Friday, October 30, 2015
A commenter on my post yesterday asked the following question: "Can you please clarify by what you mean that the clerk was 'in charge' of his alibi defense?" I'm glad the question was asked because it caused me to re-examine a defense file for the first time in a while. That file has a chart with the following columns:
In the chart, the alibi task was assigned to a law student. That same law student was assigned with the following task, among other tasks:
With this information, I finally understand this part of one of Susan Simpson's blog post:
The subpoena was not limited to Don’s employment records with the Owings Mills location. In fact, Gutierrez’s motion identified Don as an "employee of the Hunt Valley Lenscrafters store." All records concerning Don’s employment at LensCrafters should have been produced, but the Hunt Valley location was the only store that the defense identified by name.
Previously, I had wondered how Gutierrez, who signed the motion for issuance of a subpoena, could have made a mistake on a vital piece of information that could have had a huge impact on the information received from LensCrafters.* It turns out that the motion was likely prepared by a law student, with Gutierrez then failing to fact check that motion or not being aware that Don was an employee of the Owings Mills LensCrafters.
I can understand the law student's mistake. The motion was filed on September 24, 1999:
As I noted yesterday, this law student was probably juggling classes and other responsibilities with a few hours of work at Gutierrez's law firm once or twice a week. It's completely understandable that he would have made such a mistake; what's less understandable is Gutierrez failing to catch it or assigning him the task in the first place in a murder case.
Maybe at some point I will do a post on all of the tasks assigned to law clerks in this case. Perhaps the most interesting one is a notation we mention in a prior episode of Undisclosed. That note listed the name "Syed" circled next to the name of a medical examiner, with a line from the circle pointing to the words "for [law clerk]." That law clerk was actually a second year law student.
*As we know, LensCrafters response to the subpoena was incomplete although possibly/probably not based upon this error.