The Jury is Dismissed – Update: Friday, 11:00pm
Just when you thought you had it all figured out. Normally we start the day knowing what we’ll post, but yesterday’s turn of events has scrambled our coverage plans as well as the trial itself. One thing that has not changed, tomorrow we’ll drop a final, major unreleased document in the case.
With the trial kicking off Monday and opening statements scheduled to start at 9:30am, Judge Lynn Leibovitz noted her new special role in the proceedings, and told the attorneys that, “I am well aware that opening statements are not admitted as evidence.” A knowing laugh of hers followed.
The unexpected pivot by the defense appears bold. Six months ago they argued to prevent Leibovitz from getting anywhere near this case, now they can’t get any closer to her as twelve people now will not be sitting in between.
One thing is certain in the trial’s outcome now, no hung jury. There will be a verdict.
What’s left to write after a day like yesterday? With a series of rolling thoughts, we’ll try after the jump.
Show of hands, whose Spidey-sense is tingling?
Is a deal in the works?
Was an anti-gay jury bias inevitable? The defense appeared ready to portray the case as a homophobic prosecution run amok. Was that going to be a tough card to play?
Was this a financial decision? Did one of the funders shut off the spigot?
Is the defense trying to shift blame to unmentioned media as being the villains in this case?
Whether the defense feels it’s coming from a position of strength or weakness, why would prosecutors raise no objection?
Road Warrior: The newest member of the wmrw team checks in from the road. Intern Sean’s inital thoughts:
1. Defense must really, really be worried jurors will be homophobes or otherwise biased against the lifestyle
2. Defense must really be confident that they have a strong case on the particulars of the evidence and either don’t want jury confusion or…
3. Just want to get it done quickly (either because they think they have a strong case and will get acquittal and want it finished up or because they have a weak case and just want to get this whole thing over with).
More to come as the day we of wears on…
Trial Balloon:Regarding the discussion of the case’s media coverage that cropped up during Tuesday’s pre-trial hearing, was the defense floating a trial balloon? It sure really didn’t fly at Wednesday’s hearing.
And did everyone jumped the gun and wrongly assumed that Bernie Grimm’s criticism of a certain blog being “vicious,” was directed at this one. Yes, sharp elbows have been thrown in the comments section over the last 18 months, but I’ll welcome a side-by-side comparison of the commenters here vs. other sites any day, in particular those on Gawker, The Post, and ATL. We’ve long welcomed their coverage and interest in the case and I’ll leave the media criticism to Grimm.
Our comments section remains unmoderated and except for the most offensive of posts, it’s been the very rare occasion any have come down. Yet I flagged this comment for moderation when I saw it this morning on the WRC-TV website. Maybe they’ve taken it down by now.
“Thursday_Next: They should be honored, not placed on trial. They did the world a favor by getting rid of a shyster.”
Missing Motions: The defense seems to have filed a motion in limine to limit, or exclude, almost every aspect of the prosecution’s case, notably statements, lack of blood, restraints, experimental evidence, EMT’s observations, burglary, sexual histories and sexual orientation. Yet, they never filed two motions in limine on crucial aspects — the missing knife and the delayed reporting.
Why didn’t the defense move to exclude evidence about these two key areas? I would think they would want any information about a missing knife from Dylan Ward’s bedroom be excluded from trial. I would also think they would want to prevent any discussion that there was delayed reporting because it gets right to the heart of the prosecution’s obstruction case.
I don’t know which way is up or down today.
Family is Family: Events are moving fast. Emotions are running hot. Clarity is sorely needed…as is a little cooling.
This website has unintentionally created something of a community. Those who come here begin to recognize each other; recognize individual thoughts, ideas, theories, processes and vulnerabilities. Speaking only for myself, I’ve been heartened and bolstered at moments by your loyalty, time, and efforts. It’s almost a little like…family.
And, like a family, it can be unintentionally cruel.
I won’t wag my finger in yet another “online civility” plea. We’re all adults, and all who come here can conduct themselves as they choose.
But as one of the four who house this community, I ask all of us to make an extra step and effort to consider that, like a family, we are different people with different ideas and opinions. No one needs to agree with anything; I am simply asking that we respect each other because of the deeper ties that keep us together.
Charlie Foxtrot X-Ray: This is from a friend of wmrw, an insider, very helpful early on, who showed us an x-ray of the investigation. OK, a blurry x-ray.
“Juries are a risk, particularly given the weird facts and setup of this case.
Judge Leibovitz is a known quantity, generally pro-prosecution but fair and can cut through some of the red herring issues. I could see going bench in this case because it’s too hard to predict what 12 might think. A hung jury was a real possibility here.”
D.I.Y: There were a number of posts we were hoping to get up before trial. We might run out of time.
One in particular was to look at the scale model of 1509 Swann Street that the government was expected to use in front of the jury. No reason to think that they won’t use it to visually depict the physical layout of the house with Judge Leibovitz. The model may aide the defense as well.
Using the Washington Post graphic that accompanied the Paul Duggan June 2008 series on the murder, it’s easy to get a grasp on the dimensions and distances in and outside of the house. Note: We’re uncertain if the WaPo graphic is drawn to scale.
Based on rough measurements, 1509 Swann Street, NW is a 17 foot wide townhouse. From the front door to the back patio door, where according to the defendants, the intruder entered, the distance is about 50 feet. It’s approximately 20 feet from the patio door to the wooden fence the intruder supposedly climbed over to gain access to the property. It’s another 20 feet, more or less, to the lot line on the alley.
This is now a do-it-yourself project. The breakfast bar is pictured, where we were led to believe Price and Ward chatted with Robert. Price said he saw an insect on a patio light. That distance may have been as much as 15 feet. He said he peered through a glass door, and possible reflections from the interior lighting, into the patio area. He then went out, according to his statement to look at the “big bug.”
Ward claimed he descended the staircase from the second floor to the first, and saw the patio door latch in the unlocked position. That distance could be 20 feet as well. Take a look for yourself, do the math and draw your own conclusions.
Marxist: A friend reminded me of a great Groucho line today:
“I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.”