In my most recent trial, my client was charged with the death of two people (2 charges of first degree murder, facing life without parole), gunshot wounds to two other people (assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill inflicting serious injury), the armed robbery of one person, and a pistol whipping to a person’s head (assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury).
The jury came back guilty of second degree murder and voluntary manslaughter, and not guilty on the remaining charges. He received a sentence that will allow his release before he is 36 years old.
The Prosecutor had “over charged” him, and did not have a strong case with respect to most of the charges. But, there was a concern that the jury would have a hard time looking carefully at each charge and considering the evidence without the overwhelming feeling of anger and fear. It was important to work hard to get our client’s story before the jury, from jury selection to closing argument.
To focus the jurors on the evidence, we worked hard to tell our client’s story. We set the scene, developed the characters, themes, narrative, sub plots, and chapters. We put on more of the State’s evidence than that State did, and we framed each piece of evidence within our story. We followed the great rule of story telling, “show, do not tell.” With pictures, exhibits, and words we painted the picture for the jury of what our client went through on that night. We did not want to tell the jury what happened, we wanted to show it to them.
In the end, our focus on trying tell the vivid and compelling story of client helped persuade the jury that he was not guilty of first degree murder and should not go to jail for life.