Aloha, everybody, this is Marcus Landsberg.
Ahmaud Arbery Trial
Currently, the world is watching Glynn County, Georgia where the killers of Ahmaud Arbery are standing trial. It is clear that they killed him, that's not up for debate. Their criminal defense attorneys are arguing that they were acting in self-defense. While this trial continues I've joined a group of trial watchers on Clubhouse, a social audio app, that Livestreams the trial every day and comments on different parts of the trial and how the laws of criminal procedure, the rules of evidence, and strategy impact the attorney's choices, the judge's decisions, and finally what the jury can consider. If it interests you to watch the trial with myself and a number of other attorneys from both sides of the criminal bar and around the country, please join us on the Clubhouse App. My user name is @Lawyer.
Today, October 5, 2021, was the opening statement, and while there were many things that were interesting, there were two main issues that were out of the ordinary, that you don't normally see in your standard everyday cases. I wanted to make a short video here(can be found above) to explore these two relatively uncommon points of criminal defense procedure as a way to clarify for the group.
The Sixth Amendment
The first point I address is the Sixth Amendment objection made at the close of the Defense arguments. The Sixth Amendment states,
"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense."
These principles are so deeply ingrained in American law that you rarely hear an objection based on them. (Outside the speedy trial rights. Asserting your speedy trial rights is common.) In the first half of the video, I discuss what the objection was, and more importantly what I think the real reason was for the objection, which may have had a different motivation than the readily apparent.
Reserving Opening Statements
In the second half of the video, I explore the fact that the third Defense attorney "reserved" his opening statement. This is a relatively rare strategy for the defense (I believe I've only done it once or twice in fifteen years) but it can be an effective one. Listen in to this part to hear what it means to reserve an opening statement and why I think the Defense elected to reserve in this particular case. Also, I address how it may affect the second half of the trial.
Since the start of the pandemic, the United States has seen multiple racially charged murder cases go to trial. Currently, both Kyle Rittenhouse and the killers of Ahmaud Arbery are in court asserting explicit Self-Defense cases as a way to get themselves acquitted of murder and murder-type charges. It is up to the juries to determine if their actions meet the definition of Self-Defense under law, or if they went too far in using deadly force when it was not legally allowable.
If you believe you've acted in self-defense it is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Contact me today for a free consultation to see how I can help you.