As Published On
THE PLATYPUS AND DNA
Just in from BBC news.
[Note: All of the excerpted material in quotes below is Copyright 2008 by BBC News.]
“Scientists have deciphered the genetic blueprint of the duck-billed platypus, one of the oddest creatures on Earth.
“The platypus is so strange that it was considered a hoax when sent from Australia to European researchers in the 19th Century.“’It has a very weird appearance because it's a mishmash of the bill of a duck, the eyes of a mole, the eggs of a lizard and the tail of a beaver,’ Dr Ponting told BBC News.
“They have acute sight, but only open their eyes above water.“Underwater, they rely on touch and a special sense called electro-reception that allows them to detect tiny changes in the electrical field generated by their prey.”
Now we know where to look for the body.
More seriously: In the absence of a post-conviction plea bargain (a highly unlikely scenario), there will be an appeal, and I believe that appeal will include allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel.
Allegations of this sort are common, but rarely succeed.
If the expected “IAC” allegations (ineffective assistance of counsel) are based on Bill Dubois’ selection of the “platypus mitigation” argument, they will fail.
In general, defense counsel is charged with the obligation to research the law and the facts, then to make informed tactical decisions in the case, after having given due deference to the client’s wishes.
A bad tactical decision by the defense – as revealed by the fact that it has failed – is not, in itself a basis to overturn a conviction, as long as it is informed by competent factual investigation and legal research and the decision is one that a reasonably competent defense attorney might make under similar circumstances.
It is premature, of course, to second guess the Reiser appeal – after all, much depends on events and decisions not yet part of the public record. But the defense was placed in a complicated, almost impossible situation by nature of the evidence in the case and the unreasonable demands of the client.
This was a situation in which almost any line of defense would present pitfalls, and therefore would be subject to after-the-fact criticism. It is a mistake to simultaneously attempt to mitigate the culpability of the killer and to deny criminal responsibility. But … making that attempt in a criminal case is not, ipso facto, “IAC”.
This may well be a case of “ineffective assistance of client.”
Hence this following free advice to Mr. Reiser: Leave the “lawyering” in your case to the lawyers. This advice is based on a strong lesson, one that applies to my fellow attorneys, to wit: Even a lawyer who represents him or herself has a fool for a client.