Tag Archives: Summation

The Muzzammil Hassan Trial: Coda

8 Feb

I know I promised a further analysis of the Muzzammil Hassan trial and verdict, but really – what more can I say?  I’ve analyzed the facts as they are pretty well over the past couple of weeks. I’ve repeated myself several times about what’s at the heart of the issue.  I predicted a 45 minute jury deliberation, and they were out exactly 50 minutes.

Let me turn then briefly to the one part of the trial I didn’t write about – the summations.

If you ever watched Boston Legal, the lawyers on there (when they were busy actually lawyering) prided themselves on their closing arguments.  Making that final argument and wrapping up all the loose ends from the case in a light most favorable to your client’s case is my favorite part of a case.  It’s when you get to be most dramatic and showy to the jury – it’s fun.

Muzzammil Hassan has been convicted of second-degree murder. There’s no “alleged” or “accused” anymore.  He’s a convict.

So, the convict used up every minute of his two allotted hours to make his argument to the jury.  This is a man facing life imprisonment.  It was his last opportunity to be heard – to convince them that he should be acquitted because he acted out of self-defense.

For two hours, he filled the room with self-important psychobabble, repeating again and again all of the paragraphs from the books on battered spouse syndrome he had consumed over the last two years.  In that time, he did not bring up the actual murder.  Not once. He talked all about his feelings, and otherwise gave a closing argument that would maybe seem appropriate within the context of a divorce trial. Not once did he acknowledge or mention that the case was about a woman who was stabbed 40 times and then beheaded.

At the end, he made it clear that he didn’t blame his wife for her murder (what a mensch!), nor did he blame himself. He blamed, instead, the “system” – the lawyers, judges, and counselors who had failed to “fix” Aasiya’s supposedly abusive behavior. The word is hubris.

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Colleen Curtin Gable, who had ably prosecuted this case, gave a stunning, technically perfect emotional closing argument that took up exactly half the time as the convict’s. She made it clear that Aasiya was the victim, not Hassan. That he was the manipulative abuser who was terrified of exposure.  Gable used Hassan’s own witness’ testimony against him time and time again. It was a textbook example of how to give an effective and concise closing argument.

She made the point, quite effectively, that Hassan was trying to deflect blame yet again.  His case was all about blaming Aasiya for her own death.  A more despicable and incorrect concept could not exist.

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The jury returned the only possible, logical verdict.  Judge Franczyk will sentence Hassan on March 9th.

In the meantime, I want to thank all of the reporters who live-Tweeted the proceedings using the #Hassan hashtag.  It was more helpful and meaningful than any audiovisual recording of the trial because the Tweets gave us all the details as they happened.  Video would have resulted in the litigants playing to the cameras, and the trial being reduced to soundbites.  In particular, I’d like to single out WBEN’s Steve Cichon (@SteveWBEN), WKBW’s Laura Gray (@LauraGrayWKBW), and Marissa Bailey from WGRZ (@WGRZMarissa), who were there just about every day, and provided live Tweets that, taken together as an aggregate, provided an almost verbatim record of the court proceedings. I supplemented that with live blog updates from the Buffalo News, WIVB, and WGRZ.  Thanks also to Brad Riter over at WECK for our very fun 5:05 chats most days during the trial.

I received an unprecedented amount of private, positive feedback on my take on this trial, and that’s very gratifying.  I like knowing that you guys are reading & enjoying what I write.

So, the Hassan saga is over (for now), and I foresee him being sent to a penitentiary in the North Country, where he will be treated poorly by his fellow inmates and be completely forgotten by his family and former friends. Reports will trickle back of Hassan being initiated into prison life, and I wouldn’t at all be surprised if he took his own life sooner rather than later. The only thing stopping him is that he loves himself too much.

What should I write about now?

The Hassan Chronicles:

Hassan: Closing Arguments & Likely Verdict Today
Mo Outsmarted
Hey, Mo! Where you going with those knives in your hands?
Woe is Mo: Hassan uses the Chewbacca Defense
Woe is Mo: Hassan Trial Day Nine
The Mo Show: Day Seven
Riter Radio & Hassan
The Mo Show: People Rest, Defense Fumfers
Hassan Tuesday: What Was & Wasn’t Important
The Takeaway of the Day
A Battered Court
The Hassan Case So Far

Photo Credit: Charles Lewis, Buffalo News