Wednesday, July 30, 2008

You gotta know when to hold em...

They say that the best trial lawyers are good gamblers.

Well, Bill Barzee and Joel Denaro took a huge gamble today, which almost paid off big. After a week of trial before Judge Jordan, the jury was deadlocked. Barzee and Denaro decided to ask for a majority-wins verdict. Jordan said that if the prosecutor, Frank Tamen, would agree the Court would accept the non-unanimous decision. Tamen said no. So mistrial.

What was the vote, you ask.

7-5 for acquittal...

Conventional wisdom from the defense bar is to always require a unanimous verdict; never agree to majority wins. Typically, it's the government, not the defense, that requests such a jury decision.

Dear readers, what do you think about the conventional wisdom? About the Barzee/Denaro gambit? Better to live to fight another day? Or take the verdict with the first trial, your best shot at victory?

Here's some of the Herald article on the case:

Federal prosecutors in Miami have failed to secure a conviction of a man who -- according to his own lawyers -- smuggled enormous amounts of cocaine into the United States from Colombia.
The reason: The feds were unable to prove to the jurors' satisfaction that the crimes of Hernan Prada occurred within the statute of limitations.
As a result, jurors split 7-5 on Tueday in favor of acquittal, forcing U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan to declare a mistrial in the trial of Hernan Prada.
Prosecutors are expected to retry Prada, who authorities said once ran an international enterprise that pulled in hundreds of millions of dollars a year, as soon as next month.
During the seven-day trial, it was never in dispute that Prada at one time oversaw shipments of cocaine from Colombia to the United States. Even his lawyers conceded that point.
However, that was not enough for a conviction. The underlying issue of the case was this: Did the alleged Colombian drug-cartel kingpin plan or execute any deals after July 2, 1999, when the statute of limitations in his case would have expired?
When it became clear that a unanimous verdict was unlikely, the defense took an enormous chance.
At Prada's urging, attorneys William Barzee, Joel Denaro and Jelani Davis petitioned the court for a rarely used provision: a non-unanimous verdict. At the time of the proposal, it was not known which side had the most jurors in its corner.
All that was needed to declare guilt or innocence in such a case was a simple majority.
Jordan considered the proposal. Assistant U.S. attorney Frank Tamen dismissed it immediately. Later, it became clear that Prada would have walked if the prosecution had agreed.
''Our instinct was right,'' Denaro said. ``It would have been spectacular if they had agreed. It was really intense.''


Anonymous said...

I am just sick to my stomach.

In 2006 that looney JA was attacking Judges, even calling them anti Semitic names and yes that was all about the last name because Juan made it that way. He was a hater. Now this year you all want to play the same deck of cards but one player is not at the table and that’s Juan. Without Juan dealing the cards you all are nothing but exactly what I disliked about Juan in 2006, HATERS!!

I have news for you - this town has over one million two hundred thousand Latins, compared to only a half a million white’s. This is a town of citizens who come from different parts of Latin America and for any white person to diss any one of these citizens based on there last name for running for a public office is disgusting!

This is America and we should be proud that young people can rise to the level to one day seek public office. To slam them because of there last name is purely hate trash talk. Go back to the day when some of the old timers first ran for Judge. When the Jewish vote dominated you will see they too were young lawyers fresh out of law school. Judge Cohen is a perfect example she had less time as a lawyer then Denise Martiunez when she took office.

So what gives?

The Miami Herald is losing readers at a rate so fast that they just cut half there staff. This blog is run by a old timer who I can bet is not Latin. The world is changing and it’s time to realized in Miami Florida, Latin people good and bad are the majority citizens of this community and if you do not like it move to Broward.

I for one loss all respect for the Herald when I read the Cohen endorsement. Because they were not even honest. They could not even mention the admitted to comments made by Judge Cohen about Cuban’s. Why? Also the Herald could not just simply endorse they had to slam the opposition. WHY? Those old timers at the Herald need to get a clue or lose more readers at an alarming rate.

In 2006, I supported Faber, Leifman, Schwartz, etc; because I felt it was about hate towards the Anglo candidates. This time around the shoe may be on the other foot.

Anonymous said...

unless you were in court, difficult to say barzee/denaro move was good or bad.

Grey Tesh said...

If you have a strong case and a good feeling from the jury, go for it. Good move for Barzee/Denaro.

Anonymous said...

Hard to disagree when they were right. History will tell. If jury comes back guilty next time, well, the move was on the mark. Great stuff.

Anonymous said...

Denaro and Barzee kicked ass!! Great call on their part.

Brent Del Gaizo

Anonymous said...

Brilliant move-only cause they were right....

Anonymous said...

this was no gamble young marcus..