DiscoverSerialS01 Episode 10: The Best Defense is a Good Defense
S01 Episode 10: The Best Defense is a Good Defense

S01 Episode 10: The Best Defense is a Good Defense

Update: 2014-12-0496
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Adnan’s trial lawyer was M. Cristina Gutierrez, a renowned defense attorney in Maryland – tough and savvy and smart. Other lawyers said she was exactly the kind of person you’d want defending you on a first-degree murder charge. But Adnan was convicted, and a year later, Gutierrez was disbarred. What happened? 

Following script is auto-generated by Speech to Text Technology:

Ontario is alway s she was at Best Buy to thirty six the new on the bruise on her the boy said her seventeen year old has no experience with this a no stress this enough it's very difficult in the early stages it is actually what happened this must be just as usual the the the world The The The The The The The from This American Life and ABC Chicago it's cereal one story told week by week and Sarah came in today's episode is mostly going to take place in the courtroom and before I get into arguments at trial I don't play you this saying from a non jury selection is to be reporter for The Baltimore Sun and I covered some trials and if I happen to be in the courtroom for jury selection was always such a good reminder of what living in Baltimore was like for so many people here I'm talking about December eighth nineteen ninety nine jury selection for nouns first trial judge William corals asks a standard question of the jury pool have you or any close family member ever been the victim of a crime conviction of a crime serve time for a crime or have pending criminal charges a lot of people rise from their seats and then lined up to talk to the judge can tell exactly what proportion of the jury pool but it looks to be at least half to come up to the husk and so I can get good morning to tell her my house was broken into and we were robbed when secure the morning I read one to come and tell me my husband was shot for this one did he's seventeen and may not parent as victims of the term has been convicting him in violation of the command to make the button to murder my pregnancy rape victim I was rather small amount of money on strike next the two zero seven point two zero seven when you come up to come the two local schools service out from the one nice as we move from a very peaceful town in Oregon to a violent community and red coral says Welcome to Baltimore Cross asks all these people whether they think they could still be impartial jurors on a non case some say now and they get dismissed some say yes and he sends them back to their seats he was on the lookout for prejudice all kinds of prejudice against cops against prosecutors against Koreans and against Muslims when God tells him he doesn't think he can be impartial because he's got a friend of the Muslim faith and he's seen him and also his son mis treat their families friends and was late and I finished radiation damage way home between him and his son got up he get mad he did times and as far into the house this brings me to something she mean told me when I first interviewed her shimmy mre Montanans mother she met her husband say yeah dream on they believe it not as innocent there's no question about it for them John's father said to me we've had no happiness in our family since that man was arrested it has been continuous torture old I don't know what to say be nice like my I mean my poor body is like numb you know I can I think the thing we know more but I know he didn't eat or what I mean how do you guys make sense of what happened how do you explain what to yourselves I mean not to the outside world to yourself How do you understand why a few we must think about the bead is the only thing you know to be you know because residents that this had to discrimination and everybody feed the whole community because it was a Muslim child this Friday took it easy for them to take and in debt that people are so you know and do you believe of course is to be two years because was easy target you know for them to come and pick him up we still don't know why doing it but again said discrimination because you're Muslim and we a minor in this country so this Friday to button them now I mean you can hear me not believing her eye the notion that the cops and prosecutors in this case were driven by anti Muslim feeling by racism and by racism alone that I found very hard to believe and I still don't believe that by the way but I didn't want to write off what she was saying either because maybe anti Muslim the scrap tin contributed in some way how the investigation and the prosecution operated certainly or inadvertently the the the the the the the the chain said she hadn't personally felt discrimination just out in the world in Baltimore before the trial and she didn't feel it after not even after nine eleven but at a hearing on an on sale status on March thirty first nineteen ninety nine she fell to the courthouse that day was packed with people from a Don's mosque the Islamic Society of Baltimore could raise tens of thousands of dollars for his defense after to put up their own houses and other properties to secure his bail in US attorneys during the Belle phase of his case or two guys named Chris floor and dug Colbert the family would hire her to tears soon after for trial Chris floor remembers the bus loads of people who came to announce bail proceedings filling the courtroom and hallways he said he'd never seen anything like it before or sense I remember almost every inch of the available standing space in the courthouse at the Wabash District Court with a bail review happened being full up with people so a lot of beards and a lot of traditional garb and many people here are people who you would only say their extended family they carry each other's children it's it's the old fashioned sense of community that stung Colbert who did the talking during this hearing as the people here to score that the doctors and teachers and lawyers and accountants and the correction officers as well as religious leaders the moms who are from different mosques here in Baltimore so that to you to hear judges here to say first of all that they commit themselves to promise to vow that they be supervised at nine should he release his bail be set but the same time they will also accompany him to court as well after he finished the Prosecutor Vicki wash took the same crowd the people dug Colbert describes a solid respectable folk who make sure none does the right thing wash cast them as a roomful of eaters and betters the same people who are likely to help a non run away to Pakistan and that's why he should get bail the enhanced from the support from the community that is what makes him unique in this case he is he because he has the resources he has the resources of the entire community here investigation reveals that he can tap resources from Pakistan as well it's our business in your honor that if you issue a bail on the new issue in the passport under the circumstances to flee the country we do not want another sign bind situation Your Honor we are asking you the story I was not a judge David Mitchell telling the big crowd to settle down sunshine is Samuel signed mine a kid who's accused of brutally killing another Maryland teenager in nineteen ninety seven and that of sound into Israel miss Y said she talked to Mr. Harry Marshall a senior legal advisor for International Affairs with the Justice Department and Mr. Marshall explained her that the US had tried unsuccessfully to extradite certain criminals from Pakistan and he cited that there is a pattern in the United States of America where the Pakistan mouse has been tilted have committed murder and has fled to Pakistan and we have done it unable to extradite them back he gave me in a specific instance that occurring now the spending in Chicago with actual pattern is frighteningly similar again it's the young Pakistan Pakistan male who was killed and five his girlfriend who fled the country and they have had no success and he indicated it would be a dim situation indeed if the defendant would flee to Pakistan we have information from an investigation that the defendant has an eye on Pakistan and he has indicated that he can make people disappear but information about the bad ass uncle I think I got that from a non science teacher I'm not kidding the cops talk to this teacher on March twenty fourth and in their notes it says the teacher Mr. Nicholson had a not as a student the year before the word brooding isn't there but it says suspect quote had an uncle in Pakistan who could make people disappear on quote under that it says they drain blood from cow at the mosque one day he was pumped so that odd tidbit for Mr. Nicholson ends up as an argument at nuns bail hearing I can find any other source for detectives or state attorney's files I looked at a non attorney made a stab at fact checking watches information one thing led to another and three weeks after that hearing is wash writes a letter to Judge Mitchell apologizing if she misled the court she said she had misconstrued information from Mr. Harry Marshall of the Justice Department she talked to him again and he made it clear that there was not a pattern of young Pakistani men committing murder after they'd been jilted and then running off to Pakistan and that other case should mention that frighteningly similar one out of Chicago quote that case parallels science case only that it involves a Pakistani male charged with murder where the victim was known to the defendant wash Road even in her apology there's an error in on is not Pakistani his American with Pakistani heritage maybe this seems like I'm parsing I don't mean to I'm only putting all this out because to me it shows how easy it is just or stereotypes in with facts all of which then gets baked into a story something like those Muslim men can't control their pride their passions to kill their lovers and flee the consequences but the full support of their families and communities that switch option E M The The The and mm obviously the state never sad and was careful not to say none did this because he's a Muslim but they did skirt this idea a few times of trial they wanted to show that this wasn't a normal high school romance that this young couple was under an of scrutiny and pressure from their families and because of nouns culture forbid the very thing he wanted that's why he reacted the way he did to the break up their various witnesses talking about what happened at the homecoming dance or how the relationship a secret Prosecutor Casey Murphy tells the jury the crime was not about love was about pride and in his opening argument you've heard this language before in an earlier episode but it bears repeating prosecutor Kevin Europe talks about how it non reacted when he broke up with them quote he became enraged he felt betrayed that his honor had been discharged and he became very angry and he set out to kill him in Lee this marched toward your cues by accident Saturday usually hear applied to a seventeen year old kid at Woodlawn High School is a word from the old country where honor killings come from and this word honor it comes up alot too for instance when I was looking through a huge set of documents from the detectives investigation I came upon a confidential report in late August of ninety nine so six months after John's arrest a woman who runs a consulting group that among its services helps law enforcement understand other cultures router port for detectives written ago very titled report on Islamic thought and culture with emphasis on Pakistan the comparative study relevant to the upcoming trial of an on site said the report is eight pages long and escape to the money shot summary as it relates to Mr. Sai ed quote for her to have another man dis honored both non sei ed and his belief structure it is acceptable for a Muslim man to control the actions of a woman by completely eliminating her quote that goes on within this harsh culture he has not violated any code he has defended his honor finally from any ethnic Pakistanis incidents like this are commonplace and Pakistan this would not have been a crime but probably a question of honor I have no idea what the cops made of this report where they looked at it and thought Oh dear and stuffed in a file never to be considered again or whether they thought huh interesting that they were at the very least in regular communication with this consultant especially during the early stages of investigation finally I noticed the J also gives a shout out to Islam during the second trial he's testifying about what happened after he picked it none of it justifies their driving back to school J says quote This is when we started to talk a little bit I don't own he said to me it kind of hurt him but not really and when someone treats him like that they deserve to die how can you treat somebody like that that you're supposed to love and then all knowing is a law Derek asks him to explain what he meant by that noun J says it's a detail Jay mentions neither to the detectives in his taped statements nor during the first trial so why now allow Only knows and reporting the story I found plenty of examples of casual prejudice against Muslims one of the nuns teachers for example quote think about what he would have been taught about women and women's rights another teacher I talked to told me she was terrified at the time that nuns relatives are going to come after her for talking to the detectives she told me she assumed his parents are evil and on that website that lists all the bodies found in the can park the author's commentary about him in these cases quote Maybe my prejudice is showing through but who in their right mind lets their daughter date a man named Adnan was sued sigh ed The The The The The The The The Jersey spoke to said man's religion didn't affect their view of the case Lisa Flynn said maybe at first interested her but then she pretty quickly realize that more to the point and I was a teenager in America doing American teenager things she said once they all understood that whatever stereotypes they had went right out the window which is exactly what you'd want in a jury but when we pressed them a little more it seems stereotypes about nuns culture were there lurking in the background I don't feel religion was why you did what he did may have been culture don't think that religion I'm not sure how the cultures over there how to treat a woman under some cultures women are second class citizens maybe that's what was I don't know I just want to control and she would give it all that stair William Owens her style Armstrong they were trying to talk about his culture in every culture mineral that when I remember hearing that one of the dreamy when you are deliberating one of the jurors said yes when we were there only the delivery so he had put it put his whole life or my lap for her you know and she wanted to loot she won a lovely more the first thing Kristina Gutierrez announced trial lawyer said in her opening statement about her client this is in the first trial was quote an understated say Ed is an American citizen he was born in this country like most American citizens she obviously knew despite what happened a jury selection that the jurors might be prone to anti Muslim anti foreigner sentiment which probably explains why she spent what seemed to me and of time during her opening talking about what an immigrant is what a mosque is what Pakistan is quote a country formed in the Arab world in the tip of the land mass called Asia and quote she talks and talks about how Don was raised about young romance the judge interrupts her four times how much longer will you be in a ski chair as five minutes Musketeers one minute miss Gutierrez she's rushing at the end rather quickly throw suspicion on to J and then finally on to Mr. ass I know I've talked about Christina chairs in earlier episodes about whether she should have talked to Asia McClain or whether her style made of grated on hers but now I'm going to address this question head on did she blow it may be surprised to hear that nuns only beef with Christina in terms of what happened a trial is that she never contacted Asia McClain he thinks it wasn't deliberate on her part he just thinks she made a mistake like a surgeon slip of the scalpel and personally she was nothing but compassionate towards them he said always asking him how he was doing she made sure he got the skin medication he needed the classes he needed she was his protector of the best till last till i mean i still she just manages to sound like a great deal of affection for Matt's really felt like things you really have much back in the news you trust you trust or the direction you choose don't completely recall please I honestly I couldn't know it could explain it not going to stand there in that situation the closest thing I can think of if you combine a doctor nurse school teacher approached her she combined all that you may have an idea of how much you know just in this year's U S established insert your life your life is really in her hands literally literally I mean she never really mentioned what her plan would be I never knew what it would be Christina died in January of two thousand for so obviously I can't ask her what her strategy was for conjuring reasonable doubt I have to go by what we've seen in her notes and in the courtroom and based on all that I can summarize or defense theory in four words someone else today such as J or the new boyfriend on or Mr as the guy who found the body after all she argued even know for sure when he died what day it could have in the thirteenth or fourteenth or fifteenth Christina wanted to show that once the cops zeroed in on and on they ignored other viable suspects so rather than pinning down an alibi for Don she dumped as much suspicion as she could on to these other players I mentioned before that announce first trial ended in a mistrial here's what happened you know is what Chris Ford described as a fighting person generally a good quality an attorney that scratchy part of Christina though sometimes it could elicit a response shall we say in the courtroom obviously it's an adversarial situation both sides in a non skates were suspicious that the other was playing fast and loose when they could and could get Presley here's Prosecutor Casey Murphy during a bench conference of the first trial before Judge corals the defense counsel calling my co counselor asshole of the town thing is he a good night here I wish I could complain to a judge every time someone call me an asshole anyway Caro says he knows Christina to be a quote pit bull on the pant leg of justice unquote but an otherwise courteous person and how about everybody just behaves themselves OK but five days later corals loses his patience with Christina it's over something small vineyard asks if he can show exhibit thirty one to the jurors the eighteen t call records from a non phone calls from Jerry twelfth thirteenth and fourteenth Christina says she hasn't seen it before Eric says that's not true she has that already stipulated to the call record she says Yeah but I hadn't actually looked at it before haven't physically seen this exhibit Cross calls him up to the bench was good years he says if you're going to stand there and lied to the jury about something that you agree could come in I'm not going for me to do that Christina says judge the fact that I agreed but he cuts are off that was a lie he told a lie I'm not going to permit you to do that that's not a lie judge I resent the implication Christina starts getting heated now Karl says Please Be quiet Please be quiet she says it's very hard to be quiet when a court is accusing me of lying I don't over do it here but it's possible that had this bench conference not happened announce whole life could've been different that first trial according to a nun to Christina's colleagues to people who are watching it seemed to be going well for an onside it was moving fast and Jason to be more on the defensive then this happened and of course jurors over her debt despite the white noise they turn on during bench conferences to muffled the sound after a break Christina asks for his trial coral says he's got a note from alternate Number four in view of the fact that you've determined that Ms Gutierrez is a liar will she be removed when we start over process to Christina your motion for mistrial was granted the the the the the the Julie Ree me it was a law clerk for Christine at this time she said moving in a trial number two Christina was confident I mean look you know the jury is polled after the first in a stake in this case and they're giving an indication they're going to quit and then you turn around and tried from a different jury and comes out completely the opposite for you guys pull the jury after the mistrial I wasn't part of it but I knew the jury was polled after the mistrial her it was by her and I believe in lockers ok Mike was about the chore but the jury was polled and it was in the states gays in the interview the jurors and they gave every indication that they were heading toward acquittal in fact it wasn't quite at the end of the state's case eighteen T expert had testified about the cell tower technology and Jen hadn't taken the stand either which is significant but it's true the jury had heard the bulk of the state's case you don't have that information we feel pretty good about that knows the defense attorney I would expect in being a troll tree most of the week I was still coursing you know keep doing the same things at the same kind of result but it just never noticed or is true different jury but also different judge slightly different arguments different weather for all we know winds blowing slightly more this way or that there are so many factors including Chance which no one wants to think about in the first degree murder case of course luck is part of a Two Way The The The The The The About a month later they start all over again the child to pursue strategies the same try to show that someone else killed had she did a lot of research in hopes of linking Mr. ass to the crime at least trying to link him to J T patronize the video store where J works for instance but she never succeeded during that second trial to take some doing but she finally gets Mr. S on the stand he so desperately didn't want to be there the courthouse staff basically to prevent him from leaving the building so even though his her witness his hostile witness here's Christina trying to get him to explain how work orders at his job got filled if you could get to the pace of job do it at the Tam can't do that and do get to Mass the next set whenever the the stuff you wouldn't the the uh it's a yes from the workday don't relief of course Mr. S was more of a side dish Christina's main prey with J She tells the judge the urge is sore and tired the Jays a person with this strong all the ways in which he acted guilty in fraud waste and thank Him that she acted with consciousness of guilt by concealing evidence his clothes his boots his outer coat his shot was liking shovels to conceal evidence as he said in a statement en un come across to conceal evidence of his involvement or cedar cross examine J on five different days she was exhaustive and exhausting her questions are detailed and deliberate but somehow the way she questioned him and maybe it was the half speed pacing or the sing song the aggression somehow to me it added up to something less than effective her punches and there were many many punches don't always appear to land the prosecution just like a masterful job of presenting the facts and non says Christina actually he calls him is good here as that is good here as did do some great things for him to successful and barring the school nurse from testifying in a second trial for instance that was a woman who said she thought in on was faking his reaction after his death but he says he wishes some of her arguments had been clear the state's argument flawed as it might've been it was at least linear he likes to hear politicians saying that she would say it was a clear outline the prosecution just feel like everything was kind of jumble which the sole question Jay Soul and Prophet that people just like it was always like to learn what we started talking about how you kind of lose the thread of what what is a scene right now yeah right right to give you an idea in J's first and second tape statements to detectives he tells them different stories about when a nun first told him he was going to kill hay in the first a man he says that none mentions it that same day January thirteenth while they're driving in on back to school at lunchtime in the second tape statement he says a non told him the night before and also that not even talking about it for four or five days already when he testifies at trial though he goes back to the first version that he first heard about it from an on the thirteenth so obviously Christina questions J about all this is fertile territory for her side listen as she does it this tape goes on for awhile by the way but I want you to get the full effect the the uh the the ER for a walk to the Yes Men In the the need for the first in her hand to hold him in there since the US and the occasional The The The The The The case we were on its home in the name in the the scene the more she leaves to the the the more you told the the tall salute that he was killed that is just the the the you actually told the dinero o The The The muse You know the unit's posts and I the no sew something just happened J just admitted something or didn't admit something but I honestly can't tell if it's a point for the defense or for the prosecution or for
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S01 Episode 10: The Best Defense is a Good Defense

S01 Episode 10: The Best Defense is a Good Defense

This American Life