SYMPATHY FOR AND IDENTITY WITH YOUR CLIENT
THE “SCAPEGOAT” THEME
A common theme is to analogize your client to some historical or biblical character who was accused in order to justify official action or deflect blame on some more culpable person.
“Now, always, in all times of the history of America and, for that matter, other nations, other parts of the world, the bureaucracy, whether it be the bureaucracy of the king, the bureaucracy of the queen, the bureaucracy of the chief, of the dictator or of what we still call the democracy – it has always spoken to it’s people through scapegoats.
Before the Germans could do as they would with the Jews, they prosecuted a handful in Court.
- BENNETT: Your Honor, I am going to object to that statement. There’s
nothing in the record anywhere approaching the analogy of that statement. For that reason, I ask the Court to instruct the jury that the remarks of counsel are not evidence and not to be considered as evidence.
- BURNETT: May I be heard, Your Honor? THE COURT: Yes.
- BURNETT: There’s no better piece of history known, and if the time should come, when an advocate cannot analogize on history, otherwise then of course, the role of the advocate would be meaningless.
THE COURT: Objection overruled.
- BURNETT: They tried a few in Court. The king would find a scapegoat or
two, and I am sad to say that this country, going into it a third century, cannot escape the fact, and we should not run from the notion that us, too, have been spoken to by our government through the use of the scapegoat.
We are not as a people that far advanced, but what out of the whole United States of America there happens to be only one indictment against a lawyer for declaring the law You have a right to wonder from the evidence in this case, you have aright to speculate about that fact…
Now, I will not be permitted to answer any of the things Mr. Beck will have to say. People who have helped the poor are not strangers to the iron bars …rope…stake…fire or even the cross, and they have always had plenty of defenders long after
the act. And it’s true. Look back in history of this country: The scapegoats have had the great defenders a generation or two later, but at the time of the injustice they had the ‘they’ people.
Now, it is not going to do any good for you to defend Delia Gonzalez in five years or in ten years when finally they get around to the scandals coming out in the newspapers and find out what was really going on in the Immigration Service. You’re seeing the tip of it. She needs to be defended now. The law defends her. If you execute it and carry it out, she will be defended.”
As you can see from my closing in the “Brilab” prosecution of my fellow lawschool classmate, Randall “Buck” Wood, I stole Burnett’s “scapegoat” theme, arguing for jurors to abide by their sincerely held concerns that the prosecution had not met their burden:
“I’m not going to pretend to defend the State of Texas, and I’m not going to pretend to defend the legislature. But I have never had a prouder day in my life than to stand here and ask you to return Buck Wood to the side of his fellow lawyers like myself who know him well. There have always been scapegoats from biblical times to the present, and there have always been their defenders the morning after. If you have a doubt in your heart, tomorrow morning at breakfast will be too late. Abide by it.”