Wednesday, July 1, 2015
On Monday's Addendum Episode of the Undisclosed Podcast, we delved more into Jay's statement that Jeff G. drove him to Woodlawn High School on January 13, 1999, where he saw his girlfriend Stephanie. Specifically, we talked about the notes that Detective Ritz took during Jay's pre-interview, including this notation:
In this post, I will delve more into the Jeff G. conundrum.
What happened to Jeff G. at trial?
Jeff G. was referenced at trial, twice. First, he was an important, but different, part of Jay's narrative of the events on January 13th. This is from the February 4, 2000 trial transcript (page 129):
So, according to Jay, (1) he was at the Pusateri residence until "like 3:45;" (2) he then left to go over to Jeff G.'s house; (3) he arrived at Jeff G.'s house, but Jeff G. wasn't home; and (4) as he was leaving Jeff G.'s street, he got the "come and get me" call from Adnan at Best Buy.
Second, defense counsel asked Jay about his pre-interview statement(s) about Jeff G. This is from the February 14, 2000 trial transcript (pages 62-63):
So, according to Jay...I don't know? Jay alternately seems to be saying that he told the detectives that Jeff G. did or did not give Adnan a ride to "the High's store." The only thing that seems clear is that Jay brought up Jeff G.'s name during the pre-interview.
What should defense counsel have done with Jeff G. at trial?
First, let's start with Jay's claim at trial that he got the "come and get me" call after stopping by Jeff G.'s house at 3:45ish. One thing that defense counsel could and should have done was to show Jay the call log from Adnan's cell phone and ask him to identify the call in question. In response, Jay ostensibly would have done one of four things:
1. Testify that he couldn't identify a qualifying call. This would make a good deal of sense, given that there are no incoming calls between 3:15 and 4:27 P.M. Because the State's whole theory of the case was that Adnan gave Jay his cell phone so that he could call him after the murder, this would have been pretty devastating for the State.
2. Testify that the call was the 3:15 P.M. call. Jay, however, persistently claimed that he was at Jenn's house until 3:45 or at least 3:40. Such an about face thus seems unlikely, and it also means that Jay would have been contradicting his testimony on direct examination and his prior police statements. It also means that the State couldn't have claimed that the 2:36 call was the "come and get me" call during closing.
3. Testify that the call was the 4:27 call. First, this would have made the Nisha call (at 3:32 P.M.) completely irrelevant. Second, even if track practice started at 4:00 P.M., it's hard to see how this timing would work, given Jay's consistent claim that he dropped Adnan off at track practice. Third, Jay would have to explain what he was doing between 3:45 and 4:27 P.M. besides going to Jeff G.'s house, assuming that Jeff G.'s house was somewhat close to Jenn's house. Fourth, the State couldn't have claimed that the 2:36 call was the "come and get me" call during closing. There are really too many problems with this scenario to list them all.
4. Testify that the call was the 2:36 call. Again, this would have been a huge contradiction by Jay (the call being more than an hour earlier), and it seems so implausible that it doesn't really require further discussion.
Simply put, failing to ask Jay to identify the "come and get me" call on the call log was a huge error by defense counsel, and such a question easily could have dismantled the State's case.
Second, let's turn to the cross-examination of Jay regarding his pre-interview statement(s). This was another huge error. Looking at the cross-examination, I'm assuming that defense counsel did two things: (1) only looked at Detective MacGillivary's notes, which are more ambiguous; and (2) got confused between Jay's statement about "High's store" and Jay's clear statement that Jeff G. gave him (Jay) a ride to Woodlawn High School at about 3:00 P.M., where he met Stephanie in the back parking lot.
The actual cross-examination of Jay makes it look like Jay was initially covering for Adnan before coming clean. In other words, defense counsel's questions make it seem like Jay claimed that Adnan got a ride from Jay G. to "High's store" before 'coming clean' and admitting that Adnan got a ride from Hae and killed her.
Detective Ritz's notes, however, make clear that Jay was talking about himself (Jay), not Adnan, and that he was talking about a ride to the high school, not "High's store." Defense counsel needed to ask Jay about Ritz's notation that he got a ride from Jeff G. to Woodlawn High School at 3:00 P.M. At this point, Jay could have done one of three things:
1. Admit that Jeff G. did give him a ride to the high school at about 3:00 P.M. I probably don't need to explain why this would have destroyed the State's case.
2. Admit that he made this statement but claim that it was a lie. This would have led to defense counsel asking why Jay lied, and the jury might have believed Jay's explanation or not. As I said on the podcast, this seems like an odd lie for Jay to tell because it increases his exposure and brings two other people -- Jeff G. and Stephanie -- under scrutiny.
3. Deny making the statement and claim that the detectives made a mistake. Given Jay's actual responses during cross-examination, I think that this is the likeliest outcome. So, what would have been the result of this answer? Your mileage may vary. I think that Jay claiming two detectives mistakenly wrote that he got a ride to Woodlawn on the afternoon of January 13th is something that would have given many jurors pause.
Did the police interview Jeff G.?
We know that Jeff G. was on the State's interview list:
As you can see, he's right after Mark Pusateri (who wasn't "officially" interviewed) and right before Don (who was interviewed several times). Most of the people on the interview list were interviewed, but others were not (officially, anyway).
Why would it have made sense to interview Jeff G.? The defense could have interviewed him, and he could have destroyed the State's case. First, imagine that Jeff G. says that he did give Jay (or Adnan) a ride to the high school or "High's store" sometime between 2:30 and 3:00 P.M. on January 13th. Under either of these scenarios, the State's case is dead. Second, imagine that Jeff G. says that he was home on the afternoon of January 13th. This means that Jay is likely lying about the "come and get me" call, which he says occurred after determining that Jeff G. wasn't home.
So, was Jeff G. interviewed by the State, despite there being no notes from such an interview? I don't know. All I do know is that the defense never interviewed him, and he is now deceased.
Did the State make the 2:36 call the "come and get me" call based on Jeff G.?
In its most recent brief, the State claimed that it just as easily could have made the 3:15 P.M. the Best Buy call because Debbie testified that she saw Hae at school at 3:00 P.M. In a prior post, I made several arguments for why the 3:15 call couldn't work for the Best Buy call. We can now add Jeff G. to the list.
Imagine you're the prosecutor. Do you make the Best Buy call the 2:36 call or the 3:15 call in your opening statement? Do you develop Inez's testimony (Hae left school between 2:15 and 2:20) or Debbie's testimony (Hae was about to leave school at 3:00)?
Well, if you know that Jay said in his pre-interview that Jeff G. drove him to the school parking lot at 3:00 P.M., you have to go with the 2:36 call. Otherwise, any defense counsel worth her salt would emphasize this statement and claim that Jay himself initially said that he was taken to the Woodlawn parking lot just before Hae was about to enter that same parking lot. Of course, defense counsel flubbed her cross-examination, but the prosecution had no way of knowing what would happen when it initially laid out its 2:36 theory during opening and later developed it through the testimony by Inez (who testified right before Jay).
I think there's a good chance the State moved to the 2:36 timeline based upon Jeff G., and there's no way it could have gone with the 3:15 timeline based on Jay's pre-interview statement(s).