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Subject: Gerry Spence article written in response to Marquis’ take on Smoking Gun Click here for article Joshua Marquis responds: There has to be a last word somewhere, but I cannot let Gerry Spence’s latest bombast go unchallenged. He takes a lot of ink to blast me for calling him to account for his inaccurate recollections of a murder trial he lost to me in 1985. His most offensive act is to attempt to profit by once again assassinating the character of an innocent woman, who had to watch her husband gunned down only to be branded a killer by Spence on scanty evidence and no testimony whatsoever. Spence likes to boast he’s undefeated in the courtroom – the claim is on every one of his books, his website, and is relentlessly pushed by his publicists, but he can’t have it both ways. Since two of his most vaunted victories – the Silkwood and Penthouse cases – were overturned on appeal, he either lost those and beat me or he won those trials and lost in Newport in 1985. But Spence is correct on two points: He went to great lengths to keep me out of the courtroom after losing the first trial.�Yes, it does bother me to see a man murdered and no one held legally accountable. It was the body of Wilfred Gerttula that drove me to seek justice in that case, and crimes like that are the reason I remain a prosecutor these 18 years later.�And the day I forget about the victims of these crimes is the day I quit practicing law. �Joshua Marquis District Attorney Astoria, OR Subject: Marquis article on Gerry Spence book Click here for article A few thoughts on Josh Marquis’ response to Gerry Spence’s book: 1) I was very suprised that Marquis did not offer any defense of his handling of the lie detector test of his star witness. According to Spence’s account, Marquis promised to dismiss the case if his eyewitness failed a lie detector test. When the witness did apparently fail the test Marquis witheld the results from both the defense team and the judge and pushed the case forward. 2) Anybody who reads the book will see that Spence’s comment about trials not being a search for truth was a commentary on the tactics of prosecutors like Marquis not an admission. 3) Finally, it seemed clear to me that Spence’s theory was that Gertulla’s wife shot him accidentally after a scuffle began with Sandy Jones. Sandy Jones was acquitted after a full and fair trial. She had no obligation to testify, indeed she had an absolute right under the Constitution not to. Marquis’ demand for a public explanation says a lot about his respect for the presumption of innocence and suggest that any person accused of a crime must not only beat back the State at trial but also find a way to prove their actual innocence in the court of public opinion. Brooks A. Ames Brookline, Massachusetts Joshua Marquis responds: Even with the generous length accorded me in the NLJ it was not possible todocument all the gross inaccuracies in “The Smoking Gun.”Without qualification I NEVER offered to dismiss this case based on a polygraph, which is and was completely inadmissable in Oregon courts, even if the parties stipulate. The existence of the polygraph test was known to Spence with 48 hours of its administration and he constantly raised the issue during the first trial. Anyone who reads Spence’s other books knows that he fashions himself a gunfighter and like most defense attorneys he is realistic enough toadmit that the role of a defense attorney is to fight the prosecution, not seek the truth. Finally the comments about the Jones family never testifying or even publically stating how Wilfred Gerttula came to be dead are not comments on their right not to testify. We are no longer in the courtroom but by virtue of Spence’s book in the court of public opinion. There is a vast difference between legal “innocence” and actual innocence and if we were to follow the reader’s definition I guess we’d have to say that OJ Simpson was innocent of any involvement in his wife and Ron Goldman’s death by virtue of his acquittal in the criminal case. Joshua Marquis Astoria, OR Subject: Solan opinion piece on corporate fines Click here for article This is in response to Lawrence M. Solan’s article in the 9-22-03 issue of NLJ ["Corporate Fines: Wrist slaps are no deterrent"]. Mr. Solan does not take into account the deterrent effect of the firestorm of lawsuits filed against the investment banks mentioned in the article. Fred W. Barrowman Post your reactions Do you have a comment or reaction to one of this week’s Opinion articles? Post it here. Some of our Opinion columnists will respond to readers’ comments. All messages are read by an editor before posting and we reserve the right to edit or exclude messages. Comments posted may be published in The National Law Journal –in print and online–as Letters to the Editor.

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