) on Friday, September 06, 2002 - 10:13 am:

"IMHO, what it comes down to is which is the lesser of two evils".

there are more than two considerations here. take a step back and look at the forest. The systewm gets the right result most of the time, in fact a startlingly high percentage of the time, and is absolutely dependent on two features: the adversarial process and the burden of proof. These require that even a guilty defendant get the best available defense. To make exceptions would destroy the system, which is so good most of the time that it is worth preserving even in light of its occassional and inevitable failures. It would destroy the system because it would make individual attorneys rather than judges and juries responsible for the decision as to who is entitled to a defense and who isn't. that may sound okay in the abstract, but how does an attorney determine with sufficient certainty that you are guilty? How certain does he have to be? Its not as easy as it sounds when you start applying uniform, principled standards to specific cases.

Take your own case. Imagine the attorney you really wanted just didn't believe you. He would have to turn you down. Imagine you absolutely did the act, but had a justification or excuse, such as self defense, or a license to carry, or you really only blew a .01 instead of a .10 or whatever may apply. The attorney has to weigh all those things as if he were a judge to decide whether to defend you. You were treated bad enough without requirng those who would defend you to judge you first. Just wouldn't work. So once in a while an OJ walks, not because F. Lee and Johnny were so brilliant but because Marcia and Chris and Mark screwed up.
Long story short: the overall operation of the system is more important than any one result. If you want your right to defend yourself, you have to give it to OJ, too. there just isn't anywhere else to draw the line.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-19-126.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.19.126) on Friday, September 06, 2002 - 10:14 am:

I meant to say "you have to give it to OJ -- and ALA -- too.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-19-126.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.19.126) on Friday, September 06, 2002 - 10:17 am:

Mike:

I read your post after I posted mine:Very well put. Its a very importatn function of the system to make sure the prosecution does its job.

By Anon (Anon) (adsl-209-233-17-213.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 209.233.17.213) on Friday, September 06, 2002 - 10:32 am:

Scott,

Man, sorry to hear about your ordeal with the system. No fun.

I wouldn't defend someone who I was 100% sure was guilty of the charged crime. I feel like its a misuse of my skills. There are definitely two types of defense attorneys: rabbid 'fight every issue for acquittal' types, and 'get a fair resolution for your client' types. Up to the indvidual to decide what they are comfortable with.

I personally think that if someone is dead-to-rights guilty of murder, clouding the waters isn't an ethical way to defend. Fine try to persuade towards murder 2 instead of 1, but to come up with bogus 'she was the victim of her drug-dealing friend's enemies' type stuff is over the line IMO.

And everyone please stop with the assumption that DA's and cops are working so hard to convict the innocent! Don't you think there is enough real work to be done without trying to try people who didn't do anything?! I mentioned in EVERY SINGLE POST on the subject that you'd only squeeze a confession out of ALA to get details which would verify his guilt. I don't see how its unethical to charge other cases in the case of ALA based partially on his guilt of Z crimes. Al Capone is a great example that's already been mentioned.

Look, the guy is a CHILD MOLLESTER who would gain his victim's trust, oil up young boy's thighs and then put his erect member between them and thrust in and out. Do you really think that someone like this deserves a hesitant, 'if we can't get him on Z, we shouldn't charge him for these bombs' attitude?! I'm glad people with a higher degree of moral accountability are usually in charge of making such decisions. IMO not aggressively prosecuting known animals who would do something like that IS tantamount to being soft on crime.

ALA was a disturbed man on many levels. He fits the profile, raped children, disected animals, lived in the area of the crimes, had BOMBS in his basement... I just don't see how wanting to go after him in court makes me the fascist some of you are trying to make me out to be.

Thank GOD my experience in court has shown me that juries are usually reasonable. Based on what I'm reading in here, I wouldn't be too confident in our system either. I'm at a total loss as to what motivates this passionate defense of ALA. Save it for someone who is 1)innocent and 2)deserves passionate defense.

Anon

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-19-126.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.19.126) on Friday, September 06, 2002 - 12:47 pm:

Oh, OK. That certainly simplifies things. I can see the sign over the PD's office: "No Guilty Defendants Need Apply. Report to DA's office for screening. Once innocence is established, be prepared also to demonstrate why you deserve a defense. Note to PD Staff: due to 90% reduction in case load, downsizing and career counseling available. County Corrections Security Personnel Qualification Exam applications available here."

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) (cache-mtc-ak04.proxy.aol.com - 64.12.96.201) on Friday, September 06, 2002 - 04:13 pm:

Anon
I don't think anyone is saying what a swell guy Allen was, simply that there is more than enough reasonable doubt.
It has seemed several times as though you are saying "well, who cares whether he actually killed Paul Stine or not, he was a major sleezeball anyway."
Doesn't work that way.
As you know they never even arrived at probable cause.
And I've said it before but I'll say it again, if there was any chance at all for any kind of conviction against Allen some lawyer would have sued in a civil court, where the burden is much lower. Yet hmmmm... noone ever did.

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) (cache-mtc-ak04.proxy.aol.com - 64.12.96.201) on Friday, September 06, 2002 - 04:34 pm:

Scott,
I am very sorry for your bad experience, however usually it is the victim that gets treated miserably. Anyone remember Jennifer Levin?

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (241.philadelphia08rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.30.241) on Friday, September 06, 2002 - 06:02 pm:

Bottom line is that crime is a pretty ugly thing, all around, especially when it gets to the point where the judicial system is involved. I really wish someone could figure out a means whereby a victim could end up restored to his pristine innocence, but you know that will never be, and so do I. Any political faction that tries to tell you otherwise is only using you.

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) (12.81.121.227) on Friday, September 06, 2002 - 06:30 pm:

Be advised that our judicial system is not what it was a year ago. We now have an extra-judicial system. I'm certain that Ashcroft's Ministry Of Homeland Security could convict any one of us, assuming we were ever brought to trial.

That little piece of driftwood cast into the tide, I'll shut up and let the rah-rah crowd keep on with the adulation and accolades.

Ever heard of Scandinavia?

By Ed N (Ed_N) (acc232ce.ipt.aol.com - 172.194.50.206) on Friday, September 06, 2002 - 09:33 pm:

Scott wrote:

Ed N. wrote, "Be thankful you live here and not in Afghanistan or some other loser place like that where you have even fewer, if any, rights, than you have now."

Ed, you don't really think that I'm an ungrateful American do you? I can assure you that I am not. However, that doesn't mean I have to just sit back and accept everything at face value, does it?


Scott: Absolutely not!!! That statement was not directed at you; I'm sorry, I should have prefaced it with the name of the person I directed it to: Sylvie (in the post just prior to mine in which I made that statement), when she said, "Frankly, I think we need a new system."

As far as the page count goes, there were well over 200 pages before Tom reformatted the board with a smaller font type. I couldn't figure out at first why my more recent count differed from the earlier one until I realized that.

By Anon (Anon) (adsl-209-233-17-213.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - 209.233.17.213) on Friday, September 06, 2002 - 09:37 pm:

Peter, again you can't let a single comment go. GOtta take yourself REALLY SERIOUSLY. What a PITA you'd be to live with... Man, you couldn't possibly be married with an attidute like this, who would tolerate living with someone who is SOOOO argumentative and insecure:)? Do you often get people telling you to stop trying to correct everything? That you are a bit overly argumentative and contrary? That insecurity might be at the root? Ahhh, I shoulda been a psychiatrist instead of a lawyer...

Read my post again and try to understand something someone is saying before you try to show how smart you are, ok? That or contribute something positive yourself. Of course I should instruct you to continue being an argumentative chump, since that's invariably what you'll end up doing...

How do you come up with the notion that I said nobody should defend guilty people? Can you (just for fun) agree with something and be positive for ONE POST? Come on, give it a try! Just onece! Gawd you are one under stimulated guy. Join a sports team, hit the boxing ring, join a debate club, I don't know what to tell you.

Sheesh

Anon

By Mike (Oklahoma_Mike) (66.138.8.185) on Saturday, September 07, 2002 - 08:56 am:

It seems from the posts of the past week that those of us who have stated reasonable doubt as to ALA suddenly find ourselves feeling defensive, wanting to justify that we are not 'soft on crime' or nikpickers 'who challenge every little point' or who 'woundn't convict anyone for anything'.
These questions to my, and my fellow doubters' moral corectness are just getting further afield from the real issue: is there enough valid evidence (circumstantial and other) to bring charges against anybody for the Zodiac crimes?
In spite of all the finger pointing, moral pronouncements and ad hominem attacks on these threads the answer remains, "No, there never has been aduequate evidence for charges and no charges were ever brought". That's the cold, hard facts.
Call me a liberal (guilty) call me soft on crime(not guilty), belittle my moral fiber(how dare you!) and call me an Okie(guilty and proud!).
After all this the facts remain the same, there is no prosecutable Z case.
Sorry, Tom, I felt the need to get some indignation off my chest. I won't get off thread here again!
p.s., not wanting to argue over this, but I'll be gone for a few days so if I get responses I'm not ignoring them. Back next mid-week.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (spider-ntc-tc043.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.17.38) on Saturday, September 07, 2002 - 10:15 am:

Anon.,

Personally, I didn't appreciate your last post targeting Peter. This message board already has one a*shole -- me -- and there just ain't room for the both of us. Peter is definitely one of the brightest people posting on this board and I, for one, value his presence. He's also very approachable and quite willing to share his wealth of knowledge with those who ask. I'm not saying he's always right, but he'll never give you an opinion "off the cuff" without having thought it through with extreme diligence. That's enough for me to admire the guy. On the other hand, nobody knows a nickel about you. I'm not saying you have nothing to offer, but please save the personal attacks for me, okay? And, for those of you wondering why I'm adding so much grease, let's just say I owe him one. Fair enough?

By the way, I'm completely inline with yours and Mike's thinking as to why Allen wasn't arrested and charged on the weapons violations. That continues to be a mystery that I've yet to comprehend. There can't possibly be a motive for letting him wander free because they were hoping or expecting to nail him as the Zodiac, right? I mean, in my mind it stands to reason that they'd go ahead and nail him for the weapons charges and then see what else they could find. Also, if I'm not mistaken, it was only Allen's residence at 32 Fresno that was searched in 1991. You'd think that somebody would have learned from Toschi and Armstrong's dilemma 20 years prior. But no, I guess that's simply too much to ask.

Peter,

I still don't understand how an attorney can personally reconcile within their soul the moral nature of representing a client that he/she knows, beyond a reasonable doubt, is guilty of the charges against them. IMO, that is most certainly a moral issue decided within the realm of attorney/client privilege. That F. Lee Bailey, Johnny Cochran, and co. could paint a picture contrary to the truth and justify it by saying, 'It's not our fault he went free, the burden was on the state and the state failed' suggests to me that therein lies the problem: an attorney's willingness to avert, hide, complicate, avoid, disregard, and "white wash" the truth. People ask, well, what's better than the system we have? I don't know, perhaps the system that our military uses? I can virtually promise you that if my exact same incursion with the law had taken place while I was wearing a uniform, it would have been set straight in short order, with a higher percentage of accuracy, in much less time, and with less expense all around.

Just because we do have the best judicial system in the world doesn't mean that it doesn't need updating from time to time. In fact, the law is a work in progress when you really think about it. There are tons of precedent-setting cases that "alter" the opinions of the court on a continual basis. Now, it is argued that a defense attorney does not have to accept a particular case, but that is only if they are a private attorney; PD's are essentially forced to represent whatever pile of scum that comes their way until they can move somewhere else within the system [I'm guessing here that very few young lawyers have their sights set on the PD's office as a lifetime achievement]. The point I'm trying to make here is that, well, "whitewashing" is an immoral act, and some sense of corrective measure is necessary to prevent it from happening within the confines of the judiciary system.

Another way of looking at it: If you and Anon. are polar opposites, black and white, the Yin and Yang of the lawyer world, I'm glad to be living much closer to the equator. I simply can't ascribe myself to either notion of "turning a screw" or "turning a blind eye." In my opinion, "the system" needs to be a perfect 50/50 balance of each. Either extreme leads to chaos because both pretend to be perfect: whether the perfect black or the whitest of whites. I'd rather be exactly in-between: the perfect shade of gray.

Some thoughts.

By Gregusjay (Gregusjay) (12-234-233-242.client.attbi.com - 12.234.233.242) on Saturday, September 07, 2002 - 01:49 pm:

Scott..,
Nice post.
I think any judicial system is going to be open to scrutiny as being either too soft or not hard enough on crime.
Herein lies the big question..
How do we serve justice and preserve our individual rights at the same time??
Even scum like Allen are entitled to a fair trial and a proper defense. A defense attorney doesn't have to think of himself as being immoral by representing murderers, criminals and other scum. The rights and freedoms of people in this country are very precious and defense attorneys are a big part of the system to protect those rights.
One thing that worries me about Anon, is that
he's so willing to bring someone to trial and just basically say "oops, sorry.." if there is no conviction.
I would think there would be at least a fear of a Malicious Prosecution lawsuit from Allen's surviving family or at least some taint on his "tons of circumstantial evidence" record.
Cheers!

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) (cache-rp06.proxy.aol.com - 152.163.189.171) on Saturday, September 07, 2002 - 03:54 pm:

Peter,
I thought I did suggest an alternative, that of a professional jury. (Would you want a medical diagnosis by an untrained dozen of your peers?)I think the system tries to lean that way now by giving judges conviction overthrow power, thereby making jury decisions somewhat of a joke. But this clearly is not the solution as it tends to make many a judge think he is some kind of dictator, way above the law.
But if you had a well educated, balanced group of citizens that have excellent training, then I feel the truth would be more important than a dogfight between the DA and the PD. As it is now the main goal is victory, not whether the truth has come out or justice has has been served.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (spider-ntc-td072.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.17.182) on Monday, September 09, 2002 - 08:34 am:

Gregusjay wrote, "How do we serve justice and preserve our individual rights at the same time??"

Obviously, that is the million-dollar question, and I'm not sure what the answer is. Would I trade our system for any other on the planet? No. All I know is that an individual's right to a fair trial shouldn't equate to a defense's right to cloud, muddy, or just plain lie about their client's culpability.

Sylvie wrote, "the main goal is victory, not whether the truth has come out or justice has been served."

That's an excellent way of putting it, Sylvie, and I happen to agree with that assessment.

By Linda (Linda) (208-59-124-226.s226.tnt1.frdr.md.dialup.rcn.com - 208.59.124.226) on Monday, September 09, 2002 - 03:36 pm:

"All I know is that an individual's right to a fair trial shouldn't equate to a defense's right to cloud, muddy, or just plain lie
about their client's culpability.

Sylvie wrote, "the main goal is victory, not whether the truth has come out or justice has been served."

That's an excellent way of putting it, Sylvie, and I happen to agree with that assessment."


Scott and Sylvie...I couldn't agree with you more...

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-21-71.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.21.71) on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 - 05:27 am:

Scott.

Scott: NTS I appreciate the post, and the feeling is mutual. SHort answer to the moral dilemma: the success of the system, on balance, is more important than the outcome of isolated cases.

As for Anon: methinks the lady doth protest too much.

In a hurry now, but more later.

By Chrissy Shaw (Chrissy_Shaw) (dialup-67.26.81.243.dial1.seattle1.level3.net - 67.26.81.243) on Tuesday, October 15, 2002 - 12:19 pm:

I assume one would seek the death penalty in this hypothetical situation? If so, then I would hope that an attempt at some form of plea would be done. ALA seemed to have worked hard to make a muddy pond of his own. Perhaps such a agreement, and his time inside, would help to shed light on the truth, at worst we would have a child molester safely behind walls.

As far as balance goes, well if you mean balance at the death penalty level I would ask you only this: Would you(or your child) be willing to be the one innocent person we execute, keeping in mind we are after balance? Release from custody works, but after the gas chamber or gurney there is no polite way of saying, "Oops...we were wrong." I think the balance must be born at the level of the individual case and from there the scales of justice will balance themselves.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acbf2fb1.ipt.aol.com - 172.191.47.177) on Tuesday, October 22, 2002 - 11:02 pm:

Now that Allen's DNA doesn't match Z's partial profile, I wonder how easily Anon could convict him in a court of law?

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (167.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - 12.90.16.167) on Wednesday, October 23, 2002 - 03:39 am:

I thought he had already been tried, convicted and executed.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-19-196.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.19.196) on Wednesday, October 23, 2002 - 08:08 am:

Got a call from the Governor just before Scott threw the switch. Wonder if we ever hear from Anon again.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (cache-ntc-af07.proxy.aol.com - 198.81.26.172) on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 07:32 pm:

I may get an opportunity to throw the switch yet.

"Flick the switch! Flick the switch!"

Young, Young, and Johnson. 1983.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-21-66.bos.east.verizon.net - 141.154.21.66) on Friday, October 25, 2002 - 04:21 am:

Ah, youth! Hope springs eternal.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acc0b14f.ipt.aol.com - 172.192.177.79) on Sunday, November 24, 2002 - 12:51 pm:

Here's an interesting story from the Napa Register (Napanews.com) that fits this thread:

Convicted killer exonerated
Saturday, November 23, 2002

From The Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- For a guy who claimed to be innocent, Jeffrey Scott Hornoff behaved an awful lot like a guilty man.

In the days, weeks and years after Victoria Cushman was bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher in 1989, Hornoff changed his story several times. Under police questioning, he whimpered, held his head in his hands and stared morosely at the floor.

Now, more than six years into a life sentence for murder, it turns out his only offense was adultery -- and lying about it to police. The former Warwick police detective's attempts to hide the infidelity were apparently what got him convicted.

None of that, however, became clear until this month, when Todd J. Barry, a 45-year-old carpenter who was never even a suspect, came forward and confessed to the murder. Investigators said he acted out of guilt. They gave no motive for the slaying but said Barry and the victim had dated.

"It's an utter stroke of luck," said Rob Warden, director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at the Northwestern University School of Law.

"We probably don't have more than a dozen examples nationally of cases in which a voluntary confession has led to an exoneration."

Two days after Barry was charged with murder, a judge set Hornoff free.

"Scott Hornoff had small secrets that he wanted to protect," said Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse. "Protecting those small secrets made him look like he was protecting the big secret that he had murdered Victoria Cushman."

Hornoff, a 40-year-old father of three, has declined all interview requests until his case has been dismissed, which could happen Dec. 6.

Hornoff and Cushman met in 1989 while she was working at a sporting goods store where Hornoff, a member of the Warwick police dive team, bought his scuba gear. He was married, with a baby. He and Cushman began sleeping together that summer.

Cushman, 29, told co-workers she thought Hornoff would leave his wife for her. Later that summer, Hornoff apparently told Cushman he was breaking it off with her. A co-worker of Cushman's testified that Cushman was surprised and angry.

Two days later, Cushman failed to show up for a work, and she was found bludgeoned to death in her apartment. The weapon, a 17-pound fire extinguisher, was found nearby. Detectives also found a letter she had written to Hornoff in which she refused to break off their affair and insisted he leave his wife.

Lacking any blood, fingerprints or other forensic evidence linking Hornoff to the crime, prosecutors seized on the letter.

There was also Hornoff's behavior. In the hours after Cushman's body was discovered, he gave conflicting accounts of his relationship with Cushman, even denying at one point that he knew her. His alibi differed from what his wife and brother told investigators.

"The criminal justice system is simply unforgiving when people do things that are quite natural," Warden said. "When somebody asks if you're having an affair, it's quite natural to lie. Then you're a liar. When you start telling the truth, you're changing your story. That's two strikes as far as a jury's concerned."

The Warwick Police Department's handling of the case probably didn't help. In their zeal to protect Hornoff, his fellow officers may have made him look more guilty, Whitehouse said. Evidence was lost or misplaced. Police also gave him a polygraph and said he passed; investigators later said the test violated every rule for conducting such procedures.

The state police eventually took over the case, and in 1994, more than five years after the slaying, Hornoff was charged with murder.

"By then it was almost like common knowledge that Scott had killed the girl," said City Councilman Carlo Pisaturo Jr., who pushed for an independent investigation of the department's handling of the case. "All indications were that he was guilty and that the cops had covered for him."

Warwick Police Chief Wesley Blanchard and another high-ranking officer resigned amid allegations they aided in a cover-up.

At trial, prosecutors argued that Hornoff killed Cushman to keep his wife, Rhonda, from learning about the affair. They said he left a party that night, went to Cushman's apartment to kill her, then returned to the party. Partygoers testified that Hornoff seemed dazed and out of breath.

His attorney, Joel S. Chase, argued that Cushman was killed by a burglar she had startled.

The state's highest court would later uphold his conviction.

Hornoff and his wife were divorced a few years ago but remain close.

At his sentencing, Hornoff professed his innocence.

"Am I guilty of something?" he said. "Yes, I am. I broke my sacred wedding vows and for that I will never forgive myself."

Of course, this applies not only to Allen, but to every other suspect discussed on this board. Like Hornoff, Allen sure seems guilty of being Z, and the evidence seems to indicate that. However, the truth might be radically different from reality... would Anon be able to sleep at night if he easily convicted Allen and it turned out to be a scenario not unlike that of Hornoff and Cushman?

By Warren (Warren) (w205.z064002105.hou-tx.dsl.cnc.net - 64.2.105.205) on Sunday, November 24, 2002 - 01:07 pm:

An excellent story. It reminds me of what one of contemporary Jack the Ripper investigators said - "One day when we are in front of the pearly gates and God tells us the name of the killer, we are going to look at each other and say, 'Who?'"

By Len (Len) (gw1.edeltacom.com - 216.248.176.30) on Monday, November 25, 2002 - 06:35 am:

Ed--

A great example of why it's good to tread lightly in such matters. My wife is currently reading up on the Dreyfus Affair, and it's a scary thing. Once you take someone's life away (either through lockup or execution) there's no way to give it back.