KIDNAPPING NOT GUILTY VERDICT
Years ago, I had a kidnapping case in one of the courts in Los Angeles county. To protect the privacy of y client I won't say which of the 38 courts, but the bottom line is that the client was looking at life in prison. It was a very serious case. We tried it and I remember in August. It was a hot trial that lasted a couple of weeks, ultimately ending in a not guilty verdict.
I think the reason that we were able to achieve the not guilty verdict was because the main witness in the case who was claiming that he had been kidnapped, beat up, threatened, just didn't have good credibility. First off, he had threatened my client and other people involved with the case and he himself was involved with trying to get stolen property and then he just didn't handle it the right way, and ultimately, he ended up double crossing people who became very angry with him.
But really to get a kidnapping conviction the prosecutors are going to need to prove that whoever they are charging with the kidnapping moves somebody against their will, threatens them in some way. Really, the key to the kidnapping is the movement.
But if the person is moving on their own accord and is part of whatever scheme is going on as it was in this particular case, then obviously they're not going to later be able to claim that they were being forced to being moved, when in reality they themselves were up to no good, and ultimately, they themselves were doing criminal activities and when things didn't go their way they wanted to cry and call for the police.
But in talking to the jury after the kidnapping case, what they keyed in on was the lack of credibility from the alleged victim. There was a witness in the case, but the witness himself didn't really see any of the alleged activity.
So, when you have one of the those case where it's necessary for the victim him or herself to testify otherwise you don't have a case and that victim's credibility is questionable, now you're in a position where if you're the prosecutor, you're going to have a very tough road to follow. That's why the prosecutors in these kidnapping cases are going to try to do is try to get corroboration for their case.
In other words, they're going to try to get other witnesses who can testify. They're going to try to get any video evidence — any evidence they can get their hands on so that they can help show that their alleged victim is telling the truth.
So, if there's no corroborative evidence and their alleged victim is in question, now they have a real big problem and probably put themselves in a situation where the defense is going to be able to defend the case, because realize in kidnapping cases and all criminal cases, the prosecutors have the burden of proof. In other words, they have to prove the case.
When the case starts, if the jury has to vote at that time, the defendant is not guilty. So, unless they can put forth evidence that shows that they're guilty to meet all of the elements of a kidnapping charge, it's a not guilty verdict and that's exactly what we got in this case. I was able to effectively cross-examine the alleged victim, show some of the things that he did wrong and show his lack of credibility related to the case.