Hello friends. This post is a collection of quotes from The Law of Innocence book by Michael Connelly.
There are no dumb questions when it comes to the law. Only dumb answers.
I had woken that day in a jail cell. I was now about to sleep in my own bed for the first time in six weeks. My back on a thick mattress and my head on a soft pillow. And if that wasn’t enough, my ex-girlfriend had come back and was standing in front of me with her robe open and nothing on underneath. I was still accused of murder but it was amazing how my fortunes had changed in a single day. As I stood there, I felt that nobody could ever touch me. I was golden. I was free.
I had no illusions about my innocence. I knew it was something only I could know for sure. And I knew that it wasn’t a perfect shield against injustice. It was no guarantee of anything. The clouds were not going to open for some sort of divine light of intervention. I was on my own.
The law of innocence is unwritten. It will not be found in a leather-bound codebook. It will never be argued in a courtroom. It cannot be written into law by the elected. It is an abstract idea and yet it closely aligns with the hard laws of nature and science. In the law of physics, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In the law of innocence, for every man not guilty of a crime, there is a man out there who is. And to prove true innocence, the guilty man must be found and exposed to the world.
The paper trail of a case is a living thing that grows and changes. Documents and evidence reviewed at one point could look different or take on new significance when reviewed through the prism of time.
You know, being innocent is no guarantee of a not-guilty verdict. Anything can happen in trial.
You know what they say: the FBI doesn’t share. It eats like an elephant and shits like a mouse.
In a perfect world a lawyer never asks a question he doesn’t know the answer to. That means a good lawyer never puts a witness on the stand whom he or she cannot control or draw the needed answers from.
A trial often comes down to who is a better storyteller, the prosecution or the defense. There is evidence, of course, but physical evidence is at first interpreted for the jury by the storyteller.
They’re the government. The beast. And the game is always rigged in the beast’s favor.
There is nothing pure about the law when you get inside a courtroom. It’s a bare-knuckle fight and each side uses whatever it can to bludgeon the other.
Jury selection was an art form. It involved research, knowledge of social and cultural data, and, finally, gut instinct. What you want in the end is a panel of attentive people who are there for the truth. What you look for and hope to root out are those who view the truth through the prism of bias - racial, political, cultural, and so forth. And those with ulterior motives for serving.
No institution in modern society is more democratic than a jury. Look at yourselves. You are twelve strangers randomly brought together for one purpose. You will elect a leader and each one of you will have an equal vote. Your duty is so important because you have the power to take away a citizen’s life, liberty, and livelihood. It’s an awesome and urgent responsibility. And once you carry out your charge, you disband and go back to your lives. There is nothing as important as the duty you have agreed to take on in this courtroom.