Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
“A very-veteran criminal defendant was about to be tried in federal court in Wyoming on bank fraud charges. The allegation was that, while in the county lockup on an unrelated stolen-vehicle charge, he had used the jail phone to call a local bank and, posing as a prominent wealthy individual, persuaded the bank to deliver a cashier’s check for $10,000 to the jail for the ostensible purpose of bonding out the man’s “nephew” (the nephew’s name, of course, being the defendant’s own).
The government planned to use the jail’s tapes of the phone calls as evidence, and faced the problem of proving that the voice on the tapes was in fact the voice of the defendant. At the final pretrial conference the Assistant United States Attorney, frustrated that the defendant would not stipulate that the voice was his own, announced that he intended to conduct a live, in-court demonstration to let the jury decide the voice identity by comparing the taped voice to the sound of the defendant’s voice reading some preselected text in the courtroom.
The court and counsel began discussing what text the defendant should read to the jury, and rejected various proposals. Finally, the defendant himself brought the discussion to a conclusion by proposing, ‘How about I read the Fifth Amendment?'”
~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger