You should always put the odds in your favor. You look for the easier argument. A statement to the police in the pressurized environment of a police precinct is easier to attack than the atmosphere of an open court with a lawyer present to attack the police or prosecutors' conduct. It's easier to suggest to the jury that police pressure came to bear on the response to the question rather when it was made in open court subject to cross-examination (and supposedly protection) by a defense attorney.
I agree somewhat with your observations about Fawcett "yielding easily", but I think Hauptmann's lawyers would rather contest unsworn, undefended statements in the DA office or the police precinct house than statements made under oath in open court.
The extradition--not really an extradition as Dekle-Dedman explain--was a disaster for Hauptmann and Reilly (and team). Reilly had to sue Fawcett for access to his notes and the "extradition" testimony and didn't have access to it until two weeks into the New Jersey trial. Do you think that might have made the job of the New Jersey team more difficult?
The key advantage the Fawcett mistake (first taking on the burden of proof in the Bronx by having to "go first"; then by giving Wilentz a trial run at the key Hauptmann defense witnesses) was only part of the problem. Fawcett withheld vital information from Reilly that certainly would affect defense trial strategy.
"How it matters" is a dynamic and affects the avenues--indeed the construct of the very questions--posed at trial in NJ.
I tend to agree with you that the outcome would probably not be affected or different. But certainly having the advantage of the opposition game plan is a distinct advantage. The question regarding Fawcett in a legal sense is "did his conduct have a material effect on the adequacy of Hauptmann's defense chances at trial"? Despite the volume of evidence presented at trial in NJ, one must answer the posed question "Yes"--it did have an effect. It gave the prosecution an advantage rarely seen in criminal trials. This is why Fawcett probably should have let Hauptmann go to NY without the "dress rehearsal" it provided Wilentz.
It may be the difference between asserting "the police didn't give you time to think" versus "You've had time to think about this before today's hearing, haven't you?"
The maxim is "you don't make the other side's job easier". Fawcett gave the other side both an advantage and a disadvantage. The NJ team did not make use of either one. They didn't complain about Fawcett's bungling, and they put the "extradition" witnesses on the stand to have the "extradition" testimony thrown into their faces.
Fawcett, in retrospect, provided ineffective assistance in NY, and the NJ defense provided ineffective assistance by not pointing out Fawcett's misconduct. Ineffective assistance, at least today, trumps "beyond a reasonable doubt evidence". The card was there to be played--it wasn't played. The "extradition" hearing worked to Wilentz' advantage--why give him that advantage?
"severely damaged Hauptmann's chances [at the NJ Trial]" But if Fawcett had yielded easily on the issue of Extradition and let him go without a fight, what would really have changed? Ten more minutes ... more
Fawcett's action in resisting sending Hauptmann to NJ by filing a petition would not be the chief basis of a claim of ineffective assistance, although it might add "make weight" evidence to the... more
"It took a lawsuit and a court order (to get Fawcett's Files). The trial was already in progress when the NJ defense got the file." It is hard to fathom the actual forensic value of Fawcett's Files... more
So, perhaps we disagree as to the value of the NJ defense having had the Bronx materials ahead of time. However, the State had the Bronx transcript of the testimony and the defense did not (until two ... more
"Knowing what you know today, would you have waived extradition for Hauptmann?" This kind of question violates a variety of time-travel considerations. Parlor game machinations. I think we can agree... more