I’ve not been following everything that’s been going on in Jim Leyritz’s trial, but a couple notable things happened this week:
- On Tuesday, the defense was able to ask a coworker of the victim’s how much she had been drinking before she drove off and, ultimately, got into the accident. A lot, it seems! Only problem: the judge had previously ruled that evidence of the victim’s drunkenness was irrelevant and inadmissible in the case, which is about whether Leyrtiz ran a red light. The best part: the prosecution didn’t object. Not once. And then the prosecutor got up and started asking his own questions about the victim’s state. At which point the judge went crazy and cleared the jurors room. That could have been grounds for a mistrial, but the judge let it go on for some reason;
- Yesterday, during a witness’ testimony about the accident scene, Leyritz broke down sobbing at the defense table. He couldn’t control himself, and the judge let Leyritz leave the room to compose himself. He couldn’t do it, and he could be heard loudly sobbing from behind a door.
Contrary to the way it’s supposed to work, I think — and this really is just my opinion based on interactions with jurors — a lot of jurors come into a trial leaning towards a presumption of guilt and, rather than look for evidence that establishes guilt, they look for reasons to acquit. Something to grab onto in order to help them to change their minds. Here, in the space of a couple of days the Leyrtiz jury (a) has been reminded that the victim was drunk too; and (b) was given a lot of reason to pity Leyritz.
I have no idea what’s going to happen with this thing, but neither of these events are particularly great for the prosecution’s case.