Thursday, July 10, 2008

Courtroom Strategies Defeat Justice

It’s impossible to note all the things that shocked us as Todd’s case proceeded to trial. Prosecutors Stephanie Rikeman and Jeff Lindsay sequestered Bill (put him on their witness list) so that he could not support Todd and our family during this unbelievably stressful time. Phil Tate argued the case according to his own assumptions rather than arguing the case based on truth and the overwhelming evidence supporting Todd’s innocence. Ultimately, Tate’s unwillingness to argue the truth and the prosecutions absolute disregard for truth resulted in Todd’s wrongful conviction.

The prosecution did everything in their power to drag the trial out as long as possible (at the expense of the taxpayers). When they weren’t allowed to call a witness to the stand because they had just that day turned discovery over to the defense regarding the witness, they were allowed to instead play the video from the parking lot at the Appoloosa night club without narration, so that they jurors could read whatever their prejudices were into the scenario. What the jurors should have noted was the absence of Orgil from the video because he was off arguing with the victim. Further, they should have noted Todd exiting the Appoloosa swinging a birthday gift bag and in an apparent peaceful mood. Clearly they did not make these interpretations, because while they were making their decision they actually asked to view this superfluous video, which suggests to us just how little they actually understood about the case and the decision they were making.

The prosecution also brought in one of the officers who works with their trained dogs in an attempt to “kill time” at taxpayer’s expense. He talked for what seemed like forever about how they train the dogs. In the end, when he was asked if the dog had found anything, he answered, “No”. More wasted time, more wasted money.

Further, the prosecution’s “experts” were willing to say whatever they needed to help the prosecution and convict Todd without any regard whatsoever for truth. Don Richer, the prosecution’s knife “expert” testified on the witness stand that he saw black debris on the knife when it was first received into custody. This debris came up missing while in the custody of the sheriff’s office. Later in the trial, this same Don Richer got back on the stand and testified that Todd cleaned his knife. The presence of the black debris on the knife was evidence that the knife was not cleaned by Todd; it is unbelievable that the person who saw the debris earlier could then accuse Todd of cleaning the knife!

As noted in earlier writing, the prosecution also refused to test the DNA on Todd’s jacket. This had to be done at Todd’s expense; further the prosecution required that both a representative from the laboratory in California and the expert witness be flown in for testimony in the prosecution’s attempt to deny this evidence from being used.

Further, the prosecution requested that the CBI witness, who changed her testimony from the pre-trial hearing to the trial, be allowed to sit with them during the questioning of the expert witness (Todd’s defense attorney’s didn’t object!). At the pretrial hearing this CBI witness testified that there was no black debris on the knife when it was delivered (two months after it was supposed to have been sent) to CBI. At the trial, this same CBI witness implied that there was some sort of smear that perhaps was a blood smear on the knife. It must be noted that this was not a blood smear, tests did not support her statement but statements made however false can and do influence juries. The prosecution, along with the CBI agent, then tried to discredit Todd’s expert witness by challenging why she called her work and education history a resume in one place and a curriculum vitae in another. Clearly, they had decided the intelligence level of the jury; their assessment wasn’t flattering to the jurors.

Even more frustrating and ridiculous, a physician from Memorial Hospital argued that Anthony Madril must have had a rush of adrenaline to be able to fight with Brad Orgill after being stabbed in both ventricles of the heart, since that was what he said he had been told by detectives. It didn’t matter to anyone that this theory made no sense. It’s not reasonable that Anthony Madril would have engaged Todd and then just left to begin fighting with Brad. Or that Todd would stab someone, put his knife away (with no blood on it) and have a non-violent confrontation with Lopez. Furthermore, no one present ever saw such an event occur, and Anthony Madril, when pulled into the truck by his friends while fighting with Orgill said, “I just got stabbed.” Prosecutors did not reveal their theory of opportunity until closing arguments which, again, we found it unbelievable that these tactics are legal. And, although Orgill had a second sexual assault allegation just months earlier, the prosecutors vouched for Orgill’s character.

God save us from “justice” in the United States, and especially, in El Paso County.

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