Are attorneys Greg Scholl and Dean Smith doing a good job defending Jeremy Christian so far? I did not feel the need to ask this question until yesterday. Yesterday I made an unplanned trip to the Jeremy Christian trial for the purpose of getting an answer out of the news media as to why they did not upload the cross examination of Demetria Hester. I arrived during the lunch break and struck up a conversation with Hannah Ray Lambert from KOIN TV. She said she was in the courtroom for Hester's testimony the previous Friday, but did not recall any notable cross examination from the defense regarding Hester's criminal record. I then handed her an envelope showing the results of a background check I did (see previous post at https://copblaster.com/blast/3379/demetria-hester-has-faced-assault-and-prostitution-charges). The background check revealed that Hester has a lengthy criminal record including felony convictions for assault, forgery, and theft. Hannah was surprised by this and said that it looked like I did more homework than Jeremy's defense team. I asked what she thought and she suggested the possibility that they gave her a pass because she is a victim. I then approached Scholl and Smith on their way back to court, introduced myself, and asked them if they were aware of Hester's history. They said they were aware of a couple of things, so I gave them the envelope and they thanked me.
I wonder if they are zealously representing Jeremy Christian the way everyone has a right to be represented because they had every opportunity to give Hester a newsworthy grilling and it sounds like they did not do it. Hannah Lambert's suggested motive is probably the first defense they would make to claims that they should have roasted her. Defense attorneys are always hesitant to attack named victims in criminal cases. They are usually more afraid of pissing off the jury than they are about discrediting a witness. Discrediting Hester for being the trainwreck that she appears to be could easily backfire with some jurors. A jury could easily feel more sympathetic with her for having to endure such a grilling in front of TV cameras and return a less favorable verdict despite her appearance as a less credible witness. Any lawyer will tell you that most jurors vote with their hearts and not their minds. They lack the ability to simply say that someone with a history of dishonesty crimes should not be believed if the only video evidence shows her assaulting a man that was walking away from her. Jurors are too likely to view a newsworthy grilling as a type of bullying directed at a self proclaimed hate crime victim. Scholl and Smith probably decided to play nice with her to avoid giving the prosecution even more momentum than they already have. That decision is the rational one in most cases, but this is not a typical case.
This is a politically charged case that the entire country is watching. It is a case in which a fund set up for the alleged victims and their families received millions of dollars in donations. It is a case where someone in Hester's position has every reason in the world to play the victim role as much as possible. It is a better way for her to make money than theft, forgery, and possibly even prostitution. Her history lists a dismissed prostitution charge. In a case like this I think the better strategy is to assume the prosecution will win the hearts of the jury. Scholl and Smith need to focus their efforts on attacking their minds. That is the only front they have a chance of winning on. Dividing their forces with of hope of gaining a little ground on the heart front is not a good strategy in my opinion.
Finally, I am disturbed by the impression that I found out more about Hester than the defense team did. MPD lawyers are notorious for being overworked and cutting corners. Most of them have at least a few dozen cases at a time. I can only imagine the impact that a case like this has on MPD. Having to dedicate two whole lawyers to just one case must stretch them thin. I always felt sorry for county inmates because they were always waiting for their public defender (usually with MPD) just to call them to discuss their case. They just plead people out mostly. I felt lucky to be in the federal system at times because my lawyers actually had time to work on my cases, but still had trouble finding time to do everything. I once had four attorneys representing me at one time and still I found problems with their work. I doubt the MPD has the resources to fully defend a case like this.
MY PERSONAL BACKGROUND INSPIRATION
People wonder why the hell I care about someone like Jeremy Christian. It is not just that we were neighbors and I consider him a personal friend. His case says a lot about the system in general and I can relate to a lot of it. I disagree with using the pansy approach to cross examining shady so called crime victims. Personally, I had a huge problem with Per Olson refusing to tee-off on a so called victim in my underlying federal case. Instead he showed up to court tip toeing around her wrongdoings and eventually I named that as one of my grounds for an ineffective assistance of counsel claim. I lost the claim because all a judge has to say to shoot down an ineffectiveness claim like that is that he would have made the same decision even if the lawyer acted differently. Some attorneys (like Per Olson) have difficulty attacking someone in court if they think that it would be seen as their client using the court process to retaliate against the named victim in a case. Admittedly I wanted my lawyer to do that in part because the press was there, I wanted the public to know who she really was, and I wanted people to see that if you use the court system against me I will use it against them. This type of thing does not set well with lawyers and it can lead to a complete breakdown in the attorney/client relationship. I ended up having to interrupt my lawyer and say things myself once I realized he would not say them for me despite clear directives to do so. When I called him after the hearing he whined like a sissy and when I told him to appeal he withdrew.