Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Quick Glimpse Into The “Tire Slashing” Trial

I was in the Milwaukee County Safety Building yesterday and remembered that the “tire slashing” trial was going on there. I decided to sit in on a very small portion of the trial while I was in the neighborhood. Since this is news in the state, I thought I’d share it with everyone.

It was maybe about 11:15am and the gallery in the courtroom was rather empty. Aside from the media and all of their equipment, there appeared to only be a handful of people watching the proceedings. Congresswomen Gwen Moore was there with what appeared to be family on the front row. The defendants were all sitting with their attorneys on the right side of the courtroom. The prosecutor’s table was to the left of them and jury box to the far left.

There were 14 jurors in the jury box. Most appeared to be rather attentive with the exception of one young man that seemed to have a hard time staying awake. The makeup of the jury was as follows: 5 white men, 5 white women, 1 African American man, and 3 African American Women.

The testimony that I heard was rather mundane as it was a representative of the Sprint telephone company. The DA showed the witness and jury a blown up version of various cell phone records. The exhibit was nearly impossible for anyone in the gallery to see because it was facing the jury. Gwen Moore got up and walked across the courtroom to the only corner where a person had a chance of viewing the exhibit. She was very alert during the entire proceeding. It sounded as if some of the documents displayed information regarding which towers picked up specific calls made by someone (they never said who, I’m assuming one or more of the defendants). It sounded as though the DA was setting up the case that those records could place the defendants in specific parts of town at the times of certain phone calls.

There were several objections during the Sprint Rep’s testimony by defense counsel. The judge seemed pretty balanced in either overruling or sustaining the various objections. During the cross examination by the defense lawyers, a few points stood out. The witness admitted that he is not an engineer and that he did not generate the DA’s records. He also testified that he basically received some training and travels all over the country to testify for Sprint. The female defense lawyer (sorry I don’t know your name and I don’t have time to look it up now) asked this witness if he knew what various symbols and initials meant on the documentation. The witness did not know what these thing meant. And that was it.

The judge gave the jury a few instructions and they left for lunch. After that proceeding Gwen Moore got up and before she even got close to the door, the TV cameras were waiting. She went to the cameras and spoke to reporters. She mentioned how her son was innocent and that she now knows how hard it must be for poor people who are wrongly accused.

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