It often happens that defence lawyers fail to read the files they scream so loudly to get in discovery. When that happens, sometimes there are amusing surprises.
This one is a bit gross.
Trying an armed robbery. Two masked criminals with rifles robbed a couple in an hotel, taking wallets and cell telephones. They then barreled across town, using the stolen telephones, and robbed two cheerleaders coming out of a restaurant, escaping in a car being driven by a third loser. Police pursue, getaway ride wrecks, driver runs one way, passengers run another. Sedan full of stolen goods, masks, rifles, etc. Police catch passengers in flight. A few blocks away, breathless man flags down taxi as police spot and stop him. Police arrest cab hailer based on his proximity and panting. That's all we have on the driver- except that he is carrying the title to the sedan concealed- on which his mother, the recent buyer, has endorsed her name.
So here we are at trial. All three defence lawyers are, um difficult. Bear in mind that the reports, of which I’ve given them copies, tell in detail about how the car title was discovered. I had read that description.
I put the jail admitting officer on. “ When you searched him, what if anything did you find on this defendant?”
“I found a car title…”
“OBJECTION! Lack of foundation! Best evidence rule! Failure to authenticate!!!!”
“Have you brought the thing you found to court today?”
”I have. (Holds up car title in clear plastic evidence bag.)”
“Your honor, could I have this marked as an exhibit…”
“OBJECTION! OBJECTION! OBJECTION! We haven’t seen it!” True enough, I had offered them the chance several times and they expressed disinterest. So I held out the bagged title. “Take it out of the bag”, one commands.
“I’ll let you do that if you like, it’s pretty ragged and hard to read. I might tear it or something, you know how clumsy I am.”
So lawyer one pulls the document out of the bag, fondles it, peers closely at it, and passes it to two, who does the same, then three follows. Back down the line, where lawyer onr holds it out to me. "Do put it back in the bag if you please", says I, and he did. I didn't take it, but left it lying on the defence table.
“Now, Mr. Witness, where did you find this car title?”
“On the defendant Smith.”
“How? Because the police didn’t find it when they searched him.”
"We do a more thorough search."
"Explain that for us, please."
“Well, first we have them take off all their clothes, and we go through all the clothes and pockets."
"So it was in his clothes?"
"No. After that, we have them turn around and bend over. I could just see the corner sticking out from between...”
Lawyers, read that file!