When I was in high school, I had a teacher who used the phrase “no yeah, buts.” He said it so quickly, it sounded like yabbutz. And “too many yeah, buts” is what comes to my mind about the testimony of the defense as the jury deliberates in the rape trial of David Fried Oppenheim.
I was not present for the entire trial, nor am I privy to the documents entered into evidence, but I do think that the defense testimony has too many ‘yeah, buts’ in its case. To wit:
• I found it disingenuous that a person who professed his computer expertise on the one hand would not know that instant messages are only kept on the server for four days. I found that odd.
• I disagree with Attorney Hoose’s assertion that teenagers are unable to hide anything of the magnitude of the allegations. As a teacher of troubled kids I know they can hide more than you can imagine.
• I also disagree, from personal knowledge, with Attorney Hoose’s statement ‘no one ever gets rid of a diary.’
I think David Fried Oppenheim did know about the four day expiry for AIM. I think that is why instant messaging was his preferred mode of communication. I don’t think it occurred to him that the victim would take the extra step of saving the communications.
His mother testified that she never saw the plaintiff at the site, yet a few months after she took over, the menu was changed so instead of showing up around 4, she started to arrive at 5 or 6. The plaintiff testified that she usually showed up at PACE at around 2:30 p.m. The high school that she attended dismisses school at 2 p.m., so she could have hours alone with DFO without his mother’s seeing it.
Defense also stated there was no possible window for SFO and DFO to be apart, yet SFO served on the Easthampton City Council during that time…
On the other side, despite Attorney Hoose’s characterization of the witnesses for the prosecution as a little nutty/a little slutty (although not in those exact words) I found them sane and believable. The fact that the plaintiff was an officer of the National Honor Society, the Harvard Model UN and the Key Club during her time at PACE is not lost on me and does nothing to detract from her credibility.