Thursday, June 15, 2017

Lawyerly Advice

A Facebook friend who is a lawyer writes (lightly-edited):
Trump is so screwed if he keeps tweeting about the Russia investigation. I have hundreds of stories where "innocent" remarks, or even denials, got people convicted. I once represented a client who burglarized a residence and a road house with a juvenile accomplice. The kid confessed and ratted. But we had a complete defense: you may not convict based on the uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice alone. Unfortunately, when they were releasing my client, the releasing officer said "You really did the road house burglary, didn't you?" to which my smart-ass little client replied, sarcastically, "Yeah, sure!" At trial, I objected to introduction of this statement on the grounds that it was not an admission, but functionally a denial. The judge, with a slight smile, said, "Unfortunately, it's up to the jury to decide how he meant it."

The jury convicted, of course. We appealed. The Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of the residential burglary - no corroboration. They upheld the conviction for the road house burglary - the jury could have taken his statement as an admission thus sufficient corroboration. Justice was done.

If you are being investigated for a crime, shut up. Don't say you did it. Don't say you didn't do it. Don't say you were in Poughkeepsie. Just shut up.

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