We’re all mourning the loss of more than half of Netflix’s fantastic Marvel series, especially one that is a favorite of many defense lawyers, Daredevil. We’ve actually written quite a lot about these shows, including two articles on Luke Cage, two more on Jessica Jones, and two articles on Daredevil, including one about Frank Castle before the stand alone Punisher series. We even listed Matthew Murdoch as one of the worst fictional lawyers on television. In memoriam of yet another great Marvel series getting the axe, here’s one final article on the legal issues of Daredevil, this time focusing on whether Agent Nadeem’s testimony could actually take down Kingpin. As always, if you’re not caught up, expect spoilers.
Agent Nadeem’s Testimony as a Dying Declaration
While Matthew may be a terrible lawyer, the writers of the show have done a bit of research on the law since it is his and Foggy’s profession. In fact, while there are stile some legal inaccuracies in the show, Foggy is actually one of the better fictional lawyers on TV. When he and Karen watch the video containing Agent Nadeem’s testimony about Wilson Fisk’s extortion of FBI agents, Karen says it’s too bad that it would be inadmissible as evidence because it would be hearsay. Foggy says that the fact that Nadeem makes it as a dying declaration means that it could be legally admissible though -and he’s 100% right.
As Foggy points out, a dying person has less motivation to lie than someone who could personally gain through a testimony. Also, while the defense and prosecution both generally have the opportunity to question a witness, criminal lawyers acknowledge this isn’t exactly a possibility when someone knows they will die before the trial. For these two reasons, dying declarations are admitted in court. It is worth knowing though that the declaration is not assumed to be true but generally accepted as the best possible option in the given circumstances.
What About Double Jeopardy?
Agent Nadeem did already give all of this information to the grand jury, who voted not to indict Kingpin after he threatened everyone in the jury. The jury then sealed Nadeem’s testimony so it couldn’t be heard by anyone else. “But if the grand jury already voted not to indict Fisk,” many fans ask, “then wouldn’t that be double jeopardy?”
It’s a good question given that most of the time if a case goes before a jury, the defendant can’t be charged for the same crime again. But the grand jury isn’t the same as a jury in a criminal trial. While a trial jury determines if someone is guilty or innocent based on the evidence presented, the grand jury only determines whether or not there is sufficient evidence to bring charges against someone. In fact, that most cases aren’t even brought before the grand jury.
If you have been accused of any crime, criminal attorney Peter M. Liss can help. Please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Creative Commons image by istolethetv