Reiser Was On the Witness Stand All Day Under Cross Examination, and…
In cross examination, Hora got Hans Reiser to assert that he had washed out his old 1991 Plymouth Laser with a hose – inside the vehicle; then he was able to grill Hans about whether there were existing holes in the floorboard for the water to run out.
It went something like this:
Reiser: I don’t remember. At some point I discovered there was a hole. I may have discovered there was fortunately a hole. I just don’t remember. This was a long time ago.
Hora: So you didn’t tear up the carpet on the floorboard to see if there was a hole? You just started squirting water and, lo and behold, discovered there was a hole in the floor?
What was Hora up to?
In order to make the washing of the CRX sound merely wacky, as opposed to sinister, Reiser is willing to assert that it was his normal practice. Hora – knowing this about Reiser — is gambling that the jury will conclude that Hans is simply trapped in an escalating pattern of lies, the falsity of which are ultimately revealed because of their innate absurdity. This is why DuBois has spent so much courtroom time trying to show, in effect, that what we might consider to be absurd is Reiser’s norm.
Hans was then required to go through the motions of throwing a replica car seat into a hypothetical dumpster. Hans was repeatedly pressed for details about the location and the manner of disposal. Why? Because the DA hopes to demonstrate with rebuttal evidence that Hans is lying. He may be able to do so if, for example, the business that Hans has described does not exist or that its managers deny that there was a dumpster where Hans claimed or that no car seat was left … you get the idea.
Hans was questioned about when he unbolted the car seat before disposing of it.
Hora: So you unbolted it in the morning and dove around all day?
Hans: I don’t remember when I unbolted it. I unbolted it before I got there at Tom’s Hardware and Auto. These memories are all very vague. This was a long time ago.
Hora: How many seats in your life have you throw in a Dumpster?
Hora: This one CRX seat, right?
A good cross examination is memorable and ties into an obvious argument. This was a good cross examination.
Hora also elicited an admission from Hans that he was in Manteca before he disposed of the car seat in San Leandro. Many on this jury are getting the picture of someone who is working hard, almost full time, in an effort to elude police and destroy evidence. We can grant that a paranoid, loopy geek genius who has been framed might do the same thing. But my professional experience tells me that whenever the defense case depends on the “I was framed” theory, the prosecution has the upper hand.
In another exchange, Hora bated Hans into describing why he was acting so evasively. It didn’t go well for Hans.
Reiser: The police were my concern.
Hora then asked the police were “the most compelling concern” that Hans had on the days is question (September 7 and 8 – recalling that by then he knew that Ellen, Nina’s friend had focused suspicion on him and that he had already consulted with Bill Dubois)
Hans: And Nina and my kids, yes.
Hora: What did you do with respect to your concern for Nina on the 7th and 8th?
Then in the afternoon session, Paul Hora returned to the email exchanges between Hans and Nina. Recall the pending trap I mentioned in my last post. The exchanges so far dealt with the couple’s child custody disputes and were otherwise unremarkable.
I am expecting that the DA will gradually sneak up to the key exchange when Nina writes:
“When you give me a hard stare and … that you are very good at combat, your request that I drop domestic-violence charges against you, it very much sounds like another threat. When you give me a hard stare and … that you are very good at combat, your request that I drop domestic-violence charges against you, it very much sounds like another threat.”
DuBois will be alert for this moment and sparks will fly…
I’ll comment on the rest of the afternoon session tomorrow.