Thomas Gaumer
Fitch ethical/lying problems and legal skill
Mon Sep 9, 2019 00:54

Now, you may have a record of Fitch's lack of character, dedication to winning at any cost, and lying, but, though controversial at times, I have not seen the case made. And I disagree that the Spicer hearing provides evidence of any of the above. He was a colorful character, "a felicitous skirmisher with a pen" to quote Mark Twain, and tough in the courtroom. I'd like to know more about him.

[[[ You might like the book he wrote about some of his experiences. If you havenít read it I can get the title for you]]]

[[[ You definitely do not want the record of one California trial he participated in. The corruption was covered at some length. Ask KtK about it.]]]

A lie involves a deliberate intent to deceive.


Asking a question about something that turns out to be untrue is not lying.

[[[ If it attempts to introduce something false into the case, it is lieing}}}

It fact it may well be the opposite--a determined effort to determine the truth. If a rumor is widely circulated, a lawyer is almost certain to ask about it, especially if the rumor is potentially harmful to his client or might prove valuable to the client.

[[[ Did you intentionally leave out a rumor that is damaging to the witness or the lawyers opponents case and that is very likely false?]]]

The rumor that Ike Clanton sent for help was fair game. I'm inclined to
think he did not, but if I were the Earps' attorney I would certainly have asked about it.

[[[This was discussed in this thread and there is no information backing it up. The wording of the questions shows Fitch was making it up. Fitch was trying to insert the lie that the cowboys were sending for help and the Earpís were under attack or about to be from all sides. Keep in mind sending telegrams to Clantons or McLauryís at Charleston wonít do much good as they donít live there.]]]

Did Ike Clanton accquire a pistol at Spangenberg's? That too is a legitimate question. You assume that Virgil or Wyatt or both saw what transpired inside the shop. Virgil approached the shop after the cowboys entered it, using the pretext of removing Frank's horse from the side walk. Wyatt went to back him up. While Virgil was clearly checking on what was happening, you and I have no way of knowing what they saw. And Fitch had every right to ask the question.

[[[You are misstating what I said about Virgil and Wyatt and leaving out other points I made on this issue. I did not assume Wyatt or Virgil saw what happened with regard to Ike and a gun inside the shop. Both Virgil and Wyatt said they looked into the shop and saw who was in there. One of them said he saw Frank helping Billy fill his belt with cartridges. So we know some of what they saw in the shop and seeing Ike with a gun was not one of those things they mentioned. That was one point of the several on this question you ignored.

Similarly, asking a witness if Tom was carrying a weapon under his shirt was a reasonable question to ask.

[[[You are misstating this question also. Billickie was asked if he saw Tom in POSSESSION of a Firearm going in or coming out of the butcher shop? Billickie said no in both cases. Billickie is then asked or reminded that he is to speak about Tomís POSSESSION of concealed firearms. Billickie now has his cue and of course he now saw Tom in likely POSSESSION of concealed firearms. Focus on the word POSSESSION which didnít exist until he was reminded and then it did.]]]

It was not cheating to use a law which allowed defendants to prepare written statements at preliminary hearings. That's called smart preparation.

[[[I never said anything different but since you brought it up it gave the witness, in this case Wyatt, a chance to lie his head off if he wished as his statement could not be objected to.. Also this right to unchallenged and uncrossed statement was done way with by Arizona 25 years or so later

In none of the cases you cite was Fitch lying. He was trying to elicit information and raise doubts about the prosecution's witnesses. That is what lawyers do. The prosecution had the responsibility of objecting or raising the issues on cross-examination. I'll guarantee you that Fitch would have objected to the silly question. All of the defense questions you raised before were directly related to the events and actions that transpired on the day of the fight.

[[[Fitch was trying to introduce likely false information into his questions to raise doubt. As we agree earlier that is lieing. Because the Prosecution did not object or resist does not make it any less of a lie.]]]

And by the way, what evidence do you have that the Earps ran whores in Tombs
[[[ I ddinít say they did.?]]]
[[[ According to you I donít need any evidence to make up questions in court. I can just ask about rumors according to you. See how starting a rumor with a dishonest question can work? I was just showing you an example of a question about a rumor. You said that it was okay to ask such questions. Remember the man from that time who said he could never hold Wyatt Earp in high regard after seeing him hit his woman for not making him enough as a prostitute? There you go. A rumor allowing the kind of question about a rumor that you say was okay.]]]

Remember, too, that the prosecution raised enough questions to have Wyatt and Doc remanded to jail. It looked tough for them for a while. But Fitch eviscerated the key witnesses of the prosecution both in cross-examination and in presenting the defense's case.
[[[ I think the main damage was done by Ike talking about the Earpís and Docís role in the Benson coach murders. According to Turner that was introduced by Ike under direct exam by his own attorneys. Remember we are all assured these were good attorneys Then enlarged upon by Fitch. ]]]

One other matter that has to be addressed in describing events such as this. You have obviously pondered over the testimony in depth, so it is fair to say that you know things that the witnesses and the attorneys did not know when they testified. You've also read hundreds of posts on this website on every aspect of the fight down to whether Billy Clanton's horse needed to be re-shod that afternoon, not to mention all the articles and books on the subject. It is reasonable to say, then, that on some matters you know more about what happened--or have the potential to know--than any of the participants did that day. When Frank McLaury came to town, he didn't stop to make sure he had all of the facts about what happened between Tom and Wyatt. He just flew hot at the sight of that bandage on Tom's head. All Billy Clanton wanted to do was to get Ike and get out of town. The Earps all heard Ike Clanton's rant in the courtroom, and Wyatt flew hot when Ike said if the Earps had been a minute later he would have provided the town with a funeral. Clueless Tom had no idea why Wyatt Earp was so angry when he stormed out of the courtroom and left Tom senseless.

[[[ I certainly know more thanks to people like you. Iím not sure how that applies in anything Iíve said in this thread? Wyattís attitude that it was okay to pick a fight with Tom who had yet to have any input into anything might be a good preview of the Earpís attitudes about a possible upcoming fight. Ya think?]]]

The various parties did not have cell phones to keep them informed. They did know that the town was alive with rumors, and, as the chief of police, Virgil was responsible for dealing with the situation. We can't assume what anybody was thinking. We can't even assume that either side deliberately provoked the fight. We do have to determine--or try to determine--what the participants knew and when they knew it. We can build a case about what the record means, but we ought to try to see what happened, taking into account what the participants knew and did not know while the events transpired.

[[[That is good and I have mentioned an article entitled ďFiasco on Fremont StreetĒ many times as a very good description of what was likely going on. However we can discuss what we know and what it might indicate without having to be absolutely sure of the conclusions.]]]

Don't forget either, that the Cochise County Grand Jury could have indicted the Earps. It didn't. Don't forget either the second attempt at a preliminary hearing which was tossed out before the horses had rested enough to get back to Tombstone. Tom Fitch raised reasonable doubt, and territorial Arizona was not a place used to going after officers of the law.
[[[ I would count more on the latter than the former and the towns desire to not want more publicity, especially bad publicity about their police. That likely would affect some members of the Grand Jury and a regular jury if the trial were not to be blocked and allowed to take place.]]]

I'd suggest that you read Lubet's view on the law before you pass judgment on his point of view.

[[[ Why? I was quite content with your description of what he said was part of an attorneys tactics. Fits perfectly with my opinion of the system and attorneys. I read his book a few years ago and pages 447-450 of Earp Anthology you suggested. My father was involved in four court cases; three as an expert witness and one as an observer. He said the wrong person won every time and he had little use and no faith in the court system. In the last case this very stylish older wealthy women came to court in gray hair in a granny bun and old ladies dress and old ladies shoes. She won her case impersonating a sympathetic old lady victim. Two days later she was a stylish older women again-no gray hair or old lady clothes or pale face. Last year I saw a lawyer lie to a judge in court papers here. I asked our lawyer wasnít lying directly to the judge seriously a violation of ethics in court. He said yes but the judge didnít know. Everybody involved in the case knew what was said was a lie and I learned lawyers are even allowed to lie to the judge and at least that judge was an idiot not to recognize such an obvious lie.]]]

[[[Gary be on the side of Justice and Truth and quit making excuses for these guys!!!

I just don't see the lies in Fitch's questions.
[[[ I do. I think Fitch could trick you much easier than me. LOL]]]

I do see some misinformation and gaps in information that need to be corrected or filled in. Had the matter gone to trial, some of that information might well have been presented and other witnesses doubtlessly would have been called. I suspect the outcome would have been the same, but then again, who knows.
[[[ Only Ike wanted a trial and a few greedy lawyers. I think the Earpís were fairly safe.]]]

Keep Laughing

  • Fitch's legal skillsGary Roberts, Sun Sep 8 14:19
    Tom, I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. Nor do I claim to be an expert on legal history or Tom Fitch. But I continue to be troubled by your concept of legal practice and what you call "lies." ... more
    • Fitch ethical/lying problems and legal skill — Thomas Gaumer, Mon Sep 9 00:54
      • Hell, TomGary Roberts, Wed Sep 11 13:13
        I've been trying to figure out this bloody half-minute since 1957. It hardly seems worth the effort, looking back, but I don't regret it. I'm tramped the streets of Tombstone figuratively for all... more
        • Hell GaryThomas Gaumer, Thu Sep 12 12:34
          I don't expect to figure it out, having gone from one view to another and back again several times. However there is one thing I am sure about Everyone agrees that Gary Roberts is someone we should... more
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