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Fawcett's files
Tue Mar 28, 2017 22:25

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 weeks later).

There may also be a quaint notion that the client's files belong to the client--not the lawyer. Perhaps the lawyer may assert a lien on the fee, but then there is always a danger of performing legal work before being paid. Ask any lawyer who have ever done any private practice.

The Bronx files were important enough for the NJ defense team to actually file a suit to get them.

As to actual harm in NJ from Fawcett's action in the Bronx: the defense witnesses, especially those who constituted the crime-night alibi, weren't they confronted with "sworn" testimony? Would you say a prior inconsistent statement given "under oath" and being read out as part of cross-examination impeachment is relatively strong evidence? If there had been no Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, there would not have been any such sworn impeachment material.

I don't think we can say about the insanity defense. It rarely works except in very unusual cases (NY v. Harry Thaw) or in obvious cases where the proof of insanity is clear. Perhaps, Fawcett didn't have adequate time to suggest insanity, but then that wouldn't have been relevant to the Bronx hearing. I doubt that Hauptmann would have consented to an insanity defense in the first place.

As to Reilly, he waited until after the trial to sue for his fee--he did not withhold substantive material during the trial as Fawcett did. Even though the NY courts recognized the validity of the Fawcett lien, they also recognized the value of that material to Hauptmann in making his defense. We didn't have Gideon then, but certainly any competent defense attorney or public defender would raise that issue now if for no other reason than to delay the trial so they could further prepare.

I agree about Fawcett not knowing about the wood evidence. Koehler's name did not appear in the decennial digest of the Minnesota case, so the defense would not have known of his previous testimony in a murder case.

I don't recall saying that Fawcett "seems to have truly believed that his Client was guilty of the essential elements of the crime." I simply said that if one employs a "confession and avoidance" guilt, it indicates that the defense feels the prosecution has a case so strong as to make that the only defense available. No one knows whether Hauptmann confessed to Fawcett. I doubt he did. Fawcett can only give his estimate of the evidence to the extent he has all the information he could get. He didn't.

We don't know what Fawcett told Hauptmann. However, we do know that Fawcett introduced inculpatory evidence handed him by the prosecution without understanding it was inculpatory--without even knowing what it was or apparently even looking at it before he made it an exhibit.

Knowing what you know today, would you have waived extradition for Hauptmann?

  • Fawcett's FilesAnonymous, Tue Mar 28 17:03
    "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
    • Fawcett's files — Anonymous, Tue Mar 28 22:25
      • Extradition etcAnonymous, Thu Mar 30 15:21
        "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
        • Fawcett, extradition, illegal detainment, etcAnonymous, Sat Apr 1 09:55
          You make many good points. Hauptmann would have faced serious charges had he remained in NY. The Sup CT of the US was really only beginning to look at the conduct of attorneys--the court that... more
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