Family members have gathered and are sitting around the table . Everyone is getting along fine until someone has to bring it up. Some old disagreement about something that happened years ago.
And somehow or another, uncle Bob and Aunt Betty don’t seem to have the same memory of how the family car got the dent in it that year. Maybe cousin Jim steps in to prosecute, saying Betty, his Mom, just backed into a car at the grocery store, implying she has a history of denting cars. But then Betty starts noting how many beers Bob has been drinking, and asks how come his marriage didn’t work out.
Then Joe steps in and says that it’s house, and we are not going to talk about this anymore, but then adds that Betty still owes him some money.
Now hopefully this all dies down and people get back to enjoying each others company, and not hashing out the past.
But this family squabble is a great example of why police and rules of evidence are so important.
People are very fallible creatures, and memories are easily tainted.
Federal hearsay rules hold no punches — the more time a person has to think about something they saw or heard, the less reliable and more BIASED their account is considered to be.
If you add in another layer – that Jane says she remembered Bob saying he saw Betty go to the body shop. You have double hearsay. And double opportunity for bias creeping in.
The rules give more points on truthfulness to someone in immediate danger, what they might say if they were about to be hit by a bus for example. Death bed confessions are given extra points, as the rules denote a person dying has less to gain by – ahem — “faulty memory.”
Looking at the “procedure” in the Adam Braseel case, from a technical standpoint – it looks much more like an old family gathering than anything coming close to what should be considered a legitimate investigation, prosecution, or fair trial.
Hearsay, perjury, altered documents and witness testimony are what separates Adam from his family on this day. And here’s the turkey to go with it. Prosecutor Steve Strain.