April 27, 2009

"Defense invokes 'Crash,' blaming chance encounter for man's death."

You have to read through a half page of sympathetic verbiage before you get to the description of the actual crime:
A passenger in a nearby vehicle said [David] Jassy's SUV rolled so far into the crosswalk that it almost struck [John] Osnes. The pedestrian reacted by bringing his hands down on the hood of the SUV and shouting something, witnesses said.

Jassy immediately got out of the SUV and punched Osnes, witnesses testified. The blow knocked Osnes off balance and as he stooped -- either to regain his footing or to pick up his glasses -- Jassy kicked him in the face, the witnesses said.

"Like somebody punting a football," motorist Rinn testified. "He stepped into it."

The kick from the 6-foot, 200-pound Jassy lifted Osnes, who was 6-foot-3 and weighed about 160 pounds, off his feet, said R.J. Young, an off-duty Anaheim police officer who was in a car stopped at the intersection.

Another witness told police that Jassy shouted, "Stupid, why did you touch my car?"

Young said he thought he had witnessed "a possible homicide if not a felony assault" and ran toward Jassy, who was getting back into his SUV. The officer said he grabbed at the passenger door and slammed his badge against the window, shouting, "Police officer! Stop!"

He said Jassy looked at him, then put the vehicle into drive and turned its wheels in the direction of Osnes' body. The officer testified that he was still holding on to the door when the SUV rolled over Osnes....

In court papers, [Jassy's] lawyer wrote that Osnes' death fit the thesis of the film "Crash" -- "that random interactions of diverse people in a city as frenetic as Los Angeles can lead to disastrous consequences." He said the case begged a series of "what ifs," starting with, "What would have happened if Mr. Jassy and Mr. Osnes had not arrived on the same corner at the same time?"
For the love of God, what bullshit! It's one thing for lawyers to be shameless, quite another to make an argument so insanely self-serving that everyone recoils in disgust.
The prosecutor, Sarika Kapoor, shot back: "The only 'what if' we are left with is: What if the defendant valued human life?"

54 comments:

Peter V. Bella said...

A new excuse to be abused.

Is this guy a laywer or a philosopher? I did not know that the Film School at UCLA gave out mail order law degrees.

Maxine Weiss said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr-e3qGQ884




__________________

rhhardin said...

It depends on the jury. You can't really convict a guy unless he puts on the best possible defense; it's just that the best targets the jury these days.

John Lynch said...

Yeah, it is bullshit. Someone's dead in the real universe that actually occurred, not the notional ones that could have been. What, are we supposed to prosecute crimes that could have happened but didn't because of random chance?

The Drill SGT said...

The twinky Defense, version 2

The Drill SGT said...
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traditionalguy said...

The Dead Human was an inconvenience inside the driver's personal space. What more needs to be said. The Driver's attorney weaving the "poor me for having run across this Human getting in my way" story may actually have a ring truth in the cartoon life going on in LA. Let's see if the jury pardons him.

Peter V. Bella said...

In letters submitted to the court on his behalf, friends in the Swedish music industry called him a kind, hardworking musician who spent his free time singing in a gospel choir, playing soccer with his 11-year-old son and helping friends advance their recording careers…

…The lawyer has implied Jassy is open to a plea deal.

"If an early and fair resolution could be achieved, he would certainly consider it," Etra said.


Did his friends and families send his kindergarten graduation picture and his altar boy picture too? Maybe a letter from his first grade teacher saying what a kind and gentle child he was.

The only fair and open resolution is a guilty plea to murder and a life sentence. Of course, being California, the mutt will probably get probation and have to attend anger management and self-esteem classes.

Eli Blake said...

This used to be a law blog (once upon a time), where are the lawyers?

I'm sure you folks will jump all over this (and I certainly have no love lost for the defendant here, if the account is true) BUT:

What do Al Capone, Timothy McVeigh, Bruno Hauptmann, Adolf Eichmann, O.J. Simpson and the Manson family have in common?

A: They all were defended by a lawyer. And no matter how horrible the crime is, nor how much evidence there is that the person is guilty, the law demands that they have the right to be represented by a lawyer, and the right to expect the lawyer to do the best job (s)he can.

In fact, if the lawyer DOESN'T do the best job (s)he can then that fact alone can be grounds for appeal and possibly for throwing out a conviction(!)

If you have a problem with that then go move someplace where you don't automatically have that right if you are accused of a crime.

The Drill SGT said...

Funny, he didnt look Swedish. Maybe his family came from Algeria?

My least favorite para:

At the preliminary hearing, the attorney said the facts of the case fit manslaughter rather than murder. Etra suggested Osnes bore some responsibility for what he called "a fight" and objected to the use of the term "victim." He noted that Osnes' blood-alcohol level was 0.10%, above the legal limit for driving, and implied that Jassy may have felt threatened by Osnes and later by Young.threatened by a 55 old man and later a cop?

Peter V. Bella said...
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Palladian said...

The perp is a rapper. Surprising.

Peter V. Bella said...
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Peter V. Bella said...

"In fact, if the lawyer DOESN'T do the best job (s)he can then that fact alone can be grounds for appeal and possibly for throwing out a conviction(!)"


The insanity defense is one claiming the offender was insane. It is not an insane or inane defense of the offender's actions.


Of course in California things are "different".

Peter V. Bella said...

The lawyer objects to calling the victim a victim. What are they supposed to call him; the dead guy? Road Kill? The body? The vessel of a former soul? A specimen that no longer lives?

Smilin' Jack said...

For the love of God, what bullshit! It's one thing for lawyers to be shameless, quite another to make an argument so insanely self-serving that everyone recoils in disgust.

Aw, give the poor lawyer a break. He had to say something, and given the facts of the case, could you come up with something better?

Ann Althouse said...

Uh, Eli... I'm saying the lawyer was bad.

LUCKY said...

I was reading this and simply thought WTF. To bad our criminal justice systems focuses on rehabilitation instead of restitution. How can Mr. Jassy possibly be rehabiliated and let back into society?

Furthermore what kind of crappy defense attorneies did he get that came up with that B.S.

Eli Blake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

What's a lawyer to do with a client like this one? The lawyer is fortunate if he is not attacked himself for a failure to get him off. Confidence and a slick youthful manner may have worked with a youthful assistant DA resulting in a quick plea at arraignment, provided, of course, that the once living, inconvenient Mass of cellular protoplasm had no relatives in the area to complain. LA needs to hear from another Hebrew Prophet like Bob Dylan who wrote the song about Hattie Carroll.

peter hoh said...

Did Jassy have "Choose Life" license plates?

David said...

The prosecutor, Sarika Kapoor, shot back: "The only 'what if' we are left with is: What if the defendant valued human life?"Enough said. Sarika Kapoor for attorney general.

Dale said...

You think this is bad?

Imagine if Crash hadn't won for Best Picture:

The defense would have had to use Brokeback Mountain.

"My client just couldn't quit the alleged victim!"

Revenant said...

A: They all were defended by a lawyer.

I have the right, if I so choose, to publish a book advocating the enslavement of all women and non-whites for the benefit of white men like myself. Does it follow that the people who actually decide, of their own free will, to print and publish that book for me can't be criticized?

Yes, everyone's entitled to representation, just as everyone is entitled to publish their thoughts. But NOBODY is entitled to have a particular lawyer represent them or a particular publisher publish them. You have to find a lawyer, or a publisher, whose desire for a paycheck overcomes their objections to your behavior.

Cedarford said...

I think I see a strategy in this. Swedish immigrant, unfamiliar with the city, inadvertently encroaches into a crosswalk that some LA intersections have, others don't.

A pedestrian, oddly enough also Scandanavian and a musician - happens to be a zealot for pedestrian rights. Who according to acquaintances, will curse drivers and smash their vehicles with his fists if he sees them into any part of "his" crosswalk. But won't if he sees a vehicle full of gangbangers. But he thinks one lone white guy along with his girlfriend represents a "safe target". So he walks a step or so up to where the car is partially blocking his straight path, smashes the side of the car, curses its occupants, then smashes the hood with his fists.
But not all white guys are pussies or in control of their anger, especially when someone attacks their ride....
So the Swede gets out and trashes Mr. Osnes, the Norwegian-American who started the incident. Not content with one punch, the enraged Swede Mr. Jassy also does a full power kick to the head of the somewhat drunk (blood alcohol 0.1) Osnes.
3 off-duty cops, one of which who is American, the other 2 Aussie cops on vacation, all in beach clothes, join others in the intersection in swarming the Swede's car. THey all think the kick was hard enough to badly injure, even kill. The car is rocked and people are screaming and the Swede can't make out what is being said. The guy in beach attire is screaming and slamming some shiny object (it was the off-duty cop's badge) against the window.

The Swede doesn't have good English and knows that his car is swarmed by possible friends of the guy he decked for smashing fists on his car. A guy is banging something metallic on his window and others are rocking the car.

He has his girlfriend to protect and a green light is now on. Soon it will be red again and he and the kill will be trapped by crossing traffic with a mob swarming his car if he doesn't leave before it turns. He wants to get out of there. Out of danger. So he goes into classic panic flight. The way out looks clear. He forgets about the guy he took down. The cop lies. The pedestrian cant be seen.
By the time Jassy travelled 100 feet after the car bounced up and down over Osnes - he probably realized what he had done. But didn't go back because of something courts have excused other drivers in rulings about - fear of personal safety from a "mob".

So the case is pretty interesting. Jassy is using an interpreter. He didn't initiate the conflict. But the autopsy showed that Osnes did get a fractured skull that "might have been fatal" from the kick or the fall, if Osnes hadn't bled out from the ruptured liver driving over him caused.
Jassy is clearly not innocent, but there are enough factors in play that this is more like a bar fight where someone overreacts and kills the person that started it.


Now it turns out that

Big Mike said...

Sometimes there's no point in lawyer jokes. Some lawyers are ...

Nevermind.

MadisonMan said...

Perhaps Jassy should be sentenced to driving a SmartCar for the rest of his life. Or a rusted out Yugo.

I would prefer he contemplates his deeds from behind bars, however.

tjl said...

Uh, Eli... I'm saying the lawyer was bad.Ann, all of us criminal lawyers sometimes get clients like this. You can present the egregious defensive theory they insist on, or ask the court for permission to withdraw. In this case, it's LA, where the memory of OJ still hangs heavy in the air. In LA it can't be said that any defense, no matter how absurd, has no chance of success.
Don't blame the lawyer, blame the venue.

knox said...

And no matter how horrible the crime is, nor how much evidence there is that the person is guilty, the law demands that they have the right to be represented by a lawyer, and the right to expect the lawyer to do the best job (s)he can.Thanks for the edification. Winner: most condescending (so far) of 2009.

Peter V. Bella said...

"But he thinks one lone white guy along with his girlfriend represents a "safe target"."

Um, Cedarford, ah, I hate to tell you this man, but, er, ah, ahem, good back to the link and look at the picture of the perp.

Then come up with a different scenario.

The Drill SGT said...

LOL Peter, C4 didnt read my comment about th Algerian Swede.


or Maybe the Jassy ancestor was the Viking source of the genes in "Black Irish"

Daryl said...

Let's see him claim this during closing argument.

Then the prosecutor can turn around and say the entire defense is fictional.

Eli Blake said...

Ann,

What this makes me think of is a basketball coach of a dreadful team, who inexplicably before the game against the big home-town rival (which they were huge underdogs in anyway) benches his terrible starting lineup and sends in his freshmen (who are also dreadfully bad, plus with no experience).

You can say he's a bad coach for going with a desperation gamble but then look what he has to work with! Sometimes you can play out a losing hand by the book, or you can bet the bank on a Hail Mary, which is what this sounds like.

It's a quality that Captain Kirk had and Mr. Spock could never understand.

"They'll fine me once,

They'll fine me twice,

They'll lock me in a cell with mice,

But I'll never change,

Though you find that strange,

A crook I'll still be,

As soon as I'm free."

Eric said...

For the love of God, what bullshit!

He was really dealt a bullshit hand there. What could he possibly say?

I hope you get quoted in the verdict.

J Riordan said...

You can see where this is going, can't you?

It's human nature: We all appreciate the normal, the familiar, people who have values like we do and who act like we do. And we distrust and dislike anything or anyone different.

The pedestrian here-- he was a FREAK. What a wierdo! Walking... in Los Angeles?? And being militant about pedestrian rights?? How strange!

Everybody in California drives. Driving an SUV with your girlfriend in the passenger seat... that's normal. Walking is unusual. And so the wierd pedestrian dude was bound to have an altercation with a normal California guy sooner or later. Unfortunately, it just happened to be Mr. Jassy here.

The whole argument is just bigotry, really. The "Crash" reference is just intended to make the bigotry more palatable.

Oligonicella said...

Cedarford --

"Jassy is clearly not innocent, but there are enough factors in play that this is more like a bar fight where someone overreacts and kills the person that started it."

Horseshit. Whapping someone's car hood is not justification for a face kick and then running them over. There was no fight.

Pogo said...
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Pogo said...

"The Lonesome Death Of John Osnes".

Young David Jassy killed walking John Osnes
With a kick that that raised him right off his feet
At an LA crosswalk where people were gath'rin'
And the cops came runnin' but David kept drivin'
And rode on over him for touching the car hood
And ignored the man shouting, police officer stop
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain't the time for your tears.

Young David Jassy who at 35 years
is a rapper and father of an 11 year old son
With a shameless attorney who tries to protect him
Who claims that the death was just like a movie
The unlucky outcome of chance and bad timing
That fractured his skull and broke all his ribs
His lawyer blamed it all on that devil Los Angeles
But you who intellectualize this case and are dismissive with your sneers
That bullshit died with your paper chase
Now is the time for your tears.

Revenant said...

The whole argument is just bigotry, really. The "Crash" reference is just intended to make the bigotry more palatable.

Yeah, I see it as a not-too-subtle way of saying "come on, who here HASN'T wanted to kick some white dude's ass".

SteveR said...

I thought you had a right to a defense, does that include making shit up? I guess its not about getting a fair trial, its about being found not guilty.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

I can come up with a better defense.

There was an old common law test for insanity, which involved asking the defendant if he would have done what he did if a police officer were standing next to him. If he answered "no", clearly he had enough capacity to know what he was doing. (It isn't used any longer because it had the result of declaring everyone sane.)

In this case, on the other hand...

***

Okay, it's a weak defense. But it's still better than that one...

PatCA said...

Note to the dopey LAT, aren't all accidents "random meetings"?

Peter V. Bella said...

Of course, Drill Sgt.,
C4 may be color blind.

Cedarford said...

Peter V. Bella said...
Of course, Drill Sgt.,
C4 may be color blind.
I saw the pic. Thought he was either one well-tanned native Swede or one of those Kurds that was let in 30 years ago.

Either way, native Swede, Algerian, even Indian - all Caucasian.

Palladian said...

"Either way, native Swede, Algerian, even Indian - all Caucasian."

All part of the master race, eh?

Duscany said...

I can't understand why anyone would kill someone who slapped the side of his rental car. Jassy was already mad about something. That's why he stopped halfway through the crosswalk. Then he got called on it by Osnes. I suspect Jassy has far more issues than this newspaper article reveals. If he got out of jail tomorrow on bail and someone slapped his car tomorrow night he'd probably be facing another homicide charge.

It's also interesting that his girlfriend split for London (What are friends for?). She probably just got done calling him a girly-man just before he stopped in the middle of the crosswalk. Hey, that'll show her.

michael farris said...

"What's a lawyer to do with a client like this one?"

Be honest? Encourage him to plead guilty? Quit?

Remind him of the old song: Don't kick someone in the face and run over them with an SUV if you can't do the time?

Seriously, there's no question that he did what he's being accused of, there's no question of him being sane or not, the question should be what severe punishment should be dealt, not whether he can squirm out of the system because he was having a bad hair day.

Tangentially, I'm interested in the idea that helping a guilty person avoid punishment is in their best interests. If Jassy gets away with this, he'll just do worse in the future.

Little details can mean a lot: "He said Jassy ... turned its wheels in the direction of Osnes' body." He didn't run over his victim in panic just trying to get away, he steered the vehicle to run over him.

Better for all concerned (including Jassy himself) to keep him away from future potential victims.

Having said that, given the hellish state of US prisons, I would not object at all for him being able to serve his sentence in presumably more civilized prison in Sweden (with a lifetime ban on entering the US for any purpose whatsoever).

Largo said...

Peter V. Bella: The lawyer objects to calling the victim a victim. What are they supposed to call him; the dead guy? Road Kill? The body? The vessel of a former soul? A specimen that no longer lives?
---
"The pedestrian who is pining for the fjords."

Largo said...

You say that he was run over with a car?

Yes -- he was a pedestrian.

Well it doesn't matter what his religion is. You still shouldn't run over people with your car!

jdeeripper said...

LATIMES - Had Jassy and Osnes met under different circumstances they probably would have discovered much in common. The great passion in both their lives was music.

Osnes was admired for his encyclopedic knowledge of standards and show tunes..

Jassy was hoping to parlay his success in Sweden as a hip-hop writer and performer into a career in the U.S. and had been in Los Angeles for about a month at the time of the incident.
Can you believe this idiocy? A lot in common? One a 55 year old homosexual with a love of show tunes. The other a mixed race rap punk from Sweden desperate to cultivate a ghetto/rapper identity.

It's like they're twins.

Cedarford said...I saw the pic. Thought he was either one well-tanned native Swede or one of those Kurds that was let in 30 years ago.

Either way, native Swede, Algerian, even Indian - all Caucasian.
Cedarford, the rap punk is black. He's part of an increasing population of Europeans with African fathers and White native mothers.

The prep The victim the girlfriendCedarford, are you making excuses for the attack because the victim was obviously a homosexual?

jdeeripper said...

LATIMES - Had Jassy and Osnes met under different circumstances they probably would have discovered much in common. The great passion in both their lives was music.

Osnes was admired for his encyclopedic knowledge of standards and show tunes..

Jassy was hoping to parlay his success in Sweden as a hip-hop writer and performer into a career in the U.S. and had been in Los Angeles for about a month at the time of the incident
.

Can you believe this idiocy? A lot in common? One a 55 year old homosexual with a love of show tunes. The other a mixed race rap punk from Sweden desperate to cultivate a ghetto/rapper identity.

It's like they're twins.

Cedarford said...I saw the pic. Thought he was either one well-tanned native Swede or one of those Kurds that was let in 30 years ago.

Either way, native Swede, Algerian, even Indian - all Caucasian
.

Cedarford, the rap punk is black. He's part of an increasing population of Europeans with African fathers and White native mothers.

The prep.

The victim.

the girlfriend.

Cedarford, are you making excuses for the attack because the victim was obviously a homosexual?

dbp said...

I won't try and contemplate cederford's motives here.

I think he validates Althouse's thesis though: He just came up with a far better (probably not winning, but better) defense than the attorney did. And I am pretty sure he hasn't even been to law school.

Zeb Quinn said...

In LA it can't be said that any defense, no matter how absurd, has no chance of success.
Don't blame the lawyer, blame the venue.


Indeed, in LA it'd be professional negligence to NOT proffer this defense.

Sean E said...

I dread the day of the No Country for Old Men defense.

"Your Honor, my client is merely the victim of an inconveniently-placed cattle gun."