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07/01/05 Weekly Mention


PATRICK ADAMS & THOMAS MORTENSEN, Tulsa, faced the prospect of representing a woman charged with Murder II in the death of her infant who apparently burned to death when her walker became stuck over a floor furnace when the woman was asleep (the state alleged the woman was passed out from drug usage). Very emotional trial with horrific facts. End result was an acquittal on Murder II, but conviction on Man. II, acquittal on child neglect, but conviction on drug possession with total time of 8 years which is essentially the minimum. On those facts, I would consider that result a victory. Thomas reports that client did not take the stand and that he and Patrick were able to turn nearly every state witness to provide helpful testimony to the defense, including the medical examiner (death was an accident) and some drug dealers who testified that they always dealt with the husband and never the client. The defense centered around the question of whether the death was an accident or intentional and showing that the sad event was an accident and there was no intent on the part of client to injure or kill. Thomas also noted that about one third of the jurors wanted to acquit outright on all counts but apparently reached a compromise after lengthy deliberations; and also that Patrick Adams gave a spirited closing that sealed the deal. NOTE: This is also the infamous case where the elected DA wore the conspicuous bracelet on his wrist that said, "WWJD?" [What Would Jesus Do?]. Thomas reports that he and Patrick became aware of it during about the second or third day of jury selection, objected to the trial court, but their objections were overruled with the DA explaining that he received the bracelet from his daughter, had worn it for 14 years and would not remove it. The kicker here is that Thomas reports that the jury did in fact see the bracelet and thought it was "absolutely offensive" and were insulted that the DA would intentionally expose it to them to gain a litigation advantage. Very interesting view of the jury and quite noteworthy that the jury noticed such a thing. An example tending to indicate that we should give juries more credit than we sometimes do.

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