Plus – A Surprise Witness Tuesday
The afternoon picked up with continuation of Detective Waid’s testimony on cross by Price defense counsel Bernie Grimm. Argument proceeded from this morning, with defense trying to establish length of time the defendants were at Violent Crimes Branch, the circumstances of their questioning, and whether they were free to leave; Grimm quickly rested.
On follow-up by Judge Leibovitz, Waid confessed surprise that Price would request to meet in the parking lot; prosecution made the case that Price (and Zaborsky) willingly requested to meet and speak again inside VCB, with defense trying – again – to raise doubt about Price’s willingness to speak.
Spagnoletti on cross of Waid worked to establish standard homicide operating procedure, trying to demonstrate the fuzzy area the defendants were in between voluntarily cooperating and being officially charged. For purposes of the statements motion, this clearly seems the defense’s focal argument.
More – plus a promised surprise tomorrow – after the jump.
Det. Bryan Kasul was next, and his 20 years on the MPD – 15 years as detective and 10 in homicide – showed. Of all the day’s witnesses, Kasul appeared not only the most prepared, but the most skilled at how to answer questions from counsel (meaning: saying as little as possible.) Cross from Grimm and Spagnoletti followed, with re-direct from Rachel Leiber Carlson in fairly short order.
A side note: as the day wore on, Judge Leibovitz began demonstrating less indulgence of counsel – notably defense. Despite repeated pleas to not ask for testimony for “…stuff I can read,” counsel continued to push witnesses on matters of timeline of VCB interviews. Several calls to the bench, a refusal from defense to approach, and a look of impatience from the bench followed.
The day in sum: defense keys to winning this motion are the times the videotapes began to roll, and the “parking lot” conversation with Waid. The videotape because they hope it will establish at some point the defendants became ‘suspects’ in the MPD’s eyes, without ever being charged or read their rights. And the “parking lot” conversation because if Joe indeed requested legal counsel and then Waid pursued further discussions, that would very likely represent a violation of Price’s 6th Amendment rights (and perhaps 5th to a degree.) After all, once someone tells the police they want an attorney, all questioning should immediately cease until that attorney is present. That said, a defendant is always able to over-ride that and make voluntary statements at their call.
The promised surprise: defense will call one witness tomorrow on this motion. Dylan Ward.
Book-keeping: Leibovitz hopes to finish statements in this motion in the morning, move to motions in limine (now refined slightly) from defense to exclude burglary and EMT statements, and address matters of jury selection. Deedrick and Spauling will get pushed to Friday – assuming the government takes Leibovitz’ strong suggestion to provide as much in writing beforehand in preparation.
Oh, and then there’s redactions.
–posted by Doug, Michael, and Sean Hou