The Dumb Defendant Destroys his Defense (Too many alliterations?)
One year, a man came to rob a gas station mini-mart. He walked up to the counter, put his hand in his pants pocket under his untucked shirt, and said to the cashier, “I have a gun, give me all your money.” The young cashier was terrified. Fortunately, two customers barged in just at that time, and the flustered robber fled the scene. He was never caught.
A year later, the same stupid robber decided to rob the same gas station mini-mart. The same cashier was on duty. This time the robber was wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses to conceal his identity.
He approached the counter and asked, “Do you remember me?”
The cashier said, “No.”
The robber responded, “Are you sure you don’t remember me?”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t remember you.”
Frustrated, the robber removed his cap and sunglasses. (Inconceivable!) The cashier’s eyes widened. He immediately recognized the man as the same person who tried to rob him last year. “Now do you remember me?” the robber asked again.
Fearing for his life, the cashier said, “No.”
The robber then said, “I am the person who tried to rob you last year. I’ve got a bomb planted in the restroom, and if you don’t give me all of the money in the cash register, I will blow this place up with you in it.”
History has a way of repeating itself, and some people cannot learn from their previous mistakes. This was a busy gas station and customers once again barged in during the middle of the robbery attempt. Flustered, the robber again ran away. But this time he was caught.
As with most robbery cases, the main defense issue is whether the victim can identify of the robber. “Who done it?” Frequently, the terrified victim focuses so much on the weapon the he cannot ID the criminal. Whether the victim could identify the robber in court was the only issue in this case.
We were in trial. On cross-examination, the defense lawyer launched into a lengthy series of questions about the witness’s ability to ID the robber. At one point, the attorney asked, “In addition to the baseball cap and sunglasses, what else was the robber wearing?”
The witness said, “He was wearing an oversized Angel’s baseball shirt with a number on it. I think it was the number seven.”
The defendant, immediately blurted out, in open court and on the record, “No, it was a two.” The defense attorney snapped back, “Shut up!”
The defendant looked at me and apologized for interrupting the proceedings. He had no clue that he just destroyed his defense.
“We don’t catch the smart ones.”