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Couey's defense is being "rushed"

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Aw.
http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbc...GNEWS/50805001
August 5, 2005

Defense in Lunsford case: We're being rushed

INVERNESS, Fla. - Attorneys for a sex offender accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing Jessica Lunsford earlier this year say they are being rushed to trial and are seeking to have the judge removed from the case.

Circuit Judge Richard Howard last month scheduled John Evander Couey to go on trial Feb. 6.

Assistant Public Defender Daniel Lewan said in a motion this week that the judge is not giving the defense enough time to prepare for a case that could have more than 300 witnesses.

The judge rejected a defense motion last month to delay Couey's trial until the summer or fall of 2006.

"It is fundamental to the defendant's right to a fair trial that his attorneys are given enough time to prepare their case for trial. ... The sheer volume of discovery in this case as well as the number of witnesses would preclude the defense from being prepared for the trial of February 6, 2006," Lewan wrote.

State prosecutors can call up to 373 witnesses to testify, and defense attorneys expect "numerous significant witnesses to be disclosed by the state in the future," Lewan wrote.

Prosecutors said the defense's motion lacks "any factual basis."

Couey is charged with first-degree murder, burglary with battery, kidnapping and sexual battery. The state is seeking the death penalty.

Although he has pleaded not guilty, authorities say Couey admitted to the crime March 18, the day after he was arrested in Georgia, and told them he buried the third-grader alive behind the mobile home where he lived.

An autopsy showed the 9-year-old had been sexually assaulted and died of suffocation
post #2 of 19
I have not heard about this case. But given that the defense is conducted by a public defender as opposed to a private attorney it could be possible. Public defenders usually have quite a heavy case loads due to the low funding.

From the little comment above, it seems that you have judged him before the trial. Given that this case involves the death penalty should not one be concerned, if the statement with regards to the lack of time is true. After all there have been cases involving people who were wrongly sentenced to death due to problems with an overworked public defender.

The purpose of a trial is not just to point a finger at someone and say he did it, but it is to ensure that the person being put away indeed is guilty. Putting away an innocent person is an injustice not just to that innocent person but also to the victim of the crime for the real criminal has escaped justice.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpy
I have not heard about this case. But given that the defense is conducted by a public defender as opposed to a private attorney it could be possible. Public defenders usually have quite a heavy case loads due to the low funding.

From the little comment above, it seems that you have judged him before the trial. Given that this case involves the death penalty should not one be concerned, if the statement with regards to the lack of time is true. After all there have been cases involving people who were wrongly sentenced to death due to problems with an overworked public defender.

The purpose of a trial is not just to point a finger at someone and say he did it, but it is to ensure that the person being put away indeed is guilty. Putting away an innocent person is an injustice not just to that innocent person but also to the victim of the crime for the real criminal has escaped justice.
He admitted he was guilty. He took this little girl out of her bed, molested her, kept her in a closet for 3 days and buried her alive. He showed the cops where he buried her. He later changed his plea.
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockcat
He admitted he was guilty. He took this little girl out of her bed, molested her, kept her in a closet for 3 days and buried her alive. He showed the cops where he buried her. He later changed his plea.
This guy is as guilty as sin, I wish they would take him out and hang him for the nearest yardarm (whatever a yardarm is). This guy is going down and so should his siblings that covered up for the pervert sub-human.
post #5 of 19
If that is the case and the evidence against him is so strong then if the complaints of the defense is true, there is no harm allowing the defense more time. After all it should be noted that from the end of the first trial to the time of the execution, it takes many years. If irregularities are not adequately resolved it may afford a route of escape in future appeals and I am sure one would not want that to allow a guilty person to escape his sentence.

Showing the police where he buried the person in my view is very strong evidence and I am not too sure how he can argue his way out. But I should caution that an admission of guilt should not be a be all and end all since there have been cases (serious crimes) where people admit to guilt even when they are innocent.
post #6 of 19
Defense Lawyers = Satan
post #7 of 19
he admited he was guilty, he showed them where she was buried. he gave them details that only the killer would know.

HANG EM AND HANG EM HIGH is what i think.
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpy
If that is the case and the evidence against him is so strong then if the complaints of the defense is true, there is no harm allowing the defense more time. After all it should be noted that from the end of the first trial to the time of the execution, it takes many years. If irregularities are not adequately resolved it may afford a route of escape in future appeals and I am sure one would not want that to allow a guilty person to escape his sentence.

Showing the police where he buried the person in my view is very strong evidence and I am not too sure how he can argue his way out. But I should caution that an admission of guilt should not be a be all and end all since there have been cases (serious crimes) where people admit to guilt even when they are innocent.
I know that that sometimes happens, but not in this case. You didn't get to see the previous thread. Heres the link: http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...light=lunsford
post #9 of 19
Perhaps an analogy will be useful. I recall one episode of the Amazing Race where the instructions to the people were to get from point A to point B but they were suppose to walk or run. However this groups perhaps did not read the instructions fully and took a vehicle and were later eliminated because of a time penalty. Reaching the destination is important but make sure that you do not leave any faults which can turn victory into defeat.

Imagine if he is convicted and is the person who did the crime but in an appeal a few years down the road, this particular point was raised and it succeeds. Would you want that to occur?
post #10 of 19
He confessed to a detective in Augusta, GA, when they picked him up. I am sure they will be going there to testify to that. They have a highly professional PD with a good success rate. Those guys read you your rights for a traffic ticket, so I am sure that will not be a problem as people often try to say it is. It would be good for the family to get it done as quickly as possible, but if the defense is getting more time, so is the prosecution. The more time they have, the more careful they can be to analyze the evidence, close any stupid loophole, and build a strong case against him.
Personally, I would like to see them go ahead and get him off to prison where he will get much of the same treatment he gave that poor child. At least he is not out walking around on bail.
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeyedgirl
Defense Lawyers = Satan
I resent that statement. Not all defense lawyers are satan. Some people that have been arrested ARE innocent and need all the help they can get. But not all of them. What if you were arrested for something you didn't do. Refuse a defense lawyer?

And I agree with Krazy Kat - fine, let them have more time for their case, it will only help the prosecution build theirs and make it easier for the jury to convict him.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeyedgirl
Defense Lawyers = Satan
Not always. Our constitution guarantees the accused the right to a fair trial, so someone has to represent them. Imagine what would happen if nobody did that job, or did it inadequately, criminals could get out of jail because they weren't properly represented.

My husband's uncle is a defense attorney. Most of his clients are guilty, and he knows it. He doesn't try to make slick moves to get them off. He provides an appropriate defense, as provided by law.

As in many things, a few rotten apples spoil the reputation of the rest.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpy
The purpose of a trial is not just to point a finger at someone and say he did it, but it is to ensure that the person being put away indeed is guilty. Putting away an innocent person is an injustice not just to that innocent person but also to the victim of the crime for the real criminal has escaped justice.
While the crime is reprehensible, we gain nothing by not examining the evidence in a formal matter. False confessions occur a lot more frequently than anyone wishes to admit and witness identification is fallible. Since a confession is a almost taken as de-facto guilt, we must make sure that all of the evidence supports this. The defense attorney is responsible to question the other side's evidence and conclusions to make sure that assumptions are correct and complete.

We have too many cases where decades later, advances in technology have cleared wrongly accused people.
post #14 of 19
I'm sorry, but I don't understand the Amazing Race comparison..(not to pick on anyone..)
We know an innocent little girl was buried alive clutching a stuffed dolphin..her life was precious, not a reality show. Unfortunately, she lost the race, & I for one am not worried about some crack-head pervert's rights.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpy
Perhaps an analogy will be useful. I recall one episode of the Amazing Race where the instructions to the people were to get from point A to point B but they were suppose to walk or run. However this groups perhaps did not read the instructions fully and took a vehicle and were later eliminated because of a time penalty. Reaching the destination is important but make sure that you do not leave any faults which can turn victory into defeat.

Imagine if he is convicted and is the person who did the crime but in an appeal a few years down the road, this particular point was raised and it succeeds. Would you want that to occur?
No one wants anyone to be convicted of a crime he did not commit. Again, this is not the case with Couey. He is GUILTY. Ask anyone in Florida. We watched this case day by day and remember his arrest and confession, whether or not it will be admitted. He even showed the police the closet where his victim was forced to stay for 3 days. Her urine is evidence. There is overwhelming evidence. Believe me he is GUILTY. (I don't get the analogy either.)
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockcat
No one wants anyone to be convicted of a crime he did not commit. Again, this is not the case with Couey. He is GUILTY. Ask anyone in Florida. We watched this case day by day and remember his arrest and confession, whether or not it will be admitted. He even showed the police the closet where his victim was forced to stay for 3 days. Her urine is evidence. There is overwhelming evidence. Believe me he is GUILTY. (I don't get the analogy either.)
My point on the analogy is not on whether the person is guilty or not and in fact is more relevant if the person is indeed guilty. You want to reach a particular goal (conviction) but to reach there you have to play by the rules. What is the use of obtaining a victory (conviction) at first instance if it can be overturned on appeal based on something that could have been easily corrected.

While lack of time is not something that can usually set aside a judgment, imagine if the law was changed in the future such that failure to provide adequate time to prepare a defense for a death penalty case may result in the setting aside of conviction or conversion of a death sentence to life imprisonment. Imagine if because of impatience to obtain a conviction at first instance (there is automatic appeal for death penalty) and the failure to provide adequate time to prepare the case (assuming what is claimed is true) becomes the sole point of appeal which succeeds resulting in the death penalty is set aside. So the first question is would you want the person to escape his punishment just because one is impatient?

Also answer this second question. Why is there opposition to give more time if indeed there is too little time if the prosecution's case is indeed strong and the person is guilty as hell then it does not matter whether the trial begins 6 months from now or 9 months from now, the person would still be guilty.
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpy
My point on the analogy is not on whether the person is guilty or not and in fact is more relevant if the person is indeed guilty. You want to reach a particular goal (conviction) but to reach there you have to play by the rules. What is the use of obtaining a victory (conviction) at first instance if it can be overturned on appeal based on something that could have been easily corrected.

While lack of time is not something that can usually set aside a judgment, imagine if the law was changed in the future such that failure to provide adequate time to prepare a defense for a death penalty case may result in the setting aside of conviction or conversion of a death sentence to life imprisonment. Imagine if because of impatience to obtain a conviction at first instance (there is automatic appeal for death penalty) and the failure to provide adequate time to prepare the case (assuming what is claimed is true) becomes the sole point of appeal which succeeds resulting in the death penalty is set aside. So the first question is would you want the person to escape his punishment just because one is impatient?
You are reading Waaaaaaaaaaay more into my little guy with the violin than I meant. All I was saying was that I have NO SYMPATHY for him or his defense lawyers. I don't care if they have to work their butts off from now to Feburary. IMO, anyone with a heart or a conscience would not even take this case, so I don't feel sorry for them having to rush. I understand the need for defense laywers, but this case is particularly gruesome and involves an innocent little girl. She had to be petrified the whole time, but especially at the end of her life. I guess I'm taking it personal because I can't get Jessica out of my head.
I was not trying to infer that the law shouldn't be followed. Of course I want to ensure the maximum sentence the law allows (and more, but thats another subject). If that means giving them more time, I understand all that. I'm just saying that from a PERSONAL (not legal) standpoint, any hardship that Couey or his team may suffer - too darn bad!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpy
Also answer this second question. Why is there opposition to give more time if indeed there is too little time if the prosecution's case is indeed strong and the person is guilty as hell then it does not matter whether the trial begins 6 months from now or 9 months from now, the person would still be guilty.
True, but I think the family deserves closure ASAP.

Bumpy, I don't disagree with your legal standpoint. I am just looking at it from another perspective.
post #18 of 19
Three points to clarify:
1) Defense
It was stated in the article that the defense team are public defense lawyers. Each state has their own rules but generally public defense lawyers have no choice in the matter and they cannot reject a case that is sent to them. This is in contrast to the private criminal lawyers who can chose their clients.

2) Closure
It should be noted that death penalty cases takes a long time to be completed, meaning from time of the initial trial, to the execution. Usually many years and that is assuming, the person is indeed executed. Statistically person has a greater chance of dying while dealing cocaine and getting shot at by rival gang members then being on a death row in Texas (highest proportion of people who are sentenced to death being put to death).

3) Reasonable Time
I know we are not in disagreement on this point. But I just wanted to point out that about slightly more than 65% of death penalty are overturned (based on a study over several decades) mainly on procedural grounds. So if you want the conviction to stick it is better to err on the side of caution.
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeyedgirl
Defense Lawyers = Satan
The Defense Lawyers that defend clients that they KNOW are guilty I totally agree with your statement darkeyedgirl.
We all know there are plenty of defense lawyers (dare I say MOST, yes I dare) that could care less if their clients are guilty or not. Example, OJ's lawyer, and Scott Peterson's lawyer. And this pervert Couey's lawyer too.
All they care about is winning the case, not finding the truth. JMHO
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