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LIVE: Ahmaud Arbery Case Day 1

LIVE: Ahmaud Arbery Case Day 1

Hey folks,

Today begins our live, real-time coverage of the trial proceedings in the Ahmaud Arbery case, in which defendants Greg McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and neighbor William “Roddy” Bryan are on trial for murder and other felony charges over the death of Ahmaud Arbery.

Today begins jury selection, which will require 12 jurors plus 3 alternates. Currently, by statute, each side has 9 peremptory strikes–but that number might be increased by the trial judge because of the presence of multiple defendants. If the number of strikes is increased, it will be increased for both sides. Jury selection is reportedly going to be sequestered–so it’s unclear to what extent we’ll have live TV coverage of the jury selection process. Indeed, it’s being reported that it’s still unclear if voir dire will be televised.

News reports indicate that 1,000 local residents have been notified that they are subject to possible selection for this trial, 600 of whom will report to the Glynn County courthouse this week, and the remaining 400 next week if required.

News reports are that first agenda item this morning may be the settling of various in limine motions that are still in play, many of which I discussed in my last post on this case:  Ahmaud Arbery Case: Seven Facts the Jury Will (Probably) Never Hear.

LIVE VIDEO FEED

LIVE COMMENTING

The three men had sought to question Arbery as a suspected felony burglary of a home in their community, when Arbery charged Travis McMichael and fought Travis for control of Travis’ firearm.  During that altercation Arbery was shot and killed by Travis.

Here’s the video of that final confrontation recorded by William “Roddy” Bryan:

Thanks to the kind sponsorship of Legal Insurrection, I’ll be covering these trial proceedings as they occur, including real-time commenting in standing blog posts as the proceedings occur, as well as end-of-day legal analysis in plain English of the day’s proceedings provided in both a separate written blog post as well as in video form.

We also plan to embed a live stream of each day’s court proceedings in these standing LIVE blog posts, so you can personally observe the proceedings as we live comment upon them.

To refresh your recollection of the charges against the three defendants, the general indictment of the three defendants is embedded immediately below, and includes charges of:

Count 1: Malice murder, under OCGA § 16-5-1.

Count 2: Felony murder, predicated on aggravated assault with firearm (Count 6), under OCGA § 16-5-1.

Count 3: Felony murder predicated on aggravated assault with pickup truck (Count 7), again under OCGA § 16-5-1.

Count 4: Felony  murder predicated on false imprisonment (Count 8), again under OCGA § 16-5-1.

Count 5: Felony murder, predicated on attempted false imprisonment (Count 9), again under OCGA § 16-5-1.

Count 6: Aggravated assault with firearm, under OCGA § 16-5-21.

Count 7: Aggravated assault with pickup truck, under OCGA § 16-5-21.

Count 8: False imprisonment, under OCGA § 16-5-41.

Count 9: Attempted false imprisonment, under OCGA § 16-4-1.

Other relevant laws in this case are the Georgia citizens arrest law in effect at the time of Arbery’s attack on Travis McMichael, as well as Georgia’s felony burglary statute, Georgia’s open carry statute, and of course Georgia’s self-defense/justification statute:

Georgia’s citizens arrest statute:
§17-4-60 Grounds for arrest

Georgia’s justification statute (including use of force in making lawful arrest):
§16-3-20. Justification

Georgia’s felony burglary statute
§16-7-1. Burglary

Home under construction qualifies for felony burglary purposes.
Smith v. State, 226 Ga. App. 9 (GA Ct. App. 1997)

Georgia’s open carry statute:
§ 16-11-126. Having or carrying handguns, long guns, or other weapons; license requirement; exceptions for homes, motor vehicles, private property, and other locations and conditions

And with that, we’re off to the races.

Remember

You carry a gun so you’re hard to kill.

Know the law so you’re hard to convict.

Stay safe!

–Andrew

Attorney Andrew F. Branca
Law of Self Defense LLC

Nothing in this content constitutes legal advice. Nothing in this content establishes an attorney-client relationship, nor confidentiality. If you are in immediate need of legal advice, retain a licensed, competent attorney in the relevant jurisdiction.

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Comments

Andrew: a question that combines your information in this post with your previous ‘preview’ post.

Apparently the defense is not permitted to present hardly any information about Mr. Arbery’s mental health, criminal history, or past acts as these would be considered ‘inflammatory’ and ‘not relevant’. Suppose a defendant, put on the stand by the defense (and with all the dangers of that acknowledged) says, “that man robbed that house, I saw it.”

The question: once that is in the record, NOW does the defense have the ability to bring in what they couldn’t bring in before? After all, a criminal history of robbery would make the defendant’s statement more believable; likewise, if Mr. Arbery was the proverbial choir boy it would cast doubt.

Similarly, if a defendant in his testimony says something that would make an average person wonder if Mr. Arbery was insane, would the previously excluded information on his mental health now be admissible?

I see, of course, see the potential for abuse in a trial, but a defendant has to be allowed to defend himself. I’m asking because I don’t know the law here and hope you can educate me (and others).

My thanks, and continued thanks for your superb posts.

    Tom Servo in reply to stevewhitemd. | October 18, 2021 at 1:11 pm

    I’m not Andrew, obviously, but you bring up an interesting point. I don’t believe any Judge would allow a Defendant to nullify one of his rulings by anything he said on the stand; it’s most likely that the Judge would simply order the jury to disregard that part of the Defendant’s testimony. (A pointless move, since no one can unwring a bell that has been wrung, but it stops attorney’s from using it to bring other stuff in)

    If one of the Prosecution’s witnesses said such a thing, it might be different. But I doubt that will happen.

      The Packetman in reply to Tom Servo. | October 18, 2021 at 1:52 pm

      “it’s most likely that the Judge would simply order the jury to disregard that part of the Defendant’s testimony. (A pointless move, …”

      I’ve heard it likened to throwing a skunk into the courtroom and having the judge caution the jury to ignore the smell …

Char Char Binks | October 18, 2021 at 9:30 am

There will be no justice in this case, ensuring peace.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to Char Char Binks. | October 18, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    As long as there are cases like this. we should be making sure that there is no peace. I am afraid that there is no other way to see real justice.

IGNORANT OPINIONS

Many people have already formed a strong opinion on this case – before they know any facts. I’m appalled by the ignorant rush to judgment.

I have talked with a few people – including some family members. About 2/3rds say it was a murder by a southern racists. It seems a large number of people stereotype Southern whites as racist (at least Northerners do). And most of the media portrays a narrative that fuels that stereotype.

Many believe that the Defendants just took chase because they saw a black man jogging in the neighborhood. They do not know that Aubrey was trespassing. When I tell them facts – their first reaction is to dismiss the facts or to accuse me of making up the facts. The reality is – they don’t want the facts to mess up their pre-conceived narrative that aligns with the media presentation.

My conclusion – if the jury were selected from the New York City area – they would be convicted. Most people in this area have made up their minds and little things like facts will not be allowed to get in the way.

    Dathurtz in reply to Ben Kent. | October 18, 2021 at 12:34 pm

    To be fair, I have my own stereotypes of Damn Yankees.

      JohnSmith100 in reply to Dathurtz. | October 18, 2021 at 5:52 pm

      Well, I am a damn Yankee, I do not object to the Confederate flag, or any monuments. While I am not a historian, I know enough to appreciate that there was much more to the Civil War than freeing blacks. It was a war for economic dominance.

      It was in large part waste, in that mechanization would have led to an end of slavery.

The fact that these men are on trial for murder makes a person really feel like they live in a DUMB country.

The guy was a burglar who had been spotted repeatedly in the neighborhood and had an extensive criminal record.

Concerned citizens tried to hold him until police could arrive, or at least confront him. If he was innocent, or even just had the bare minimum amount of self-control you should be able to expect even FROM a criminal – he could’ve just said “oh I’m just jogging, yeah that’s fine – I’ll speak to the cops. They’re going to think you’re idiots. Get ready to feel foolish.” Whether he was able to pull off the bluff or not.

He did the one, incredibly dumb thing he could’ve done to end up dead. He grabbed at a firearm and tried to take it.

Of all the scenarios that could’ve played out, basically 1 out of a million involved anyone ending up dead, and HE (he alone) chose for it to go that way. Because he was a criminal and an impulsive idiot.

Such a person represents zero loss to society, and the idea that we would send three good men who were trying to look out for their neighbors and their community (we need more people like this, not fewer) to prison because of HIS choices, is breathtakingly awful.

    Dathurtz in reply to Laser Beam. | October 18, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    Amen. The more I learn about the law the more I think our legal system is irreparably broken. Admittedly, that may be from ignorance because law is not my field at all.

    I think we might need some kind of “outlawry” codes. I’m not a fan of repeat felons being allowed to case a place and commit more felonies while citizens can do nothing about it. Especially when the police can’t/won’t do anything about it.

      Tom Servo in reply to Dathurtz. | October 18, 2021 at 1:05 pm

      What you say is probably true – the problem for the defendants in this case, and something that everyone who may be in a similar situation needs to remember, is that if you pull a gun on an unarmed person, *even a criminal*, and you are not on your own property (or worse, in this case, on a public street), and a fight ensues in which he is killed, you will be charged with murder. No way out.

      now conviction depends more on who is selected for this jury than any other factor, sadly. They could decide to let them go, they could decide to throw the book at them. It’ll be interesting to watch.

Char Char Binks | October 18, 2021 at 10:04 am

“Northerners”, gotcha, even “Yankees”, or the “W-word” — 😂

Talcum X has decided that we are not allowed to refer to it as the Arbery trial.

https://www.instagram.com/shaunking/?hl=en

    healthguyfsu in reply to Juris Doctor. | October 18, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    Talcum X is an idiot then. If Arbery is supposedly a hero, then the trial should be named after him. Would you rather give notoriety to those evil white supremacists that are all over the place and forget Arbery’s name?

    I guess then it’s more about the killing of the black man than the killing of a man named Ahmad Arbery. Interesting and telling that the human doesn’t matter as much as the tribal affiliation to someone like Talc.

    henrybowman in reply to Juris Doctor. | October 18, 2021 at 3:09 pm

    Arbery, Arbery .Arbery .Arbery.
    Feels good.

There is publicly available surveillance video that completely refutes the “out for a jog” nonsense.

Arbery is NOT jogging as he approaches Larry Englishes house

Arbery is NOT jogging when he leaves Larry English’s house.

The official Benjamin Crump sanctioned narrative is just one more example of journalistic malpractice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylOEBqHXOVQ

    AnAdultInDiapers in reply to Juris Doctor. | October 18, 2021 at 5:39 pm

    Is that video evidence being presented in court?
    If the prosecution make the claim he was merely “out for a jog” can the defence bring that footage into evidence to demonstrate the prosecution are lying?

    Any claim that Arbery was jogging can be disproven, but until/unless such a claim is made it’s pretty much irrelevant to the case; the case is whether the accused had reasonable grounds to intercept Arbery, and whether they were subsequently acting in self defence when he was shot. What he was actually doing just doesn’t matter, it’s what they thought he was doing that matters.

    (I fully expect the prosecution to make the jogging claim, and the footage showing him trespassing to be excluded, but that’s because this is an American murder trial and I’ve yet to see one of those that isn’t brutally flawed).

It’s amazing how long voir dire takes when its a politically charged trial or one that social justice warriors have embraced as their own. For most cases that take place every day in this country voir dire takes a day at most. Sometimes just a few hours in the morning and then opening arguments in the afternoon. The showmanship for these things is ridiculous.

Char Char Binks | October 18, 2021 at 2:43 pm

Defense shouldn’t have to use any strikes. The judge should strike any potential juror who shows any leaning toward a presumption of guilt, as would a prosecutor with any integrity as an officer of the court. That won’t happen, of course. The jury will be filled with those already convinced of guilt, a few who are open to letting the defense prove they’re not guilty, those who lie about their prejudice, and those afraid to vote their conscience, Chauvin redux.

While I understand there is a general legal rule about Defendants possesing actual knowledge of prior bad acts or mental health issues before they can come into evidence, this is a dumb rule and it does not reflect the way people operate and form mental states in the real world. People draw inferences and make deductions based on their observations all the time and then base their actions on those inferences and deductions.

I’m not on the jury and I have opinions regarding Arbery. I haven’t decided about the men on trial yet. I Wish it didn’t happen that way but here we are.

Unfortunately there will be more of these incidents after defund the police and the vac mandate firings.

Travis murdered that thieving, criminal, mental defective and should be convicted as charged. To be honest, I believe that Arbery would have “tore his ass up”, one-on-one, and I’d still say that Travis, and his father, had it coming.

    AnAdultInDiapers in reply to NotKennedy. | October 18, 2021 at 5:41 pm

    That’s an interesting self-contradicting position you hold. You appear to think that someone should allow “his ass” to be “tore up” without defending himself.

    I disagree.

Pretty basic question: Doesn’t all of this history have to be considered for a fair jury deliberation? Especially things like M.O., jogging, convenience store thefts. I’m sorry, but this is a habitual criminal and his record is relative.

    Who is on trial? Not Arbery.. “Judge” Travis tried, convicted and executed unarmed Arbery, albeit under the veil of alleged crimes against property.

    Three rogue vigilantes conspired to arrest someone for imagined crimes against some unrelated third party property.

    Travis and Greg belong in prison and it wouldn’t bother me if Travis got the death penalty though I doubt that he will. As to the third guy, Roddy? He’ll walk away from this, which is exactly what he should have done in the first place.

    There is a reason why we have police departments and a judicial system.

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