[conspire] (forw) Reiser trial: DNA tests partially flubbed, defence motion for mistrial

Christian Einfeldt einfeldt at gmail.com
Tue Feb 5 20:39:39 PST 2008


On Feb 5, 2008 8:19 PM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:

> I personally guess that it's more likely than not that Hans murdered
> her

I agree, it doesn't look good.

> -- but that's a far cry from saying prosecution has met the legal
> burden of proof for a criminal conviction.  No idea how the jury feels,
> but to my eyes, that looks like a resounding "no".


> Equally disconcerting is the possibility that this happens quite a bit:
> A large number of disappearances and murders per year go completely
> unsolved,

Do you follow this kind of thing?  I am wondering how many murders go
unsolved.  Disappearances are even more murky.  Maybe they just moved.  I
try to tell myself that there is a sound explanation for these kinds of
things, because I don't want to see myself as being like my paternal step
grandmother, who would click her tongue at all the bad things that are
happening out there.  Sure, there are lots bad things going on out there,
but I prefer to thing that there are rational explanations for them.
Otherwise, the burden of living is only that much worse.

> and it's a fair bet that the police catch, and prosecutors
> convict, only the stupid, clumsy, and/or hasty killers -- and that all
> the meticulous, careful, and patient ones go unnoticed.

I also think that killing is such a distasteful affair that very few people
can actually bring themselves to do it.

> The remaining question is:  What qualifies as a causal link?  The law
> says:  Anything that convinces a unanimous jury, past any reasonable
> doubt, that the accused unlawfully killed a human being with malice
> aforethought.
> http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cacodes/pen/187-199.html

Causation in the law has specific definitions, and I see that you have sited
the Penal Code there, which is the correct code, but the thing that would be
really interesting, Rick, is to for us to see what the jury instructions are
as submitted to the jury.  It will be a long document.  Probably more than
100 pages.

I do tort law, and in every case that we have tried, there has been a
dispute over the jury instructions.  There are approved jury instructions
that are used in civil tort cases to cover the base definitions, but in each
case, the attorneys will want to modify the jury instructions, and will
fight about it.  This is a ripe area for appeal, at least in civil tort

For those wanting to maybe dig into the matter and guess as to what the jury
instructions on causation will be, don't just look at the Penal Code alone.
Instead, look at CALJIC,  Every law library will have it:


That is the standardized jury instructions book.

see ya
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