There’s been so much to write about, I’m gonna post a special Sunday Quick Hits edition so I can keep up with the Rak murder trial curve and move on to more things. Enjoy!
The Rak Trial continues
It wouldn’t be fair to say it’s like encountering the proverbial car crash no one can take their eyes off of, because both sides are technically competent. So, let’s call my consistent Rak murder trial attendance something more akin to a moth and flame kinda thing. Because, let me tell ya, watching how that justice system “sausage” is made is far more terrifying than any of you might imagine.
That said, there were are a couple of interesting moments at the end of last week’s festivities.
The first was, upon receiving their pizza dinner order delivery, the jurors discovered the words “they’re innocent” scrawled on the inside cover of one of the boxes. But After being individually interviewed by Judge D. J. Tegeler, the jurors essentially said they thought it was a joke and it didn’t affect them in the least.
Personally, I’m far more disturbed by the fact that someone actually got 15 jurors to agree on anything less than 15 pizzas. That sounds like science fiction to me. Meanwhile, the St. Charles Police are working on this one and someone soon won’t have a pizza making or delivery job.
And our second incident is why you NEVER want a jury trial. One of the alternate jurors asked court security if defendant Daniel Rak got to go home every night. C’mon! How can a raging alcoholic who lives in squalor (they’ve seen the pictures) somehow come up with the $95,000 bond the first-degree murder charge required?
Instead of simply remaining silent, the officer incorrectly explained that Mr. Rak was, indeed, released every evening and Judge Tegeler had to contend with that issue as well.
Meanwhile back at the trial ranch, the defense team and Public Defender Kelli Childress hit the ball out of the park, straight to centerfield no less, when they chose Dr. Douglas Miller as their medical brain expert. The guy was virtually prefect:
· When prosecutor Alex Bederka tried to demean and cut him off during his expert witness foundation testimony, Miller chewed him up and spit him out in no uncertain terms. It was like watching The Rock slap Justin Bieber around.
· I’ve never seen anyone so consistently take the shortest distance between two points when explaining complicated medical concepts. And he did it in a way that a remedial sixth-grader could understand it.
· He never stumbled over his words, he never hesitated before saying something, and, unlike our two attorneys, he addressed the jury directly at every turn. And none of what he said sounded rehearsed.
· So the rapt jury was putty in his hands. And the icing on the testimony cake was, he spoke just softly enough that the jury had to lean in and slightly strain to hear him. If the good doctor did that on purpose, not only is he a medical expert’s expert, but he’s a fucking genius.
Then, Dr. Miller went on to effectively describe at least five separate ailments that could’ve killed Jeffrey Rak on that fateful day. Finally messaging correctly, Childress consistently tipped that multiple-possible-causes-of-death-ball in with, “But we’ll never know because the coroner never ran those tests and the body’s been cremated.”
It was as close to a Perry Mason moment as you’ll ever see in real life.
So, while the defense had been doing their damndest to lose the jury the prosecution lost on the second day, Dr. Miller brought them screaming back. Whatever the Kane County taxpayer had to come up with to bring in this expert was well worth it when you consider that justice should always prevail.
Next step for Jeff Ward, closing statements! Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll be back in court tomorrow.
To be fair, I wasn’t there for the prosecution’s expert witness, but in 11 journalistic years, I’ve never seen a better communicator than Dr. Miller. Politicians should go to his forensic seminars just to listen to him talk!
Unless the defense has another expert or two up their sleeves, the trial should be moving on to the prosecution and defense rebuttal phases. All I can say is, if I’m Kelli Childress, I’d keep my rebuttal as short as possible so that Dr. Miller’s testimony is as fresh in the Jury’s minds as possible.
Then, my entire closing statement would consist of repeating the good doctor’s testimony verbatim. Why mess with perfection?