The State seems to have suffered the most destructive of its own witnesses to date in calling Jonathan Good to the stand.Good was composed, coherent, and direct through his extensive testimony, the entirety of which was entirely consistent with the defense’s theory of lawful self-defense.
Indeed, as has become the pattern in this trial, the longer the State’s witness was in the stand, the more damage he did to the State’s theory of the case. The continually growing climax was realized at the very end of the testimony, when O’Mara held a copy of Good’s initial statement to then-lead Investigator Chris Serino (a transcript of is provided below):
O’Mara: Just to clarify what was actually talked about with Chris Serino, Investigator Serino, during this, we’re going to call it for the moment the Ground-and-Pound conversation. We have a rule called completeness, so what I want to do is put it in context for you, ask you if this is what you said to Chris Serino. OK?
“Yeah I pretty much heard somebody yelling outside. I wasn’t sure if it was, you know, a fight or something going wrong. So I opened my blinds and I see kind of like a person out there. I didn’t know if it was a dog attack or something. So I open my door. It was a black man with a black hoodie on top of the other, either a white guy or now I found out I think it was a Hispanic guy with a red sweatshirt on the ground yelling out help! And I tried to tell them, get out of here, you know, stop or whatever, and then one guy on top in the black hoodie was pretty much just throwing down blows on the guy kind of MMA-style.”
Is that the context in which that happened?
O’Mara: And then Investigator Serino said, a word that I have, and the transcripts may differ, ground, couldn’t figure it, maybe he said Ground-and-Pound, and then you said:
“Yeah, like a Ground-and-Pound on the concrete at this point, so at this point I told him I’m calling 911.”
BDLR: Objection. Improper bolstering.
O’Mara: I’m at the end of it. Is that–
Judge: There’s an objection and the objection is . . .
BDLR: Hearsay and improper bolstering
O’Mara: I would suggest that rule 108, which is the rule of completeness, suggests that because they brought in part of it . . . and iI’m speaking, I apologize.
Judge: The objection as to hearsay is overruled. Bolstering is not the right objection either, so that’s OK.
BDLR: Beyond the scope of cross-examination to that point
Judge: I overrule on that objection, also, so go ahead.
O’Mara: That’s what you said.
Good: The whole thing, yes
O’Mara: And that was the context in which the words Ground-and-Pound came out.
Good: Yes, for more clarification.
O’Mara: OK. And do you stand by that today, that what you saw is was a Ground-and-Pound event?
Good: It looked like that position was a Ground-and-Pound type of position, but I couldn’t tell 100% that there were actually fists hitting faces.
O’Mara: But you did see [reading] “the guy in the top in the black hoodie pretty much just throwing down blows on the guy kind of MMA-style.”
Good: Meaning arm motions going down on the person on the bottom. Correct.
O’Mara: You’re’ not going to tell the jury here today that you saw fists hit flesh or face if you didn’t actually see it, right?
Good: I wouldn’t tell them that anyway, because i didn’t actually see it.
O’Mara: Great, thanks very much , no further questions.
BDLR: Not to elaborate but the thing that Mr. O’Mara said from the transcript, the bottom line, you needed to clarify after that to make sure that everybody understood that you did not hear or see fists the guy on the top hitting the guy on the bottom.
Good: Both sides made me clarify.
BDLR: Is that correct?
Good: That’s correct.
BDLR: You did not see blows on the guy on the bottom, correct?
BDLR: Thank you, no further questions.
Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense,” now available in its just released 2nd Edition, which shows you how to successfully fight the 20-to-life legal battle everyone faces after defending themselves. UPDATE: July 5, 2013 is the LAST DAY to take advantage of the 30% pre-order discount, only $35, plus free shipping. To do so simply visit the Law of Self Defense blog.
BREAKING: “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition” is now also being carried by Amazon.com, at list price but with a commitment for 2-day delivery. A Kindle version to come within a week or so (I hope).
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