Thursday, October 7, 2021

THE ROLE OF THE PROSECUTOR

Britton Bath Osler

 On May 23, 1895, Britton Bath Osler, the greatest Canadian prosecutor of the 19th century rose to make his final argument in the most sensational murder case that had ever been tried in the courts of Toronto. Arrayed against him on the other side were two of the most distinguished defense attorneys of the age, and they were aided by a man who was arguably the greatest American prosecutor of the 19th century, Francis L. Wellman, who had recently gone into private practice in New York City. Defense counsel, having spoken for almost eight hours, had ended their argument with an impassioned plea to spare the defendants' lives and return them to their wives and aged mother.


In attempting to defang the powerful arguments of his opposition, Osler called upon the jury to be guided by facts, not emotion. He then gave a statement of the role of a prosecutor which should be etched in the heart of all prosecutors everywhere:

"My function is simply to aid you in getting at the truth, and is entirely different from that of the prisoners’ counsel. It is the duty of the Crown' counsel to press home the facts. It is not his duty to present facts with an apology for presenting them against the prisoners. He is to treat the prisoners fairly, rightly; conceal no evidence that comes to his knowledge. He has to aid you in coming to a just conclusion upon the facts, and if acquittal follows and he has done his duty that is all the community asks of him."

William Randall Slaughter, the State Attorney of the Third Judicial Circuit when I began practicing law, made a similar statement when he told me, "A prosecutor doesn't win a case by getting a guilty verdict. A prosecutor wins a case by getting past a judgment of acquittal and getting a jury verdict. Whatever the jury says, the prosecutor has done his job." His language was a little more colorful than what I have reported, but I try to keep things on a PG level.

My next project, if I live long enough to complete it, will be a chronicle of this long-forgotten episode in Canadian legal history. It is, for me at least, a fascinating look at a titanic legal struggle in a court system that is somewhat unfamiliar to modern Americans.

Monday, September 20, 2021

A RETIRED PROSECUTOR'S RANDOM THOUGHTS

It's been a long time since I did any real writing, so I decided to put a book together that collected some of my random musings on different topics from this blog. I venture far afield in my blog, touching on such arcane topics as Greek and Roman military history, chess variants, parapsychology, and a host of other topics that are guaranteed to have an audience snoozing in a matter of minutes. I do, however, sometimes write on criminal law topics and current events. Most of my writing on current events deals with some crime or other that is so prominent in the news that I cannot ignore it. Usually it is a murder. When I write on criminal law topics I cannot help but reminisce about some of my adventures as a prosecutor or defense attorney. When I put this new book together, most of the topics dealt with criminal law or current events, but some essays on other topics slipped in, too. What resulted was a book a little under 200 pages containing 50 essays of varying lengths, from a single paragraph to several pages. I'm putting the book out in both ebook and paperback, but as of this writing only the ebook is online at Amazon.com. The paperback should be up and running in a few days. I gave the book a thoroughly original title: A Retired Prosecutor's Random Thoughts. Here is the table of contents:

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 1: THE EXECUTION OF TROY DAVIS (September 12, 2011)

CHAPTER 2: FOUR QUESTIONS EVERY PROSECUTOR SHOULD ASK (September 14, 2011)

CHAPTER 3:  REFLECTIONS ON THE LAST MURDER: THE INVESTIGATION, PROSECUTION, AND EXECUTION OF TED BUNDY (September 15, 2011)

CHAPTER 4: ON CALLING THEM LIKE YOU SEE THEM (September 25, 2011)

CHAPTER 5: THE VOWEL THEORY OF CAPITAL LITIGATION (October 24, 2011)

CHAPTER 6: DECIDING TO BECOME A LAWYER (October 28, 2011)

CHAPTER 7: SOME STRIKING SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE CASES AGAINST RICHARD HAUPTMANN AND THEODORE ROBERT BUNDY (January 28, 2012)

CHAPTER 8: MORE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE CASES AGAINST RICHARD HAUPTMANN AND THEODORE ROBERT BUNDY (March 3, 2014)

CHAPTER 9: VERDICT ON THE JAMES OSSUARY TRIAL (March 16, 2012)

CHAPTER 10: A GOOD QUOTE ON THE OFFICE OF THE PROSECUTOR (March 21, 2012)

CHAPTER 11: STAND YOUR GROUND: GET AWAY WITH MURDER (March 23, 2012)

CHAPTER 12: CHANGING THE HIGH SCHOOL CURRICULUM (March 25, 2012)

CHAPTER 13: THE COURTROOM OR THE NEWSROOM? (March 26, 2012)

CHAPTER 14: MEN WHO KILL POLICE OFFICERS (December 21, 2014)

CHAPTER 15: SATANISM, ATHEISM, AND RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE (February 27, 2014)

CHAPTER 16: MARTYRDOM TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH (January 15, 2015)

CHAPTER 17: PROSECUTING POLICE OFFICERS (January 17, 2015)

CHAPTER 18: THOSE WHO SNIPE AT SNIPERS (January 27, 2015)

CHAPTER 19: WHEN WAS JESUS CRUCIFIED? (February 18, 2015)

CHAPTER 20: MEMORIES OF MURDER WEAPONS (May 19, 2014)

CHAPTER 21: THE DOJ REPORT ON THE SHOOTING OF MICHAEL BROWN (April 3, 2015)

CHAPTER 22: JURY DUTY (April 15, 2015)

CHAPTER 23: JURORS AND JURY SELECTION (April 17, 2015)

CHAPTER 24: UNINTENDED AND UNANTICIPATED CONSEQUENCES IN IRAQ (June 5, 2015)

CHAPTER 25: FAITH, REASON, AND SCIENCE (July 3, 2015)

CHAPTER 26: INTERVIEWS INTERROGATIONS AND CONFESSIONS (July 18, 2015)

CHAPTER 27: CHARGING CRIMINAL CHILD NEGLECT (May 20, 2015)

CHAPTER 28: ANOTHER LOOK AT THE GOLDEN RULE (July 22, 2015)

CHAPTER 29: THREE THINGS LITIGANTS DON’T WANT IN A JURY (September 23, 2015)

CHAPTER 30: LOST EVIDENCE (October 26, 2015)

CHAPTER 31: FALSE DICHOTOMIES (October 28, 2015)

CHAPTER 32: PUNDITS, PISTORIUS, AND PREMEDITATION (March 20, 2014)

CHAPTER 33: MERRY CHRISTMAS; メリークリスマス (Japanese); کریسمس مبارک (Persian) (November 29, 2015)

CHAPTER 34: POLITICAL CORRECTNESS VERSUS REALITY IN SAN BERNANDINO (December 3, 2015)

CHAPTER 35: I’M GOING TO BECOME A PROSECUTOR. WHAT SHOULD I READ TO PREPARE MYSELF? (March 11, 2016)

CHAPTER 36: NO APOLOGIES FOR HIROSHIMA (May 19, 2016)

CHAPTER 37: MISSING THE POINT IN ORLANDO (June 13, 2016)

CHAPTER 38: ASSAULT RIFLES: A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION (June 13, 2016)

CHAPTER 39:  PASSAGES (June 24, 2016)

CHAPTER 40: PRAIRIE DEFENDER: THE MURDER TRIALS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN (July 13, 2016)

CHAPTER 41 IS SUPREME COURT JUSTICE BRETT KAVANAUGH GUILTY? (October 20, 2018)

CHAPTER 42: ON A PURELY MORAL BASIS, RATHER THAN A PRACTICAL ONE, TO YOU THINK THERE ARE ANY CRIMES/PEOPLE THAT DESERVE THE DEATH PENALTY? (October 25, 2018)

CHAPTER 43: THE WORM TURNS: BABY BOOMERS ARE NOW RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THE EVIL IN THE WORLD (January 27, 2019)

CHAPTER 44: A CHARACTER SKETCH OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN (April 24, 2019)

CHAPTER 45: ZAC EFRON PONTIFICATES ON TED BUNDY (May 4, 2019)

CHAPTER 46: MEMORIES OF WOODSTOCK ON ITS 50th ANNIVERSARY (August 8, 2019)

CHAPTER 47: DEFUND OR DISBAND THE POLICE DEPARTMENT? (June 9, 2020)

CHAPTER 48: EXTREMELY INACCURATE, SHOCKINGLY DISTORTED, AND WARPED (June 2, 2019)

CHAPTER 49: RESEARCHING THE EAST RIVER RIPPER: THE MYSTERIOUS 1891 MURDER OF OLD SHAKESPEARE (January 10, 2021)

CHAPTER 50: A STRONG MAN ARMED (September 15, 2018)


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

RADIO INTERVIEW ON "THE EAST RIVER RIPPER"

Yesterday, August 23, 2021, I did an interview on the True Murders radio show with Dan Zupansky. The subject of the interview was my newest book, The East River Ripper.  Here is a link to the interview: TRUE MURDER: THE MOST SHOCKING KILLERS.

 

Friday, August 20, 2021

"THE EAST RIVER RIPPER" NOW BEING DELIVERED: AUTOGRAPHED BOOKPLATE AVAILABLE

 


Copies of The East River Ripper are now being delivered by Amazon and, I presume, also by Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million. They can also be ordered from the Kent State University Press.

To celebrate the publication of this book, I am offering a free personalized bookplate bearing my signature to anyone purchasing the book. The plate will read: 

"To [your name here]: I hope you enjoy reading The East River Ripper: The Mysterious 1891 Murder of Old Shakespeare as much as I enjoyed writing it. Signed: George R. Dekle Sr."

The bookplate will be 8.5" by 5.5" with an adhesive backing and will fit nicely inside the front cover of the book.

If you would like to have such a bookplate, email me your address and a proof of purchase at bobdeklebooks@gmail.com, and I will send you the bookplate at no cost to you. (An example of a proof of purchase would be a screenshot of the shopping cart for the online bookstore where you purchase the book).

This offer is good through December 31, 2021.

If you would like for me to send you an autographed bookplate

Thursday, August 12, 2021

ADVANCE COPY OF "THE EAST RIVER RIPPER"

I just got my advanced copy of The East River Ripper: The Mysterious 1891Murder of Old Shakespeare, due out at the end of August. Here is a picture of the back cover.