Saturday, November 1, 2014
Cheryl Carpenter, the lawyer who represented Ted Wafer, gave an interview recently about the trial in which she attributed the guilty verdict to Trayvon Martin’s ghost in the courtroom.
By that she meant the jurors felt like they had to find Wafer guilty or be subjected to the same intense scrutiny and criticism suffered by the jurors in the Zimmerman case.
The jury convicted Wafer in record time because, instead of calling 911, he grabbed his shotgun, opened his front door and fired his shotgun at point blank range through his screen door into an unarmed Renisha McBride’s face, killing her.
That is not self-defense since a reasonable person in his situation would not have believed he was in imminent danger of death or serious injury. It simply does not matter how fearful he was or claimed to be and no amount of wishing and spinning can change that.
Regardless what Carpenter wants to believe, Wafer had no defense, and that is why the jury rejected his claim of self-defense.
Before going to trial, most criminal defense lawyers will convince themselves they can win the trial, regardless of the evidence. However, no amount of positive thinking can transform a sow’s ear into a silk purse.
She obviously cared about him and there is nothing wrong with that. We should care about what happens to our clients. There’s nothing wrong with tears either. I’ve done that in death penalty cases. Lots of lawyers have done that.
She did her best, but she had a loser case, and it’s time for her to reconnect with reality.
I went through this experience. Every criminal defense lawyer does.
We don’t get to write the scripts and sometimes it’s better to zip it and move on instead of granting an interview and saying things that may come back to haunt us.