Sunday, May 8, 2016

It's been announced that the South Texas College of Law in Houston is going to sponsor another mock trial of Lee Harvey Oswald in November 2017. Larry Schnapf, who is a lawyer and a law professor, is going to be the lead defense attorney. I don't know who is going to be prosecuting.

Larry is a member of a new organization called Citizens Against Political Assassinations. (Is there anyone who professes to be for political assassinations?) CAPA, which apparently is meant to replace the defunct COPA, is chaired by Dr. Cyril Wecht. 

But, the thing is: Wecht has never defended Oswald. He opposes the Single Bullet Theory, but he has never said that Oswald could not have been one of the shooters. So, Wecht hasn't been an Oswald defender at all. The only time he mentions Oswald is to say that all the shots cannot be attributed to Oswald. But, he never defends Oswald. 

I don't know Larry Schnapf. But, if he is a lawyer, then I presume he realizes that in order to defend his client (Oswald) he's going to have to provide him an alibi. So, if he's not going to say that Oswald was in the doorway, where is he going to say he was? And if he doesn't establish where he was, it will register with the jury. He has to address Oswald's alibi, and if he doesn't, he will likely lose. 

I know that if I were a juror, and the defense lawyer insisted that the accused wasn't at the crime scene but didn't establish where he was instead, I would consider it disingenuous, manipulative, and insufficient. Imagine that Oswald was alive and he conducted his defense that way. Again: he'd lose.

If it was 1963, and Larry were called in to defend Oswald, he would certainly ask him where he was at the time of the shots. And Oswald would no doubt tell him. Larry doesn't have that convenience today, but that doesn't let him off the hook. He still owes it to Oswald, if he's going to defend him at all, to establish his alibi.

What if Larry doesn't know Oswald's whereabouts at the time of the murder? Well, the trial isn't until November 2017, so that gives him plenty of time to find out. We're talking about one building and a very short list of possible locations. So, if Larry claims not to know where Oswald was, then Larry needs to figure it out.  And, if he can't figure it out, then he has no business claiming to be Oswald's lawyer. 

But, I think the idea of having a mock trial is a good one. But, the problem is that there are much fewer relevant witnesses than there used to be. Who have they got? Frazier, the Paines. There's Marina, but she was never willing to participate in the other mock trials, so I doubt she will do this one. Who else is there? And the Paines are old, and I don't know that they would be willing. I presume Frazier will do it. In fact, I'd bet on it because Debra Conway is one of the sponsors, and he is tight with her. 

But, it's a real problem because a trial involves interviewing witnesses. I suppose they could bring in modern forensic experts to review various pieces of evidence. And they could bring in modern ballistics experts and other experts to challenge the Single Bullet Theory. But again: refuting the SBT is not going to help Oswald. Even if they destroy it, it would still leave Oswald as a potential shooter. And if the jury thinks he was a shooter, they are going to find him guilty even if they think others were involved.  

If it were me, I would want to cross-examine Marina as a hostile witness. And I would certainly cross-examine Frazier as a hostile witness. Danny Arce is still alive, so I would want to cross-examine him. Anthony Botelho is still alive, so I would question him as a friendly witness. I would present the incongruities of the rifle purchase. I would establish the impossibility of Oswald having made that nifty bag (the one showcased by Montgomery). I would establish that Oswald never went to Mexico City. And, I'd love to get Rafael Cruz on the witness stand under oath. But, Oswald in the doorway would certainly be the centerpiece of my defense, as well it should. I hope Larry Schnapf gets it. 

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