April 11, 2005


Second trial in the new jurisdiction today. Again, a disagreement over a client of mine and somebody else's property. In my clients' eyes and mine, the State would have a time of it getting past reasonable doubt, and we could show the jury a decent guy made into an unwitting trafficker in goods that he didn't know were stolen.

Things were going pleasantly, with an above-board prosecutor. He and I had a few laughs with the jury panel, and then a helpful in-court clerk guided me through the color code for the local three-highlighter method of peremptory challenges. My client was in a good mood, and I was looking forward to putting on his testimony. The first two civilian witnesses were fine, inflicting no devastating blows.

Then came the turn of the Overly Helpful Detective, ten year veteran of the force, who volunteered a bit of information that was so important that he just had to share it with the jury. Strangely, the same information had not been important enough to include in any police report or any page of discovery. I'd done several interviews with my client, and it was news to me. To be fair, perhaps the detective didn't consider the info unusual enough to burden the prosecutor with it until today, and only comprehended what a shame it would be not to speak up until he was on re-direct:

Pros Q: "What was the relationship between Mr. Client and Mr. Other-Guy?"
(who sold him the goods)

Cop A: "Mr. Other-Guy was a drug dealer who sold methamphetamine to Mr. Client..." (approximately: I didn't write down the exact quote because I was too busy picking up my jaw from where it dropped)

Bless her heart, Her Honor granted a mistrial. Thanks for playing the game, Mr. Detective! See you at the re-trial! Enjoy your conversation with the prosecutor on the way out the door!

Bonus link: