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Is There Anything They Won't Say?

I really don't mean to be taking after defense lawyers (well, not any more than I usually do), but sometimes a story just grabs you.  This one is a real peach.

The general context is familiar.  A thug gets mad at his wife/girlfriend because she's had enough and wants to break up.  This is not acceptable, so she must be punished.  The punishment consists of killing their kid.  I have used stories like this when I debate the death penalty at law schools, see, e.g., this and this.

Today's story is neat, in the sick sort of way these stories tend to be, because of defense counsel's "argument."  It was a difficult case, since apparently no one contested the fact that Mr. Nicey ushered his two year-old into icy water weighted down with a tire iron.  

On the one hand, you have to commend counsel's unusual honesty:

In his opening statement, defense attorney Ryan Moriarty told the jurors their task is to decide "what form of homicide applies to this defendant...."We're not asking you to presume Arthur Morgan innocent of responsibility," he said. "It is our contention that he did not act knowingly and purposefully on that day but, rather, recklessly.

OK, fair enough.  Unfortunately, Mr. Moriarty added:

"Was Tierra thrown off a bridge, or was she placed there, still alive, for God to determine the outcome?"

Yes, well, when you throw a two year-old in icy water weighted down, you can take a pretty good guess how "God is going to determine the outcome."  But we appreciate counsel's insight.

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