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10.13.2003

Reasonable Doubt - Part 4

If there is any conduct that truly makes me seethe, it is hypocrisy that harms another person. I don't care that much about minor, personal hypocrisy...like where you tell a single friend they should get out more when you're too shy to go out and find a date yourself. In that sense, personal hypocrisy is like lying (which I also feel should bear vicious consequences if it hurts someone else). It can be irritating, but it can also be the "little white" variety, which is a pretty human thing to do. So it doesn't bother me as much as something like prosecuting attorney Kephart's full blown, two-faced, boasting, I'll-flaunt-my-deception-and-piss-on-the-presumption-of-innocence hypocrisy.

A lot of people working on this campaign are not fond of the defense team because they were rather ineffective, and at many points I would agree that the defense counsel was doing great at proving the definition of 'ineptitude.' But it is Kephart who has earned a truly staggering amount of despise on my part, and I say "truly staggering" because it is unusual for me to not allow room for human fallacy in anybody. But Kephart lacks both honor and ethics, and this combination led to the 40 year incarceration of an innocent young woman. His work has done great harm.

A lot of conversation went on outside the jury's hearing. Important things. Like the perjury of the prosecution's jailhouse informant, Korinda Martin. She was the only person who connected Kirstin Lobato to the victim, Duran Bailey. The following is taken from the court transcripts. They are discussing a letter (Defense Exhibit G), which is a letter to a judge to gain some leniency for Martin's crimes. It was proven to have been written by Korinda herself, under a false identity:

Q (Kohn) I'm going to show you an item marked Defense Exhibit G. Do you recognize that?
A (Martin) No.
Q No?
A No.
Q You didn't send that?
A No, sir.


That is direct perjury, or lying under oath - outside the presence of the jury. She repeatedly denies even knowing of the letter. The police department's handwriting expert believed it had been written by Korinda Martin, and describes it in his report as bearing "characteristics normally associated with disguised writing."

Korinda Martin, about to be sentenced, was going so far as to forge letters to a judge to get out of being held accountable for her crimes.

In the transcripts, there are numerous mentions of her trying to get out of jail. This, in itself, is not unusual for someone who faces incarceration. However, each attempt failed, one by one, beginning from when she was arrested and lasting all the way through to July. In July, the Duran Bailey murder was covered by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a major - and some could say the major - newspaper for the Las Vegas area. Specific details were given in a July 25th article. These details included all those that Martin says she heard from Kirstin Lobato. Martin also said things that were not in the article as well, but many of those statements were not supported by the crime scene (Kohn never really illustrated this point, and I'm clueless as to why). The facts she did get right were those she could have gotten from a newspaper article.

Then, on August 1st, a week after that article was published, Korinda Martin called the officer in charge of the murder investigation and said something like "Hey, Kirstin Lobato was talking to me back in December when we were in the same prison facility, talking about how she killed this guy." The police were, of course, interested.

Two weeks later she was forging the letter. She also asked the prosecutors for a nice letter to the parole board. The answer she got was: we're not promising anything. That was her testimony, and right after that testimony is a very interesting discussion (this was presented before the jury):

Q (Kohn) Isn't it a fact, Miss Martin, back in July and August you'd do whatever it took to get out of jail?
A (Martin) Yes.
Q Isn't it a fact that you would lie to get out of jail?
A No.
Q You would not lie?
A No.
Q You would not lie to the Court?
A No.


That is something the jury heard. Defense counsel Kohn was setting her up to be impeached, because he planned to present the letter to show she would most certainly try to deceive the court in an attempt to get out of prison quickly. He wanted to point out that Martin only "came forward" after she had failed to gain some leniency and after news articles were published on the matter, and the letters would show her capable of trying some pretty severe deception to escape her punishment. Unfortunately, he ended up looking more like he was just trying to get her to admit she was a liar, because his proof was never presented.

Kephart knew all about the letter because the entire issue was discussed in front of him. So he argued outside the jury's presence that the letter - which was really harmful evidence that his central witness was a self-serving liar - was extrinsic; that is, that it didn't matter because it had nothing to do with whether or not Kirstin Lobato killed Duran Bailey. The judge agreed, and as a result, the jury never got to know about the perjury or why it was so important.

But then came the purely moral hypocrisy. When attacking the defense during his final argument, Kephart came off like the deceptive party was the defense team, not Korinda Martin:

"They say that Korinda has the biggest motive to lie. What do you expect from a murderer when they're charged with allegations of this nature? Did you expect, one minute, the defendant would get up here and admit to everything she said in this statement? If you did, she was playing you for a fool."

Ironic, because he's the one who played the jury for fools. He knew Martin had motive to lie, he knew she did attempt to deceive the court and then lied about it in front of him. But after blocking the evidence of her deception he treats the defense's attempt to show Korinda Martin is a liar as being a fraud perpetuated by Kirstin Lobato's defense. "What do you expect from a murderer...?" he asks, referring to Kirstin.

And later:

"When it comes to Korinda Martin you say that she had so much to gain here...She went to prison for consecutive sentences on two different felonies. And we're giving her such a great deal that it would be suggested that she was going to come in here and lie for us..."

When Kephart says "we're giving her such a great deal" he's being sarcastic, because no prosecutor in their right mind would promise aid in return for testimony. He never promised anything. But he never promised nothing, either.

But there is no doubt Martin was going up for parole shortly after the trial, and because she must serve her two sentences one after another, if she made parole she could start on her second sentence immediately. That would effectively shorten her sentence. And for her, it's all about minimum jail time. That's the reason the forged letter - that no person on the jury ever knew about - was sent to the judge...to help her out with her original sentencing. It is why she wanted the District Attorneys to write a letter to the parole board. But Kephart wants to portray her as a convict with nothing to gain when he knows she'll do anything to gain her freedom as soon as possible.

My problem is that Kephart has seen and heard the proof that was been presented outside of the jury. He succeeded in blocking the evidence, but that's not good enough. He's got to grandstand, and make it out as though the defense's suspicions about Korinda Martin are unfounded arguments delivered to help Kirstin Lobato get away with murder. He knows better...about the arguments, if not the murder.

If he's "just doing his job," then he is choosing the most dishonorable, slimeball path of performing his public duty. He's supposed to be seeking justice, but he uses methods that spit in the face of justice, just so he can win. He doesn't need to badmouth his witness to make his argument or to use her statements against Kirstin Lobato, but it's entirely different to present Martin in a way he knows is flagrantly deceptive. It's immoral, it's unethical, and it's dangerous to innocent people everywhere. And it is a signature trait for the way Kephart ran his entire case.

With Korinda Martin, Kephart even flaunted his success by subtly rubbing the defense's face in the fact that he blocked their evidence. The man disgusts me.

But my personal feelings aside about the way he did his "job"...Korinda Martin's letter and history was impeachment evidence that was never allowed to be presented to the jury.

More to follow.


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