By Edward Garcia
Closing statements for the jury trial of Terrence Treyvon Mitchell took place this past Monday afternoon. The defendant is accused of inflicting corporal injury, threatening to commit a crime, dissuading a witness, and numerous other counts.
As soon as everyone came back from lunch, Judge David Reed gave the floor to the People so that they could begin their closing argument.
The People swiftly addressed the first handful of counts. When arriving at the counts concerning the dissuading of a witness, the prosecutor was adamant that Mr. Mitchell had encouraged the victim—the defendant’s ex-girlfriend—not to attend court.
During their conversation, the victim was concerned about lying to the court. Mr. Mitchell simply told her all she had to say was “I don’t remember.”
After highlighting this phone conversation, the People made it clear that the alleged victim did in fact butcher much of the facts, but explained this was due to the incidents having taken place so long ago, not because she was lying.
The People quickly acknowledged their witness’ lies and moved onto the last couple counts.
In relation to the violation of a court order, the prosecutor clarified that Mr. Mitchell had received strict orders from the court to not harass or strike the alleged victim. “He violated it,” stated the
Focusing on the incident on May 8, the prosecution stated, “She’s not making up these facts.”
Mr. Mitchell was then accused by the prosecutor of lying about every critical fact.
Bringing the closing statement to an end, the People found it rather strange that the defendant did not bother to ask about the allegations against him when he was arrested. He knows what he has done, concluded the prosecutor.
Deputy Public Defender Daniel Hutchinson quickly took the floor and began his closing statement.
To begin, Mr. Hutchinson rejected the prosecution’s claim that this case was messy; instead, he stated, “This case is a convoluted debacle.”
He made it clear that Mr. Mitchell was not the perfect boyfriend, but this unfortunate relationship was “a two way street.”
There are numerous women who have to deal with lousy boyfriends and domestic violence, but the alleged victim did not react with normal behavior. She was vindictive, he stated.
Furthermore, Mr. Hutchinson made it clear to the jury that “this is not a fair playing field.” We should be given the presumption of innocence. You will have to prove guilt without a reasonable doubt, he further explained.
Insisting on this notion of reasonable doubt, the defense highlighted the undisputed and repeated lies told by the alleged victim. The prosecutor even acknowledged them. “She would lie until she got caught,” stated Mr. Hutchinson.
These lies are enough to not believe any of the victim’s testimony, the defense asserted.
On the flip side, Mr. Mitchell “told stupid lies,” stated Mr. Hutchinson. But since the People’s case revolves entirely around the alleged victim’s testimony, the lies create reasonable doubt.
Switching focus to the events of May 8, 2017, Mr. Hutchinson questioned how someone who was allegedly pushed out of a car could be so focused on money afterwards, instead of the fact that she could’ve died.
Additionally, the victim claimed she was thrown out of the car when it was “running.” Mr. Hutchinson was quick to note that this does not imply a moving car.
Related to count three—threat to commit a crime—the defense counsel asked, “What sustained fear did she show?”
After being thrown out of the car, the victim said sat in her car for 30 minutes before going to the police station lobby, which she left after a couple minutes. “There was no fear,” stated Mr. Hutchinson.
Moving to a different count, the defense began attacking the belief that infliction of corporal injury had occurred. Mr. Hutchinson explained there must be proof of a significant wound or injury, and stating a push had occurred would not suffice.
Mr. Hutchinson, critiquing the evidence, highlighted how the pictures of the victim’s injuries do not have the dark redness or bruises described by officers in the reports. Mr. Mitchell also suspected that “she probably did it to herself,” stated his defense attorney.
The defense showed how it seems weird that the victim came in to examination six hours after the incident, which eliminated any visibility of the redness.
The defense counsel also instructed the jury on lesser crimes. Mr. Hutchinson explained that they could convict the defendant on an attempt to commit corporal injury, but they would have to decide whether a push is an attempt.
“The prosecutor didn’t even argue that,” he stated.
Furthermore, the text messages clearly state the alleged victim was “thrown” out of the car, which does not imply she was physically pushed. Similarly, someone could be thrown out of a bar without being pushed, stated the defense.
He also detailed how the jury could convict Mr. Mitchell of harmful or offensive contact, but stated such a conviction does not have any evidence to support it either.
Now, switching to the allegations of dissuading a witness, the defense placed a strong emphasis on the conflicting accounts recalled by the alleged victim. She can’t tell us with certainty whether Mr. Mitchell told her to lie or not to attend court—this is an important distinction because they both lead to different charges.
Concerning the violation of the court order, Mr. Hutchinson found it weird that both the defendant and the victim had very little clue about the order.
“He seemed generally confused,” the defense stated.
Deputy Public Defender Hutchinson ended his closing statement by returning to the prosecution’s notion that the victim was just trying to protect the defendant. He urged the jury to get past this idea.
“Her biggest concern is protecting herself,” he stated.
Since we know what the alleged victim is capable of, that is enough for reasonable doubt, concluded Mr. Hutchinson.
Judge Reed allowed the People a rebuttal to address any issues brought up by the defense.
Again, the prosecutor admitted to the victim indisputably lying, but believed this did not change the fact that these incidents happened. She often blackmails the defendant, but never threatens to make up any lies.
In relation to the lesser crimes, the People believe there was sustained fear and highlighted a text sent by the victim which said, “If I stay with you, I will die.”
“There is fear,” stated the prosecutor.
The People, in relation to the bodily injury count, clarified that their stance focuses on minor bodily injury not serious bodily injury.
Bringing the rebuttal to a close, the prosecutor explained that reasonable doubt does not mean beyond any doubt. Appealing to the text messages and phone calls from jail, the People believe this provides enough proof.
Urging the jury to take their time in pursuit of the truth, the prosecutor thanked them for their service.
After Judge Reed read the jury their instructions, they were sent to deliberate. Court was adjourned for the afternoon.