Attias defense takes the cake

Posted by

[b]Attias defense takes the cake[/b] (From the Santa Barbara News-Press at 6/9/02 By SCOTT HADLY NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER Noted criminal defense attorney Jack Earley used to be a sous chef, but his past experience didn’t quite explain the birthday cake he brought into Santa Barbara County Superior Court during his closing arguments in the David Attias murder trial. The cake was a prop used to critique the case against his client — and an example of how attorneys try to make metaphors something more. In the recent dog-mauling case in which a San Francisco couple were on trial for murder and manslaughter after their dog killed a neighbor, their attorney got on all fours and mimicked a dog. Mr. Earley didn’t go there. He did, however, try to put a little icing on his argument — saying that veteran prosecutor Patrick McKinley selectively included some testimony from witnesses, but ignored other things said by those same witnesses about that night in Isla Vista because it didn’t fit into his case. In other words, Mr. McKinley “wanted to have his cake and eat it too.” Get it? It’s unclear if he swayed anyone on the jury, which started deliberations Tuesday but hadn’t reached a verdict by Friday. Mr. McKinley, chin in hand, seemed unimpressed. The prosecutor didn’t use any props, but he did have a pat phrase of his own: “It’s the dogs, Watson,” quoting from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s mystery “Silver Blaze.” In it, Sherlock Holmes figures out that a theft was an inside job because no one heard the dogs barking, as they would have at a stranger. “What’s most telling about the case is what isn’t said,” according to Mr. McKinley. He noted that in December 2001, Mr. Attias told a psychologist that on the night his speeding Saab ran into five people, killing four, on Sabado Tarde, the last thing he remembers is driving down nearby Del Playa Drive, rolling down the window, getting lost in the music blaring from one of the parties and getting caught up in everything. But although there were hundreds of people on Del Playa that deadly night, no one has come forward to say they saw the defendant there, Mr. McKinley said. The prosecutor also pointed out that one of the defense theories was that Mr. Attias mistakenly pushed down the gas pedal before running over the victims. “But when Mr. Attias gets out of the car, he doesn’t say anything about accidentally hitting the gas,” Mr. McKinley said. “Sometimes it’s what you don’t hear that is very important.” Mr. McKinley took the cake and donated it to a homeless shelter, Transition House. [b]Superior Court Judge Thomas Adams[/b] has complimented the media on presenting fair and even coverage of the high-profile murder trial. But a concern he brought up with reporters on the last day of the trial raised eyebrows about the court’s opinion of the media. After one of the TV stations covering the trial asked if the crew could store their equipment in a room next to the one where the jury is deliberating, Judge Adams asked the reporters if there was some sort of plot to listen in on the jury’s discussions. “Not that I believe that any of you would even think of doing something like that, it’s just that the question came up,” the judge said. Such an invasion of a jury’s secret deliberations violates the law. After ensuring that the walls were virtually soundproof, the judge decided it wouldn’t be a problem. Source:

Leave a Reply