Monday, November 29, 2004

The Law v. Daredevil: Yellow #1

Since Bob Ingersoll isn't around to point out legal mistakes in comics anymore, someone's got to take up the slack. This may not be a new issue (I picked the tpb up cheap last week), but it's new to me.

After Jack Murdock is murdered, his killers are arrested and charged with the crime. Loeb then writes "But on the day of the bail hearing, suddenly they had a Park Avenue attorney." The prosecutors ask for one million dollars bail per defendant. The defense attorney responds by moving that the charges be dropped and dismissed, and further criticizes the merits of the prosecution's case. The judge agrees, dismissing the case and telling prosecutors they can refile charges once they gather more evidence.

Two things are wrong here.

First, while Loeb doesn't spell it out, it certainly sounds like there was enough evidence to go to trial. As the Scott Peterson case has illustrated, fingerprints and murder weapons aren't necessary for a murder conviction, and defintely aren't necessary to get to trial. Then again, there's the suggestion that this judge was paid off, so that could explain away this discrepency.

But it doesn't even begin to address the second problem, and that is that this was a bail hearing. That's made clear both in dialogue and in a caption box. Bail hearings are for setting bail. That's it. Charges are never dropped at a bail hearing, and if an attorney attempted to make a motion to do so, the judge would quickly put him in his place. Since the charge here was murder, and the defendants are already at a bail hearing, they must have been indicted by a grand jury. Once indicted, the judge lacks the power to dismiss charges before trial, because the grand jury has already found probable cause that the defendants committed the crime. The appropriate time for the defense attorney's motion would have been in the middle of the trial, after the prosecution had rested its case.

In short, Loeb got this all wrong. Not as remarkably wrong as he portrayed the court in Challengers of the Unknown, but yet another example of his lack of understanding of the legal system.


At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And on a lighter note than pure vioxx trial , check out the funniest trial transcript ever! If it's not serious enough of a topic, well, just pretend it's the Brit's version of vioxx trial !


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