Contentious Morning in Ahmaud Arbery Case. Use of Force Expert

A number of motions were taken up this morning in the Ahmaud Arbery case. 

The first was over whether the Defense could call a “use of force” expert to testify about the training supposedly received by Travis and Gregory McMichael.

The state pointed out that none of the people involved in the shotting were law enforcement officers.  While Trais and Gregory McMichael might have received use of force training years ago, they were not acting as law enforcement officers on the day of the shooting.

The State also pointed out that the expert the Defense was proposing to call as a witness had already talked with Travis McMichael.  The State wanted to have the answers Travis gave in this conversation.

The State argued that the testimony of this witness was “irrelevant, confusing and prejudicial.”  The very testimony of this witness gives the actions of the defendants a veneer of law enforcement legitimacy.

The State also noted that a “use of force” expert would testify to training about the “determination of probable cause.”  This is not the role of an expert witness, but the role of the court in a jury charge.

Kevin Gough, attorney for William Bryan, argued that the fact that the state was charging “malice murder” meant that somehow this “use of force” witness would be required to talk about the McMichael’s mental state.  (Note: I don’t understand this argument).

Gough argued that if the State agreed not to challenge the “credibility” of Travis McMichael then there would be no need for the “use of force” expert. 

Gough is the attorney for William Bryan, not for Travis McMichaels.  I am not sure why he is arguing about Travis McMichaels in the first place.  Gough, however, is frequently arguing strange things.  You can almost feel the entire courtroom tense up every time he stands up to speak.  Even the other defense attorneys seem embarrassed by him.

The State informed the court that she had no CV on the proposed expert.  One of Travis McMichael’s attorneys stood up and interrupted her to say that it wasn’t the job of the Defense to provide the State with a CV.

It was an argumentative and sometimes contentious morning.  Gough told the Court that it should be “offended” by the State’s arguments.  Another of the defense attorneys told the Judge that he could either read or listen to arguments (those of the defense attorney) but not do both.

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