Saturday, March 04, 2006

Dassey's defense

More on the depressing story of poor Teresa Halbach.

Wendy at Boots and Sabers comments on an AP story characterizing the allegations against Brendan Dassey in the following way: He was just delivering some mail and "ended" up raping and murdering Teresa Halbach. Like you just never know what the day will bring.

One of the ways that you compliment a criminal defense lawyer is to say that he or she can "slide." Its a useful metaphor suggesting reaction and indirection. Think of
Richard Gere tap dancing in Chicago. You work with what you got and usually it ain't much.

In Dassey's case, one ploy would be to say that his uncle threatened him and we are already hearing that. But that will only get him so far. The fact that one was threatened with death or great bodily harm is generally a defense to a criminal charge, but in the case of first degree intentional homicide, it only reduces the rap to, as they say on TV, murder two.

So maybe you have to argue that he didn't intend to kill her.

This is why most lawyers don't want to do this kind of work. Someone has to, but ....

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