Jerome Froelich, when representing a defendant in a corruption case based largely on circumstantial evidence used the following story to illustrate circumstantial evidence’s limited value:
“Now, [the government] talked about circumstantial evidence. Let me give you an example that happened to me. I’m one of eight kids. I have five brothers. It was a rough-and-tumble family, but there was one we did not fool with. I have a brother Brian who was a national heavyweight wrestling champion, and he played tackle at Boston College. He is as big an individual as you ever want to see, and he doesn’t have an ounce of fat. He’s been that way since he’s sixteen years old. And he does not have a very nice disposition at times.
When we were kids, we would come home from our various practices and my mother would leave food for us. We would come home at different hours. I had a brother Larry. Larry was tough, but he wasn’t a tough as Brian. I never thought Larry was very bright, but one day I learned he was. We came home, and we started eating dinner. We all had sandwiches, and we had a dish of pudding after dinner.
Brian was the last one home. He actually was running extra laps because of something he had done in practice. We had finished our pudding, and Larry decided he was going to have an extra pudding, and it was Brian’s. He sat at the table, and he started to eat that pudding. I hard the door open, and I knew that Larry was one of the dumbest people on earth, and I was leaving that kitchen because I wanted no part of when Brian got home to find that Larry had eaten that pudding.
Larry than proved to me how smart he was. We had a boxer, a dog. The Boxer’s name was Mo. Larry heard Brian coming through the door, too. Larry picked up Mo, picked up the side of the dish of pudding and stuck that dog’s face in that pudding, and he put that dog back on the floor, and then he ran with me to our rooms to open books and start doing homework.
Why was Larry smart? Larry never got hurt on that. Mo had a tough week. He got kicked around, he didn’t get fed real well for a while. But that’s what circumstantial evidence can do to you, and that’s what you got to be careful of. Don’t let [Defendant] wind up like Mo. That’s what [Prosecution witness] is trying to do to you. What my brother Larry did to that dog.”