Sunday, September 11, 2011

Responding to the Familiar

It's not what you know. It's what you can prove in court. – Nick Rice in Law Abiding Citizen (2009)

As a law student the phrase cannot ring more truth. The courts decide based on the facts presented to it by competent lawyers. It cannot assume facts nor add facts not presented. To convince the court of a claim or defense it is the duty of counsel to present evidence to prove the facts of his cause.

Presentation of evidence is an art form one might say, the counsel that tells his story best through his evidence would most likely be able to tell a more convincing tale and gain an upper hand and obtain the sympathy of the magistrate. Presentation of evidence is how counsel persuades the court that his theory of the case is more credible.

Recently in Huntsville, Alabama to prove a wrongful death suit, counsels for deceased police officer Daniel Golden who was killed by the cook and manager of the restaurant he responded to used the Ipad to present their case and evidence.

They used the Ipad to present documents, the 911 audio and trial video deposition for their evidence presentation. Since several documents were presented as evidence including the pertinent laws violated by the restaurant where the cook was still allowed to work even though intoxicated.
“However, further investigation revealed that Albarran was probably intoxicated during the event. Later, we were able to trace back his intoxication to beer provided by the Jalisco restaurant in violation of several Alcohol Beverage Control regulations. Furthermore, we were able to link Alabama's 100-year-old Dram Shop Act (which generally prohibits serving intoxicated individuals) with the restaurant's ABC violations in allowing an employee to consume alcohol. Under these two laws, it would be illegal to allow Albarran, an employee, to drink Jalisco's beer during working hours. Thus, if we could ultimately prove what we believe occurred, Jalisco could be held civilly liable for Officer Golden's death under both the 1909 Dram Shop law and the ABC regulations.” [Note 1, See: for full story]

The IPad served as a useful tool in highlighting and enlarging certain portions of the documents for presentation to the jury and the court. These were only a few of the features of the technology that proved useful. The counsel who used it likewise raved about the 10 hour battery life. It was also the same piece of technology used by the counsels to present their very first evidence to prove that Albarran was an employee of Jalisco Restaurant, a very faded receipt which was signed by him and was shown to the court and blown up through an Ipad application.

In the end, “the jury returned a verdict in favor of Golden's family in the amount of $37.5 million, assessing damages of $25 million against Albarran as well as $12.5 million against the Jalisco restaurant. No appeal was filed and the time for appeal has expired.” [See Note 1]
This only shows that every generation respond better to what is familiar to them. I dare believe that the use of the IPad as a way of presenting evidence proved not only as a convenience but made every detail in every evidence interesting and familiar to the jury, that helped the case decided in favor of the prosecution.


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