Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"This Case is About What George Thomas Did Not Do": Playing the Race Card, and Double Misrepresentation: Day One of George Thomas' Knoxville Horror Re-Trial


War crime victims Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom

A Knox County mug shot of war crime defendant George Thomas

By Nicholas Stix

"Fuck that white girl!" said defense attorney Steven Johnson in his opening statement to the jury Monday, in the seventh Knoxville Horror trial, for the racially-motivated, January 7, 2007 rape-torture-murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom, by a crew of up to seven blacks led by Lemaricus Davidson.

"That phrase, 'Fuck that white girl!' is being used for one reason, and one reason at all: To engender an emotional response. To distract you."

Johnson insinuated that Thomas had never used the phrase at all, and that a detective had just made it up, 17 months after the fact.

There's just one little problem with Johnson's statement: The prosecution did not bring the racially-charged statement into the courtroom. Lead prosecutor Takisha Fitzgerald ("TK") never said, "Fuck that white girl," in her opening statement, which preceded Johnson's. Rather, she quoted the detective as saying Thomas had told him, "Fuck that girl."

Thus, Fitzgerald misrepresented Thomas, and Johnson lied about Fitzgerald.

Johnson also misled the jury through a lecture on the concept of "criminal responsibility" (aka, "acting in concert"), that broke it up into seven requirements, whereupon he asserted that a conviction could only be reached if every single requirement were met.

He paired his dishonest analysis of criminal responsibility with a legally irrelevant appeal to emotion, arguing that George Thomas was doing what he had learned growing up in Detroit, in order "to survive": "He kept his head down." "He zoned out." "He minded his own business."

The problem is that most blacks reject the principle of criminal responsibility, at least where fellow blacks are concerned, and there are five black women on the panel.

It is with those black women in mind that Johnson gave his dishonest lecture, and made his pleas to emotion.

Building on the previous blocks, Johnson kept repeating that witnesses that had seen Lemaricus Davidson had not seen George Thomas, and that while DNA evidence tied Lemaricus Davidson and his half-brother to the crimes, Letalvis Cobbins, but no DNA evidence tied Thomas to the crime.

Under true criminal responsibility, Johnson's caveats are irrelevant, but in his Bizarro World criminal responsibility, they are unanswerable. Indeed, if he were right, there would be no grounds for charging Thomas with anything.

Thus, Thomas' defense team has a three-pronged defense:

1. Mislead the jury regarding the rules of criminal responsibility;

2. Play the race card; and

3. Establish that no one had seen Thomas, or found any DNA evidence tying him directly to the rapes and murders.

My friend and colleague, David in TN, who was also at the trial said, "Last time Johnson tried that, it failed. ADAs Fitzgerald and Leland Price hammered it home.

Let us hope they succeed once more.

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