I Expected a Not Guilty Verdict
Roger Clemens not guilty verdict was no surprise to me as a trial lawyer. Here is why:
- Clemens was charged with a “technical” crime, and not a juicy bloody one like assault or rape.
- Technical crimes are the hardest for a prosecutor to prove because they involve a violation of a law that surrounds a defendant’s failure to comply with a reguation or law that is victimless (again, no blood, no injury).
- Clemens’s particular technical crime was about lying or telling the truth (lies leave no DNA, fingerprints) and the truth is hard to quantify, and thus, hard to prove.
- Clemens is a particularly beloved figure in American sports. Recall his last, most recent visit to the senate. The senators were so taken with Clemens — their love for him mirrors what American society feels about him.
Another Reason Why Clemens Walked
Two weeks into the trial, the jurors asked the judge to read the charges to them again (which is just not done often). The jurors told the judge that they did not know (at that point in the trial) what the prosecution was trying to prove!
Prosecutors in this kind of case must simplify their case or risk losing it. In essence, the jurors were telling the prosecutors and the court, two weeks into the trial, that they had gotten too complex and intellectual in their approach. Remember, if a lawyer cannot explain the core of their case to the jury in a sentence, then the jury is going to listen to the other lawyer in the courtroom. Rusty Hardin, Clemens lawyer is just another good ol’ boy from Texas and he can easily summarize his theory of the case in a sentence. He was a simple country lawyer in this case, but he took the big time federal prosecutors to school.
News reports said that the jury did not smile at Hardin during his closing argument, although others in the gallery and the press were grinning. It is pretty obvious that the jury took Hardin seriously. The verdict in the Clemens case was no surprise to anyone who is accustomed to trials.
Shaun Kaufman Law, P.C. is accustomed to courts and trials. We have high standards and we expect the best possible result whenever we visit a court of law.
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