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Hopkins 1 BOSTON -- Closing statements were made on Wednesday in the trial of a man accused of a 2012 Dorchester murder.

In January 2012, Frederick Reynoso turned himself into the Boston Police six days after he shot and killed 18 year-old Christopher Pichardo. The incident happened during an illegal drug deal, with Reynoso as the drug dealer and Pichardo as the buyer. Pichardo pulled a gun on Reynoso in the basement of Reynosos family home. Reynoso reacted by shooting Pichardo once in the chest. The defendants attorney, Willie Davis, approached the jury in Suffolk Countys Superior Court and spoke about how Reynoso actions were that of self-defense. Davis asked the jury to put themselves in Davis position, You are a reasonable people, and thats what this is all about. What would a reasonable person have done in the face of a person who has a weapon? When assistant District Attorney, Amy Galatis took the courtroom floor, she told the jury not to sympathize with defendant, because he made wrong choices that January day. Galatis argued that Reynoso had other options than to shoot Pichardo. She suggested Reynoso could have run away from the scene. Facing the jury Galatis said, This trial is about choices, not self defense. Later, Galatis commented on the technique she used in her closing argument by saying, I want [the jury] to focus on the forensics. Davis decided that he wanted to focus on the more emotional side. The final verdict of the jury is not immediately known.

Hopkins 2 Cassidy Hopkins Marc Cantor Law for Journalists December 13, 2013 Court Observation Assignment For my court observation I knew I wanted to sit in on a criminal case, and I was keen to finding one with closing arguments. With some determination and hopefulness, I walked to Suffolk County Superior Court on the morning of Wednesday, December 11th. Once I found the correct building, I walked in with ease. Of course I had to go through the metal detector. For some reason that made me nervous and part of me thought that I wouldnt be able to go inside the building. No one gave me a problem, though, because it was a place of public access. I rode the elevator to the fourteenth floor where the Criminal Office is. By this time it was about 8:45 am so I was expecting the cases for the day to be released. I asked the clerk for the daily docket list, she was friendly but told me that it wasnt available at that current moment. Then a man came out of a backroom, holding a stack of papers he said they were just printed. I grabbed a paper and immediately skimmed the paper. I had never seen a session list before, I quickly read words such as murder, armed robbery, trafficking in Cocaine, and rape. I felt overwhelmed so I asked the man and woman behind the clerks desk which case would be best. I explained that I was as a journalism student from Emerson College looking to observe a court hearing. They instantaneously said told me to go to room 817 because it was the closing arguments on a murder case. Nervous, and excited, I headed to the courtroom. I asked a man who was waiting outside the courtroom if I could walk in. He said yes and was friendly, he turned out to be an investigator for the District Attorney, he sat in on the closing statements and gave me an insightful interview which I will talk about later on. I walked into the court and was somewhat greeted by two court officers who said I could take a seat anywhere. They said that the session wouldnt be starting for another fifteen or twenty minutes. I decided to wait in the courtroom and ended up conducting two interviews during that time. Again, Ill talk about that later on in the essay. I never knew that you could simply walk into a courtroom and listen to a case. I knew that the public has the right to have access to a courtroom but I didnt realize how easy it was to walk in. No one asked me my businesses being there thought I still introduced myself as a part of the Emerson College Journalism department. I think its important to first describe what the case was about and explain what I observed in the attendees, lawyers, officers, jurors, and in the judge. First, before the defendant was brought out or the case even startedthe judge had to deal with a member of the jury who was attempting to get out of court that day for personal, medical reasons. The juror had a note from his doctor saying that he had an urgent and important medical issue and that he had to go to the doctors office that day. The judge deliberated with the lawyers and ultimately excused the juror. However, before he left the courtroom floor, the judge told the juror that he was not to talk about the case for at least a week. I found this interesting because I never thought about how a jury member can be excused from court. I always here others talking about wanting to get out of jury duty, and sometimes people do but I didnt know there was a whole public process for it where the judge formally gets involved. During this time I also found out that the jury has been apart of the trial for a week and a half.

Hopkins 3 After that the court waited for the jury to come out. The defendant, Frederick Reynoso was already brought onto the courtroom floor by two court officers. He was wearing shackles and handcuffs. Once the officers sat him at his respected desk, they took off the shackles. In an interview I conducted with one of the court officers, Officer John Rularie said that the defendant is never in shackles or handcuffs in front of the jury because they dont want the jury to have a prejudice view of himthe court doesnt want the image of him in chains to effect the they make their verdict. Next, the ADA, Amy Galatis, asked the judge to have the words that were removed from the victims death certificate to be reinstated. The manner of death in Christopher Pichardos death certificate wasnt listed. Galatis said that there was no dispute on how Pichardo died and what the cause was so she was trying to get the judge to reinstate the cause of death information. The judge, the defendants lawyer, and Galatis all agreed that the cause of death was admissible so the judge ruled to put the information back on the certificate. It was interesting to see how they do this and how they passed around the file and all came to an agreement. Its also interesting to realize that anyone has access to information such as the victims death certificate so its important that the public is receiving accurate information. Not many others were in the audience at this time; it was just me and another student journalist. However, shortly after the jury came out, the defendants family walked into the courtroom. By the time the closing statements were being made, there were at least six people there for the defendant. There were at least four other observers but it was unclear if they were friends or family of the defendant or of the victim, or if they were simply just dropping in. During the closing statements the same investigator from the District Attorneys office, who I met outside the courtroom, came into the room and sat in the audience. The first thing I noticed was that the atmosphere before the closing statements was particularly light. There wasnt any tension and most of the officers and lawyers were sitting there laughing and making jokes. A court officer even went and sat on the desk that the defendant was sitting next to and started laughing and whispering with him. What the officer and the defendant were talking about, I dont know, but they were both smiling. I found this very bizarre. The judge and the court stenographer, or reporter as she called herself, were laughing and talking about weekend plans. Still, during the heart of the closing statements, I heard at least two women cryone I confirmed to be the defendants mother, the other I do not know. Finally, the case started. The judge, Justice Judith Fabricant, informed the jury that they had lost a juror and that they should try not to get sick, she made it out to be kind of a joke and it some people laughed. Then, before the judge allowed the closing statements to be made, she reminded the jury to rely on their memory of the evidence. She also reminded them of the other, more basic rules and guidelines of listening to closing statements. The first person up was the defendants attorney, Willie Davis. Davis started by summarizing and describing what happened during the day of the murder. Davis said that Pichardo went to Dorchester to buy marijuana from Reynoso at Reynosos family home. Pichardo had an alternative plan, howeverhe decided that he would rob Reynoso of his money and drugs. Reynoso, unaware of Pichardos plan, met with Pichardo in the basement of his house. After the money and drugs had been exchanged, Pichardo dropped his cell phone on the floor, he went to grab it from the floor and when he came back up he had a gun in his hand and pointed it at Reynoso. He said, Guess what time it is? Davis said that the other man in the basement, Reynosos cousin Jonathan, ran up the stairs. Davis claimed that the defendant didnt have access to the stairs, so with no exit available he pulled a gun from his

Hopkins 4 person and then there was a gunfight. Pichardo fired eight rounds while Reynoso only fired onethe shot that Reynoso fired hit Pichardo in the chest and punctured two of his lungs. Medical examiners said that he died within minutes or seconds after the shot. Davis said that after shooting, the defendant followed Jonathan up the stairs and then left the scene. Davis said that Reynosos actions were that of self-defense and that you have a right [to self defense] when the necessity calls for it. Davis argued that in order for Reynoso to protect himself, and his cousin, he had to shoot Pichardo. He had no other option available, said Davis. Davis then asked the jury a rhetorical question: What would you have don here? You cant run, cant give up the drugs, as a reasonable person what would you have done? Davis said, It was what we call the proper means of defending yourself. [Reynoso] saved a human life, Davis continued referencing the defendants cousin, He had to take a life in order to save a life. I noticed that Davis repeated a lot of phrases and information during his closing statements. He started off talking very low and then gradually made his voice louder and sterner as his statement went on. I understand that maybe he was being repetitive in order to get his point across but it starting getting redundant and unnecessary. I believe that Davis wanted to appeal to the jurys emotional side because he talked a lot about how Reynoso needed to save a life and how he simply had no choice but to shoot Pichardo. Davis was trying to get the jury to come to the conclusion that Reynoso was acting out of self-defense and for no other reason than that. After Davis remarks, it was then Galatis. She explained that after the murder, Reynoso went missing for six days until he turned himself into the Boston Police in Dorchester. She explained to the jury that Reynoso was facing three charges: unlawful possession of a firearm, illegal distribution and obtainment of drugs, and murder. Galatis explained that the basement where the crime took place was so small that if you and another person were standing there, you could reach out and touch one another with ease. She said that the basement was full, 180degrees, of bullet strikes. She described how the bullet strikes were all low to the ground and that seemingly none of them were aimed at Jonathan or the defendant. Because of this, Galatis argued that Reynoso shot Pichardo first, and then Pichardo fell to the ground and started randomly shooting about as he was bleeding on the floor. Galatis also said that it is possible that Pichardo was facing sideways to the door so that it is possible that he was trying to get out of the basement when he was shot. Dont sympathize with the defendant, Galatis told the jury. She explained that this isnt the case of a store clerk who was being robbed or a woman walking home alone from a train station at night, or a family defenseless in their home. Those people didnt create the situations they find themselves in, said Galatis. Reynoso is a drug dealer. The best insurance he can get is a firearm. Galatis went on to say that Reynoso put all the people in the area and in the home at risk. She said that there were nearly a dozen people in the building where the murder happened, including five children. What choice did he have?, Galatis asked the jury, Not to sell drugs. Not to carry a firearm. He had the choice to run down that hallway after his cousin. This trial is about choice, not self defense. Galatis said that Reynoso simply had bad judgment, bad judgment that begin with choosing to sell drugs in the first place. One of the last things she said to the jury before finishing her statement was, Self defense? Ladies and gentlemen, thats ridiculous. I believe that Galatis took a completely different approach then Davis because she used a more factual and methodical approach. Galatis had lengthy facts about the case and specific names, times, and places memorized. She didnt just stand behind the podium like Davis did, she moved around the courtroom floor and used a visual aid of the floor plan of the basement as a

Hopkins 5 tool to help her statement. It was interesting to observe through Davis and Galatis how lawyers take different approaches to the way they address the jury and act in court depending on their personal preferences and on a case-by-case basis. After Davis and Galatis gave the closing statements, the court took a fifteen-minute recess. When court resumed, the judge began her hour-long deliberation directed at the jury. The point of this, I gathered, was to explain to the jury their rights and further describe the process they should go through in order to come to a conclusion on a verdict. The judge told the jury, You must follow the law whether you agree with it or not. She also instructed them not be swayed by prejudice, personal likes or dislikes, or by sympathy, rather she told them to be fair and impartial. She reiterated that the defendant is presumed to be innocent until reasonable doubt. The judge had papers passed out to the jury that continued the outline of what the case was about. The document explained the elements of each charge and what was required to prove the charges. She then went through each charge and explained vocally, and in more detail, what was necessary to prove the charge. She explained that the distribution of marijuana is not a felony but that unlawful possession of a firearm is. Finally, she said that the verdict must be unanimous and that they must decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty and of what: murder in the second degree or guilty of voluntary manslaughter. The jury was attentive at first but by about a half hour into the judges talk, they seemed bored. Some jurors were looking down at their hands or picking their nails. Some were inspecting their hair or looking up at the ceiling. Still, there were some who were taking notes and who were making eye contact with the judge nearly the whole time. The judge was very focused and was looking at the jury the whole time; she faced them and was talking directly to them. One thing that surprised me about the deliberation process is the way that they pick between the thirteen jurors who would act as an alternate. The clerk drew a name from a turning cage to decide who was going to go off into a separate location as an alternate juror. She also drew the name of who would be the leader, as in how would preside over the jury deliberation, sign and fill out the official form, and submits questions. Once all of the names were drawn, the jury was released to deliberate. The court was then cleared and the defendant was taken away. Court officers went up to the family of the defendant and informed them that deliberation could take up to three or four hours and that they should go have lunch. The officers also told them that there was a possibility that the decision wouldnt even been reached that day. Upon hearing this, I decided to finish conducting my interviews. Before the case started I had already conducted three interviews. At recess I collected one more. I wanted a final interview with Galatis who promised to speak to me after the jury deliberation. In the next portion of my essay I will talk about the interviews I found most beneficial and interesting. The first people I interviewed were two court officers: Officer Moe and Officer John Rularie. They gave me interesting comments about their job and insight on what happens throughout a trial. For example, I didnt know that the jury is taken to the scene of the crime along with the lawyer, the DA, the clerk, and the judge. Officer Rularie told me in an interview that they took them to the scene of the crime two days ago, for this case it was the basement of Reynosos house. Rularie said, And the lawyers dont say much, just observe this- observe that. They never say anything like, Well he did this here, and he did that there. None of that goes on- thats not the place to do it. So just observe this that, this, there was bullet holes everywhere, there was you know you can see the size of the room and what went on. During his closing

Hopkins 6 statement, Davis explained that the basement had been renovated since the day of the crime but that you could still see the general layout and that the bullet strikes were still there. I was able to get insight on what its like to be a court officer through Officer Moe. He told me that he has held his job for ten years and in those years he been through interesting situations. Ive had some pretty crazy experiences and also good experiences. Unfortunately you have to understand that you have the victims families here when you have these murder cases, you have the defendants families here, and that can get kind of tense sometimes and during a verdict when a verdict comes, either guilty or not guilty, someones going to be upset. And that causes a lot of tension and friction. Thats when we intervene. He said that last year, when he was with the same judge, four court offendants got found guilty. He said that a brawl erupted between the family members and that the situation got out of control. His job is to always make sure the judge is safe. In this specific incident, the judge froze up and Moe said he literally had to pick the judge up and carry her to the lobby. Once in the lobby, the judge came to her senses and thanked the officer for keeping her safe. Moe said, theres plenty more examples but wed be here all day. I think that this is the best system in America; I mean Im not going to lieits not perfect but I think its the closest to being perfect. A second interview I conducted was with that of the District Attorney investigator. He didnt give me his name but he did give me valuable quotes and information. I talked to him before the final statements started. He didnt want to talk in front of the defendants family so we conducted the interview off to the side, away from other members of the audience. He spoke in whisper about the case, his thoughts on a potential verdict, and why he likes his job. One thing I found particularly interesting was that he said that Reynoso chose not to take the stand. The investigator said that he would have taken the stand if he were in Reynosos shoes. He said that Reynoso should of told the jury that he was in fear of his life. When asked why the investigator thought Reynoso didnt take the stand, he said, Well there must be something in his background where the prosecution could really hammer him, thats the only thing I can think of. He went on to talk about his job in detail. He said that as an investigator for the District Attorneys office, it is his job to find witnesses. The investigator said that when people talk to cops as witnesses, they usually give phony names because they may have outstanding warrants. And because they dont want to get arrested, you know they want to help what they saw but they dont want to give their real name because they dont want to end up being a good guy and then end up going to the slammer, he said. He added that these kinds of people always give something true to the cops, as well. He said that his job is to find the truth between all the lies. The final interview I will talk about is the one I had with Galatis, the ADA. She said that her, one sergeant detective, and three detectives are assigned to a case and that the four of them work together to investigate the case. What they find in investigation is what they bring forth to the grand jury. She side that its impossible to find out one hundred percent of the information out there about each case but that they investigate as much as they can. Once in trial, they hope no new information surfaces. Galatis said, What youre hoping is that nothing is going tonew information isnt going to surface in the middle of the trial. The idea is that for both sides, its not suppose to be any surprises, its supposed to be information that we both know, were both aware of, and its just dependent on how were going to represent it. I was in the courtroom for at least three hours. I was surprised how quickly time flew by; I think time passed quickly because I was engaged in the case. I had to listen and take notes so I was always had my ears perked, listening carefully to what the judge and lawyers were saying. Interviewing officials was very eye opening and quite frankly, a very educational experience.

Hopkins 7 After conducting my final interviews I went back to the clerks office and requested the docket of the case. They printed out the docket for me and I was on my way. This court observation assignment taught me what its like to sit on a court hearing and gave me a brief example of what it would be like to report on legal cases. While I didnt understand all the jargon that the officials used in their statements, I believe I received a pretty comprehensive glimpse onto what goes on in courtrooms. I had never been exposed to anything like this before and I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences in my journalistic career thus far.