S1E : Case Evidence 05.15.17
Take a deeper look at the evidence as experts discuss new developments in the case.
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for Ryan's defense attorney waived his arraignment entered an automatic plea of not guilty the question is just a formality was Ryan of the tree preparing for trial for the evidence this day has against Ryan do we don't really know mostly as a result of this gag order but they still we do know it's safe to say whatever testimony produce give the GBI was certainly incriminating Ryan will likely be used against him in a trial but what if Ryan didn't do with the state is alleging or what the rules of Ryan Duke and the Dukes were reversed with the presumption of innocence Ryan to proceed with the not guilty plea goes to trial his defense look like the stand a chance of getting off today we're going to speak with an experienced defense attorney Ashleigh merchant to help answer some of these tough questions this case evidence the the the the the uh the uh the the the the so my niece Ashley were checked and I'm a criminal defense attorney in the Atlanta Georgia area I do primarily serious only work I guess just the sort of speaking more generally explain me what innocent till proven guilty is what the importance of his words come from what is it guess it's fine because everybody thinks this until proven guilty is a concept that follows you throughout an entire criminal case and it doesn't isn't evidence standard at trial that it pre trial there's really no assumption in favor of a defendant in the midst of the laws are a little bit pro state and less pro defendant but then once you get to trial the state has to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and that's where we say innocent until proven guilty because the state has that burden at trial just find enough evidence that you did a crime and to convince twelve people that you've done this crime beyond a reasonable doubt and so it's it's really just an evidence standard that we have a trial why is it is proven guilty as you say importer in this particular case with what we know with the gag order we don't know and all the possibilities so innocent till proven guilty is very important in this case particularly because there's not a lot of evidence and there's a lot of alternative theories and so any time there's alternative theories that the judge will tell the jury that not only does the state have to prove him guilty let's see Ryan for example Ryan Duke has to prove him guilty beyond reasonable doubt but they also have to disprove all reasonable alternative theories and said that what that means is if the defense as you know look at this guy let's look at Bo Duke's for example let's say maybe he did the state also not only has to prove Ryan Duke did it they also have to disprove that Bo Duke's could have done it says Alan works they can do can present other theories and they have to disprove those there is does they can present other theories but they have to be reasonable theories so the defense can get up there and they can argue other alternative reasonable theories to the jury and it's really up to the jury to determine if those are reasonable theories so you know a lot of that strategy decision for defense lawyer you don't want to get up there and say some far fetched crazy story because then the jury just doesn't believe but if you have a reasonable plausible alternative you can present that in my experience it's not going to get up there and say Oh there's ten other people that could have done this it makes more sense for you as a defense attorney as the defense to try and focus on actual reasonable theory and put that theory fourth and the state have to disprove that theory so in this case for example Bo Duke's you could put forth that as a theory that he's actually the mastermind and he's actually the one that did it and then the state will have to focus on dis proving that theory if they would take that stance how does that affect the prosecution's plan and their whole game plan for everything if there are whole prosecution relies entirely on Bo Duke's testimony against Ryan if Ryan Dukes defense is that Blue Dukes to how does that work in the courtroom has that effect their case all the prosecution is putting all of their eggs in the boutiques basket so their whole case is based on his credibility what he has led them to what he has said happens and so they've got to try and find somewhat weaker operating evidence to corroborate his story things that make his story more likely to be true they've got to bolster his reputation they've got to say that he's been consistent and that he doesn't have a motivation to lie and then on the flip side the defense has to say you know what he actually does have a motivation to lie and there actually are holes in his story and this is why we think the Dukes is not telling the truth this is why we think he's not worthy of belief in a big thing that the defense might use is the fact that he has prior criminal convictions one for example he's got a theft so he's a prior convicted felon and he's got a theft case and as they've alleged in the indictment in this case the state thinks that the motive was that they put that in the indictment they put in the indictment for the felony murder counts that it was a burglary with the intent to commit a theft inside the house so clearly they've got some evidence we don't know what that some evidence that there were some theft with that though Duke's makes a lot of sense because he has prior theft convictions were Ryan Duke has none and so that's something that would be very reasonable for the defense argue so can they bring up his past criminal record as part of the defense definitely when Bo Duke's takes the stand his criminal record becomes relevant and it becomes admissible evidence and so he's got a prior felony conviction for theft fraud things like that and said that actually something that would be admissible at trial they can actually put in a certified copy of his conviction in his sentence and they can cross examine him on it Megan also another thing that I think is something that I personally would do is use his immunity agreement used what he would be facing if he was in Ryan Dukes sees what if the tables were turned and said When you cross examined though you would question him about you know if you hadn't come forward if you were the one thing in Ryan's chair you would be facing a life without parole sentence you would be facing a murder charge and so that we the jury understands what Ryan's facing and they understand the Bo might have to turn the tables because he's put himself in a significantly better position by being the first one to come forward he now got immunity right how do meals working mean in the courtroom where you immune from mean anything everything how's that work is in a written piece of paper is a handshake agreement in this case seems like there was deftly some sort of deal on the table because Bo confess that one of his friends which ended up in our hands so what could that be in and how could that possibly change in the future based on his behavior the agreements are really depending on how good your lawyer is quite frankly and what your lawyer can get from the district attorney is a contract that you're negotiating negotiating terms of it as a defense lawyer you want to be broad you wanted to cover just about everything you wanted to cover what we call derivative use is well you want it to cover what you admit to doing and what they find based on much of it needed to do so even if you don't say everything in the first interview you want to make sure that what they find later on their claim I've done that also covered in the immunity agreement so his agreement is very broad and covers a lot of different grounds you never want to have an immunity agreement just as a handshake you want in writing is to be a contract and see something that's on paper because the jury is great to see it so when they go to trial in Ryan's case the jury will have a right to see Bo's immunity agreement and look at that and say you know that that's his motivation for testifying he's testifying in exchange for this deal it's no different than if a defendant took a plea deal and they testified in exchange for the plea deal you want to set out the parameters exactly what you have to do to get the immunity and a lot of times the problem with plea agreements if you take a deal in exchange for the plea agreement is the prosecution lists the condition that you have to give truthful testimony all then when you get up on the stand who determines if you're telling the truth and if you don't say what the prosecution wants to hear they think you're lying and the Voyager deal because they said that's not what we think is the truth and say You're not giving truthful testimony or as defense maybe we think they're telling the truth so that those can turn on what the actual trial testimony ends up being in community but also very easily lose that it seems like you can you can lose that if you're found to be lying if they determine that when you testify you're not telling the truth you can actually lose that so it is it set in stone as soon as they sign a piece of paper and say OK here's the deal but until then it's not really I mean in my past experience I've just kind of scene that seems like police officers are allowed to lie to you as part of their investigative a way of doing things so they just we'll be able to ever sign anything now we don't have a deal possible I mean they don't have anything signed its ironclad yes you could definitely get out of it they can definitely back out of it and that's the problem of having an oral agreement are having an agreement that's not extremely broad you also want to factor in the fact that the federal authorities can charge him and so you want to make store that any agreement you've got is a defense lawyer free to protect your client includes the federal authorities coming forward and charging him with some type of crime as any if you think the body over county lines you can implicate certain federal statutes and say you could actually end up with some federal charges as well the the with photos of the day on all the latest trends in name brands you never have to leave your house is also the style and fitting expert using actual data to perfect your fit better than any other retailer even if you're expecting also offer stylish maternity clothes that you are ever changing size for nine months is mini tote as you want simply wear return repeat my wife uses a toad she loves it she had to say about her latest photo box in the inbox I got a shirt that was great because I opened it at night not knowing I was in a way to work the next day and I just put that on board to contract it's definitely one of my favorite things to look to dock on L E T O T E dot com get started for as low as thirty nine dollars a month right now you can use the promo code case you get fifty percent off your first month what you sign up to receive your completely customized tote within days again the photo dock on promo code case the So in your personal opinion we know that Ryan Duke has pled not guilty sort of what explain what's going on with the thing's going to be witty all means write so he was indicted and he's pled not guilty to the indictment is interesting to me because it's very vague it doesn't actually include a whole lot of information it talks about him using his hand which is odd because in Georgia aggravated assault normally is not with a hand with an objects normally is with a gun or with a hammer or a rock you know something I mean in a home situation may be picking up a lamp you know something that would actually cause and had blunt force trauma hand other than strangulation is not usually the cause of death and so in this case is interesting that they're putting that he caused the death with his hand but they're not telling anymore so I think if his lawyer challenges this indictment will probably be successful because it doesn't give enough information an indictment has to give you enough information in order to prepare for the defense in order to prepare for what it defend against what is your keys to doing saying that Hillary the hand that doesn't tell you anything no not no I thought it was super strange I've had kind of makes views and feelings about whether it's on or whether it's normal I thought it was really weird it is one of the most vague indictments I've seen and so that's why I think it would not stand up to a challenge because the indictment has to put you on notice as to what is your space to defend against it doesn't have to tell you every little detail or every little bit of evidence but it has to tell you how the government thinks you did this we say Ryan use attorney can challenge the indictment the meaning challenged in court when he's defending himself against what he's being accused of or challenge the indictment before it goes to trial before the trial we actually have something in Georgia it's called a demure and what that means that means to quiet the indictment it's kind of a quash the indictment the Latin term for squashing the indictment he can trying squash this indictment which means get rid of it it's essentially getting it dismiss the indictment dismissed now if he's successful with that they have another bite of the apple so let's say his lawyer files that to me or that motion to quash this indictment wins the indictment squash the DA has to go to another injury and trying get another night they have two bites of the apple is this indictment is in good and is thrown out they can go back and trying another indictment and that next indictment they could add more information so if Einstein was successful doing that then would Ryan to be released in between the period of that second indictment he claimed he could technically be released but what would most likely happen is the DA would go quickly to the grand jury and get another indictment they could even get the second indictment before this one was dismissed it's extremely vague and does not tell us enough I mean normally they're not very detailed but they at least tell us the manner in which the death happened they tell us what you know died as result of a gunshot wound died from blunt force trauma by a hammer I mean those are things are examples died by strangulation these are examples of what an indictment normally says it says how the death occurred as I can tell you all the evidence is not going to tell you this whole theory it's going to tell you what they think happened and how the death occurred this doesn't say that it just says cause the death by using his hands or his hand that doesn't tell us anything using his hand I mean is deceased regular you know that you have to put strangulation if it's choking by using his hands in a joking manner hand in and of itself is not an offensive weapon and in Georgia to be what they're they're alleging the object has to be an offensive weapon and so that's why normally you would see a gun you would see a knife you would see you know rock you would see him or whatever it is hand has to be used in a joking manner to be an offensive weapon he doesn't say that it doesn't say anything so we don't know and quite frankly the government may not know how she died you know they they may have a statement from from Ryan from Bo and they don't have a body and so without a body it's very hard to determine the manner of death don't they have to know how they'd hide if you're going to convince a jury that somebody killed something they do they have to have a theory as to how the person died and how Ryan made that happen how he affects weight of the killing and so the fact that they don't have anything in this indictment tells me they don't know or they don't want people knowing but they're taking a chance by making an indictment is this vague that doesn't have information because they could lose this indictment so why would they make is a vague why is the in their benefit to do that or is it all it isn't their benefit to do it and if if the defense attorney doesn't challenge the way that is in their benefit is if they go to trial but said the defense attorney does a challenge this and this indictment is to try and climb the state has to prove what they allege an indictment said the government always wants to put as little as possible in the indictment because they got to prove it whatever it is they say happened they've got to prove it so they put strangulation they got her she died by strangulation so they want to put as little as possible but they still have to put enough in to tell the defense and the defendant what they're accusing him of doing so it's a fine line so the benefit for them by not putting extra information is at trial they don't have to prove that they leave to prove it here right now all they've got to prove is that he caused her death by using a hand that said they don't have a murder weapon they don't have a cause of death have to many of those things they just have to have some link between him causing the death and his hand to have to prove how hitting somebody with your hand could kill them if that's what they're alleging but we don't know then that's the whole point why these indictments of eight we don't know what they're saying he had or we don't know if they're saying that he used his hand and did some pressure point you know it where you can hit a certain vein in there so many different ways that you could use your hand if you're highly trained him you could use your hand to kill someone they may be used as hand and knew exactly how to hit her spleen causes playing the lead I mean there's so many different theories but the state by not putting that in there they're not stuck with that so they're not stuck with proving a certain way so they may not know quite frankly where does the information of Ryan to being inside her house and using one hand come from the first place you think I think the name comes from Beau and I think it comes from Ryan I think those people talked I think they probably have hearsay from other folks broke a one of the reward I mean different people who heard different stories they probably have a lot of different here say that they've pieced together to formulate what they think happened and now they're trying to get the evidence to prove that to corroborate that's the cry breeding evidence and quite possibly the glove that they found at the scene it probably was never tested for AI and its DNA Bo was in the system though had DNA in the system because he's a convicted felon Ryan is not so if they did find DNA on that love they never would have tested against Ryan so now he is arrested they can get a search warrant for his DNA and they can run and see if his DNA is on that love and that would be something that they would be looking for to corroborate the story is they said that he was at the scene I would think that at this point they're probably running a lot of DNA and one thing that's important also is it guys mean a lot of advances in DNA ten years ago they had I called touch DNA amplification type of DNA they had a ten years ago the GBI didn't do it they only had places that you know certain labs around the country today at a high high cost well now GBI has the ability to do that and so they actually can get DNA from a touch were used to be had to leave semen saliva blood now they can get from skin cells so it's it's pretty amazing that they could get it if let's say there was a hat that was left at the scene they could take the brim of the hat where the skin and the sweat would be and they can actually test for DNA so use that as the bluff if they had a finger print media partial or something a fingerprint they can actually take that skin cell from the fingerprint and tested for DNA so it's likely that whatever story the GBI is saying in this indictment right here either came from Ryan do Bo Duke's or both let's say that Ryan Duke in some capacity did confess to the Les sages being inside her house or whatever vague information they have here or even confessed to killing Tara ok tell me what you know about false confessions or even if Ryan due to confess to killing terror or being in her house or whatever incriminating him in this indictment Kenny take it back what if he was pressured what's the deal is a very fascinating area of the law because people tend to injury situation they tend to believe that the defendant admitted to doing something that they did it they have a hard time thinking that someone would lie and put themselves in harm's way but we actually see it happen all the time and there's a psychology around it when you have a police officer interviewing you repeatedly you want to help them and they're very good they're trained and getting information out there not necessarily training getting accurate information out there trying to getting information and so they are asking you questions in a manner that makes you want to help them and makes you think that if you tell them what they want to hear you're going to get some benefit from that and so a lot of times when people are in those situations it's high stress they've been accused of something awful they are in police custody they're uncomfortable they're you know exhausted their vulnerable very vulnerable to be telling things that mean not necessarily be the truth and so a lot of times the story is told to them repeatedly by the police version that the police when here and they must adopt that as they're around and say We see a couple different types of false confessions we see ones where the police have told a story and the defendant just says yes that's what happened but the defendant never actually says in his own words his or her Mart's so those dislike the plea saying you know I know what happened this is what happen isn't it and you have an exhausted stressed out defendant who sitting there and sometimes an educated feeble minded sometimes sitting there and police are saying we know this is what happened and they just agree yes you know they're just tired and so it's one of those things that if someone asks you enough times you may just give in at the end you may just say ass yes that's what happened can I go now and so we see that as one had a false confession we also see in Georgia a lot because of how our evidence laws are written we see a defendant who may be makes an admission and then takes a back and what the rules of evidence say is that only the part that whether confessing to the crime actually comes in a trial so the part where they are not confessing that doesn't come in for example at a case where my client wanted something from the police they were holding his daughter Annie wanted his daughter to go back and his wife's custody so he's telling the police what I need to tell you for us to get our daughter back they said you need to tell is this so he told them that and then they left the Randy tells the camera I just lied to them and I I mean all that none of that's true because I wanted my daughter back when my wife to my daughter back I didn't wanna go into state custody but at trial the only part that was admitted was the part where he said he did the explanation as to why he lied to the police that was an admitted said the jury is laugh hearing the confession and not the part where he says you know actually lied and this is why I'd love to do that they're allowed to do that they're allowed to take excerpts of what you said and say Hey this is what matters the other stuff to worry about yes and they actually do that all the time they have a confession any part of a confession that help the defendant is considered self serving hearsay and they're not allowed to bring that and I mean we're not allowed to bring that is the defense of the state tries to get out there successful keeping out that's what our law says and so you're only hearing the bits and pieces of the confession that support the government's case you're not hearing the bits and pieces of the confession that don't support the government's case and so you know a lot of times with these false confessions it wasn't even really a false confession it was that nobody ever heard the whole thing they only heard bits and pieces that help the government wow how you can screw into happens based on the way works for the day I mean that's one of the reasons I get a lot of clients who come in they may be completely innocent they want to go until the police what happened when the police anything because it's never going to help you write is not to have an attorney right that's why you have an attorney or attorney can draw from those experiences and tell you that innocent people think you should go and tell the truth you know when the police call them and say Hey we want to hear your sad story they want to go tell it what they don't realize are all these intricate details where the trees can be manipulated somehow if it benefits the government's case and said That's why you have to be really cautious and I mean quite frankly I'm of the opinion that I don't let my clients not to the police I hate that because I think it stunts the truth seeking but at the same time I just don't trust that the whole story went out and I'm just always worried that they're only getting a part of it so we see that this case you know Ryan may have made some admissions that weren't true that he thought if he made those admissions he was going to go home or he thought he was going get a better deal or something like that and so when the jury hears a confession at trial there's oftentimes a backstory that they're not hearing about from the confession that the defendant was promised something else I promise to go home promises family when we harass promised they would let a witness to you know whatever it is a lot of hymns the jury hearing and so they think the confessions confessions if Randy confess to the GBI during interview that obviously happened without his attorney present because it's to appoint attorney to begin with does that change rethinking the use that of course a you know what to have to do with Etsy before the interview starts to make that confession legitimate and what things do attorneys used to say hey this was not done properly it's very hard to get a confession turn is next to impossible you have got to have a client who is astute enough to say I want I'm not talking to you anymore I mean pretty much otherwise it is ambiguous at all your requests for an attorney or hey talk and then you decide to start talking again in all of that comes and sits very difficult for us to actually get confession thrown out of court because of Miranda or failure to do Marie and I mean it's just it's almost impossible because what happens as the police are able to ask a lot of questions when they're investigating without Miranda and then down this case that would apply because he was under arrest at the time but if he didn't have a lawyer he was under arrest and he signed something saying he wanted to talk to them his statements are pretty much coming in unless he specifically said I want a lawyer he's pretty much get his statements and write the question How Well Did You Sleep Last Night most Americans get less than the recommended seven eight hours than I used to be me but now every single night giving the best of my life only because of one reason my sleep number bed number setting thirty five my wife who sits right next to me to have her own setting and have this thing called sleep IQ technology that tracks are sleeping patterns of numbers been rates highest in customer satisfaction with mattresses by J D Power two years in a row now it's no secret that this is the best mattress out there right now is the best time to come to a sleep number store because they are having a semi 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the killing and so I would be looking for whatever I could find as to why all the sudden would come forward and make this statement is untrue statement that Ryan did it and bow was just after the fact accessory what is it in those life that would have cost him to do this is the thief did he have money problems was financially motivated did he have some love affair a terrorist you know it was there some other motivation why would he have done that I would be developing evidence to show the other reasonable theory that Bo could actually be the one that did this more have you seen that before where the roles are reversed like that I mean this to mean seems like cereal and J is Bo it is I mean it's just in Syria where even the first person who comes forward and says their story is believe I mean if you have kids in your kids aren't necessarily honest and truthful and they can cause a mass and you bring in you say you know hate it when you cause a mass who did this there are certain types of people that one of them is going to say oh he did it because the first person to confess or tell a story you believe and then after that story comes out after you know one kid says the other kid did it you're backtracking to try and undo the story yeah exactly you believe the first story the police form their case around the first story and so it takes a lot of evidence to undo whatever theory it is that they're trying to advance so once they formulate their theory they're locked into that absent some you know huge exaggerating evidence something huge DNA not matching something their minds are looking for things to support that theory and so by Bo coming forward first it's unfortunate because you certainly don't want to encourage you know in this iteration of the kids you don't encourage one of your children to lie on the other child you know but that's what we're doing and we're essentially doing our simply encouraging Bowen people like though to come forward and tell their story first because then they get a good deal and so we want people to tell the truth but at the same time we're encouraging people to come forward and give their version of the truth that helps them early on the case and you see the slices and cereal you saw in that case you see in jailhouse snitch is all the time there's informants in the jailhouse and it's amazing to me the juries believe that an inmate is going to tell his roommate everything that happens and then that roommate is going to call the DA up and say I know that so and so can
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