Nasty, Brutish & Short

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Great Closings, and Not So Great Closings

February 21, 2007 10:40 PM

Everyone is commenting about the Liz Carroll conviction today in the Marcus Fiesel case.  I had to lay off of this story because of the professional involvement of my law firm in the civil case.  Thankfully, that matter has been resolved.  But anyway... back to the Liz Carroll conviction.  There's really not much more that can be said, other than the guilt was pretty damn obvious, though it was something of a question whether she intended for Marcus to die, since having foster kids out the a** was her meal ticket. 

The other point to make is that the defense's case was just bizarre.  Sometimes you do have really bad facts, and it's not defense counsel's fault if the client has really, really screwed up.  But in this case, defense counsel actually argued in their closing that while Liz Carroll may be morally responsible for what happened to Marcus, she's not legally responsible.  What jury is going to buy that?  I'm surprised they didn't start fashioning a noose out of their shoelaces right then and there.  But again, I want to emphasize that the conviction is not defense counsel's fault.  It's Liz Carroll's fault because she's a freaking murderer.

But the main thing I wanted to add to what everyone else is already saying is that I hope the taxpayers realize what phenomenal talents they have on their payroll in the prosecutors that tried this case.  Woody Breyer (Clermont County) and Mark Piepmeier (Hamilton County) are fantastic attorneys, and tried a very compelling case.  And no, I don't know either of them personally, and don't try criminal cases, so I'm not biased about this.

Take, for example, Woody Breyer's closing argument from this morning.  He was talking about how the Carrolls tied Marcus up, and left him in a closet while they went to Kentucky for a family reunion. 

They say you wouldn’t treat a dog like that.

And you know what?

 She wouldn’t.

She took the dog with her.

She took the dog with her.

The words in print don't capture the proper emotion, but I still think it's clear were talking about a great line, well delivered, and perfectly timed.   Everyone knows the phrase "you don't treat a dog like that," and the fact that the prosecutors pulled this evidence out and used in in this way shows that they really understand phraseology, the importance of words, and human emotion.  Few attorneys do.

People should understand that Woody Breyer and Mark Piepmeier could leave their public sector jobs tomorrow, walk in any law firm in the City, and be paid five times as much as they are now.  I don't know exactly what their government salaries are, but I can tell you, they are ridiculously low.   We are talking about two public servants who have made extraordinary personal sacrifices so they can serve on our behalf.  We should be very thankful, but I think most people have no idea.

They did get some rare props from the Enquirer, though:

The prosecutors, Daniel “Woody” Breyer and Mark Piepmeier, are considered by many to be among the best trial attorneys in Greater Cincinnati.

“The lawyering by the prosecution was outstanding,” Shiverdecker said. “They were methodical. They laid out the case. They wrapped it up and put a bow on it.

Indeed they did.  Hats off to them.  And thanks, as well.


You saw no 'reasonable doubt'?
I hope that the immunity given to Amy Baker was has some wiggle room.

ollie   ·  February 22, 2007 07:49 AM

I think the jury could have come out either way on whether she actually intended to kill him or not.

NBS   ·  February 22, 2007 11:35 AM

I didn't know there was a civil case. What's going on with that?

jurist prudence   ·  February 24, 2007 03:15 PM

Marcus's birth mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Carrolls, Amy Baker, Butler County and Lifeway (the foster care agency). There are several published accounts that are available online. I really can't comment further, exept to refer you to those.

NBS   ·  February 25, 2007 10:31 PM