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View Full Version : Why do court cases take so long?


wisco
09-12-10, 08:23 PM
I've been following a local case since it began in December. A little gang banger wannabe shot and killed an off duty police officer and her boyfriend.

It happened outside a bar with plenty of witnesses, and he was caught within a few hours.

He STILL hasn't gone to trial. As it is, his trial will begin Oct. 25th.

Perhaps someone who's dealt more with the court system can answer this; but why with all the witnnesses, the fast apprehension, the murder weapon, etc does it still take nearly a year before someone is actually tried?


cntryboy0531
09-12-10, 08:38 PM
Defense will file motions to get the case thrown out, etc., on various grounds. For a murder case there are expert witnesses that may need to testify, etc. Lots of things go on in them. Ultimately, the defendant does have the right to a speedy trial, and if they choose to exercise it, the state HAS to set a trial within a few months. However, the defense usually wants more time to prepare a defense. However, in nearly every criminal case I've been apart of, one of the first thing the defense does is file a motion to waive speedy trial.

retdetsgt
09-12-10, 09:06 PM
On murder trials, even though the defendant has the right to a speedy trial (usually 90 days), the defense takes longer to prepare their case so they waive that right. It's not really a bad thing because we use that time to shore up ours. I've had more than a few cases where I had probable cause to make the arrest, but the really good evidence didn't come around until after the guy was in jail and people were more comfortable that he was going to stay there. I might not have gotten a conviction had I not had that extra time.

As I said, it's really not as bad a thing as it appears on the surface and to the public.


Piggy
09-12-10, 09:20 PM
Because some defense attorneys are jackasses.

wisco
09-12-10, 09:26 PM
Understood, thanks guys.

I'm just very curious as to how this case turns out. On the one hand you have a suspect who illegally took a gun into a bar while on a date. On the other hand you have the off duty officer putting putting her hands where they don't belong and then getting her boyfriend involved when she gets rebuffed.

The suspect, according to witnesses, did not want to fight and told said bf to "stop being so f***ing stupid" but ended up shooting both. He confessed to the shooting when he was caught, but claims it wasn't his intention to kill and he was acting in self defense.

I can almost believe he was acting in defense of the guy trying to fight him, but there's no explanation as to why he shot the woman too.

I'm just anxious for all the evidence/testimony/etc to come out.

retdetsgt
09-12-10, 09:29 PM
That case sound familiar. I read about it either here or on some news website. The female cop sounded like she was an idiot.

The prosecutor and defense may be dancing around getting a plea deal. I don't think I would like to prosecute this one even though the guy shot more people than he might have needed to.

wisco
09-12-10, 09:40 PM
The prosecutor and defense may be dancing around getting a plea deal. I don't think I would like to prosecute this one even though the guy shot more people than he might have needed to.

I was thinking that myself.

There is a rumor that one of the bullets may have actually passed through the male and hit the female. The details that have been released thus far say that 3 shots were fired and the male sustained three bullet wounds. If that is the case the shooting of the woman may have been unintentional.... but right now it's just heresay so I'm of the opinion he deliberately shot both.

The suspects image however does not bode well for him. The police believe he is affiliated with the Diablos Lobos motorcycle gang (some real nasties). He has a tattoo that says "Nothing to lose" across his throat, and he portrays himself as a hardass. He did flip out at one of his hearings and it took 4+ officers to restrain him.

I'm really a fence sitter on this one.

retdetsgt
09-12-10, 09:48 PM
I'm really a fence sitter on this one.

The first thing that came to my mind was why was cop drinking in a bar where a biker like that would be? Generally we frequent different bars and taverns..... When I was drinking, I didn't frequent fern bars, but I didn't go to biker bars either.

wisco
09-12-10, 10:06 PM
To the best of my knowledge the bar in question is not a biker bar. Matter of fact it's only a few blocks from the county sheriff and courthouse.

The suspect was new to the area, only living around here for I think about a year. I checked his records. He had a lot of traffic violations, multiple OAR's, at least one DUI, possession of paraphanelia, and had been caught once before with a concealed weapon, but nothing violent that I could find. The victim (bf) did have a domestic violence conviction in the past.

retdetsgt
09-12-10, 10:26 PM
Yeah, I bet they're trying for a plea.

Cat_Doc
09-12-10, 11:46 PM
When I was drinking, I didn't frequent fern bars, but I didn't go to biker bars either.

Fern bar is an American slang term for an upscale or preppy (or yuppie) bar or tavern catering to singles usually decorated with ferns or other "fussy" plants, as well as such decor as fake Tiffany lamps. The phrase came into common use in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

retdetsgt
09-13-10, 08:42 AM
Fern bar is an American slang term for an upscale or preppy (or yuppie) bar or tavern catering to singles usually decorated with ferns or other "fussy" plants, as well as such decor as fake Tiffany lamps. The phrase came into common use in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

I guess it has been a while since I've hadda beer......

http://bestsmileys.com/drinking/18.gif

Aussie George
09-13-10, 08:48 AM
Fern bar is an American slang term for an upscale or preppy (or yuppie) bar or tavern catering to singles usually decorated with ferns or other "fussy" plants, as well as such decor as fake Tiffany lamps. The phrase came into common use in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

Thanks for the translation for us foreigners.....and young folk.:tongue:

wisco
10-26-10, 06:17 PM
For anyone interested, the trial has begun and...



There is a rumor that one of the bullets may have actually passed through the male and hit the female. The details that have been released thus far say that 3 shots were fired and the male sustained three bullet wounds. If that is the case the shooting of the woman may have been unintentional.... but right now it's just heresay so I'm of the opinion he deliberately shot both.

...it did come out today that one bullet passed through the males neck and hit the off duty officer, so he did not intentionally shoot her.

It also came out that the boyfriend (victim) was known to have a short fuse and at one point the officer actually filed a restraining order against him.

This definitely changes my view of the whole situation a little bit. I'm starting to believe this may have indeed been self defense.

wisco
10-29-10, 02:25 PM
Some more testimony today:

"Former Jefferson EMS worker Laurie Phillips had been at the bar as a patron before the shootings took place. She said she was there socially and was drinking Mountain Dew. She said the bar was very busy. She said she did not know Jennifer Luick, but Luick stood out from the crowd because “she was dancing and having fun,” and because “she was laughing, she was tall, pretty and smiling.”

Phillips also said she noticed Wirth at the bar due to his tattoos and because he ordered what she considered an odd drink - vodka and Mountain Dew - along with a shot of Goldschläger.

She said she noticed Luick talking to Wirth at one point in an agitated manner. She said she saw Luick with her arms extended outward, palms up, telling Wirth, “Bring it. C'mon, bring it.”

“I thought she was talking to the defendant,” Phillips said, adding Wirth “had no reaction whatsoever” to Luick's statement to him.

When that contact between Luick and Wirth concluded, Phillips said she saw Luick speaking loudly with two or three female friends, and Luick remained agitated. Phillips said she began to feel uncomfortable as a result of the Wirth/Luick confrontation, so she went to the nearby EMS base. She said she returned to the bar when she was called to assist in treatment of Luick and Peters after they were shot.

Testimony in the trial, which is being heard before an eight-man, eight-woman jury from Columbia County, is scheduled to run through the end of this week. "


....and the plot thickens.

MikeG
10-29-10, 04:13 PM
This definitely changes my view of the whole situation a little bit. I'm starting to believe this may have indeed been self defense.

Ummm. No.

gangbanger wearing gang colors fled after shooting. No indication deadly force would have been justified at all. He's responsible for all rounds he fires especially if he has no justification. The officer and her boyfriend were unarmed. Fleeing indicates conciousness of guilt coupled with intent, he should be convicted of first degree murder for the death of the boyfriend and second degree murder for the stray round that killed the officer. Aggravating factors are his gang affiliation and weapons violation.

wisco
10-29-10, 06:24 PM
I never said it was justifiable self defense.

MikeG
10-29-10, 06:52 PM
I never said it was justifiable self defense.

Pre-emptive self defense? :)

wisco
10-29-10, 07:30 PM
I guess we'll have to see what the jury decides. One juror was dismissed today for being "tainted".

I've been reviewing Wisconsin's laws about First Degree Intentional Homicide as I wondered why he was facing 2 counts of it if the shooting of the officer was unintentional... got my answer here:

"Wisconsin law provides that the resulting victim need not have been the intended victim. If the resulting victim was not the intended victim, the intent to kill the intended victim transfers to the resulting victim under the legal doctrine of transferred intent. "

However -

"An intentional homicide committed with "just cause" can be mitigated from first degree intentional homicide to second degree intentional homicide. Examples of just cause might be an imperfect self defense, adequate provocation (heat of passion crimes), unnecessary defense force, prevention of a felony, coercion or necessity."

"Second-degree intentional homicide is often called voluntary manslaughter in other states, but Wisconsin legislatures eliminated the crime of voluntary manslaughter when the criminal statutes were codified. "

"If a death was caused because the actor believed he or she was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and the force used was necessary to defend the endangered person, then a first-degree intentional homicide may be reduced to second-degree intentional homicide, if either belief was unreasonable.

If the defensive force was necessary, then the homicide may be excused from criminal liability. The law defines the circumstances under which defensive force is necessary for individual protection, protection of another, and protection of society."

What I don't understand though, is given the evidence at hand... why he wouldn't have just been charged with 2nd degree intentional homicide? I didn't think they can change the charge at trial... or can they?

If they can't, and it is proven that this was acceptable self-defense.... doesn't that botch their whole case?

(All of these quotes were taken from Wisconsin Attorney - Successful Criminal DUI Defense Attorneys - Drunk Driving Defense Lawyers - Sex Rape Sexual Assault Lawyer - Drug Possession Penalties - Murder Homicide Laws - Criminal Appeals Attorneys - Best Defense Lawyers - Madison WI 53703 (http://www.vanwagnerwood.com/), a law firm in Madison, WI)


^^^^^Sorry, didn't realize all that junk was gonna show up just posting a URL......

MikeG
10-29-10, 09:17 PM
I'm not lawyer or leo but my understanding is that it's a "lesser, included" offense. If they prove all the elements for conviction on 2nd degree intentional murder, but not all 1st degree, they can find him guilty of the lesser charge. I think it's all included in jury instructions of how it works. They don't actually have to charge him with the lessor offense to get that conviction.

wisco
11-01-10, 04:00 PM
Well the trial is over and he was found not guilty of the 2 counts of first degree intentional homicide... however he was convicted of 2 counts of homicide by negligent handling of a dangerous weapon.

He faces a maximum of 10 years on each count.

MikeG
11-01-10, 05:10 PM
We can only hope the judge gives 10 years, consecutive. Nothing negligent about pulling the trigger 3 times.

Trip
11-01-10, 10:30 PM
Well the trial is over and he was found not guilty of the 2 counts of first degree intentional homicide... however he was convicted of 2 counts of homicide by negligent handling of a dangerous weapon.

He faces a maximum of 10 years on each count.


We can only hope the judge gives 10 years, consecutive. Nothing negligent about pulling the trigger 3 times.

I'm impressed with you two guys' command of the law. That's one area I'd never argue with either of you about, lol.....

MikeG
11-02-10, 12:50 AM
I'm impressed with you two guys' command of the law. That's one area I'd never argue with either of you about, lol.....

You shouldn't be impressed at all. My "knowledge" is opinion mostly.