Convicting Drew – Part 4
The judge notes that in a he said, she said he is required to determine the credibility of the witnesses when testimony differs. He started with the young woman. Below is directly quoted from the trial transcript:
Judge: I found her to be generally credible on the stand. In her appearance and manner on the stand, I observed her to be – the adjectives I would use are withdrawn, embarrassed, shy. She looked down through most of her testimony. Looked like somebody who didn’t want to be here and didn’t want to talk about what she was being asked about. Also, an observation I made, which I attach some significance to, is that when (the woman) was asked specifically about the events in her apartment, to my observation emotions surfaced and I observed that she got jittery, she trembled, she shook in a way that did not appear to me to be feigned of forced, but indeed, I thought was a genuine expression, maybe involuntary, of an emotional reaction to that portion of her testimony.
Further, I found that (the woman) admitted what she did recall, what she didn’t know. And she didn’t, so far as I perceived, what I call guild the lily. By that I mean sometimes witnesses overstate or exaggerate, engage in hyperbole, and that undercuts credibility, no question. But I didn’t find that with (the woman). In fact, I thought of a specific example in my notes. She described marks on her wrists or maybe both wrists from a bracelet she was wearing when her arms were held and she volunteered in the same breath, it didn’t cause any damage. She didn’t say, it scratched. It hurt me. She just commented that a bracelet was pressed into her wrist and made marks. That to me was an example of a witness who is not motivated to exaggerate, to oversell or to overstate.
Below, the young woman’s testimony from the trial transcript regarding the marks:
Young woman: I wore little bracelets that left little tiny – – no damage, just little marks from being squeezed –
The judge noted that the young woman didn’t overstate or exaggerate in court. However, in her victim impact statement that is dated two months after the trial, the little tiny, no damage marks turned into – light bruises on wrists and ankles. Then five months after trial, at sentencing (and I’m quoting from the transcript), the judge stated – We saw the bruises and the statement. What?!? No, we didn’t! We didn’t see any bruises, pictures of bruises, or even hear her mention any bruises.
The judge stated at trail he found the woman to be more credible and was citing an example that turned out to be inconsistent. Then, instead of recognizing the exaggeration before sentencing my son, he stated it as if it were fact.
Drew has a very good vocabulary. However, he has a voice that has two volume levels –fairly loud and loud. My son was shaking on the inside but his voice had the same assertively loud tone that is part of how autism spectrum disorder shows up for him. He has always corrected inaccuracies, a simple example being when my husband or I say we are going to Kroger’s he corrects us. It’s Kroger, not Kroger’s. Detail person. Drew was understandably anxious about going to court that day. He had never testified in a courtroom before; this was completely out of his comfort zone. But, he was ready for the opportunity to tell the truth to the judge. He believed that once the judge had the facts about everything; before, during and after the night in question that this legal limbo would finally be over.
He and his therapist had been talking about the process of putting this nightmare behind him, and focusing on moving forward with his life. That sadly has still not happened. He has tried harder than anyone could expect. One of his statements is seared into my heart. He said his life was already difficult enough just having Asperger’s.
If you are new to this blog I invite you to please read it from the beginning. I know it’s painful. Trust me, I know. I also know that above anything else…it is truth. I pray this blog helps save my son, Drew, and brings awareness and change that will help others as well.