GA - Ross Harris Trial Appeal, hot car death of son, Cooper, 2019/2020

Discussion in 'Cooper Harris' started by Jewels53, Mar 26, 2019.

  1. Reasonable_

    Reasonable_ New Member

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    When I followed the trial, I initially felt shocked that those charges were not severed. As it unfolded, my position switched given the circumstances. I feel unsure how to separate a suspect’s activities during the commission of a suspected crime from the crime itself.

    When I try to wrap my brain around severing, I keep coming back to this: what an adult is doing while a child in his charge is dying seems inseverable, especially if the adult’s activities involve committing crimes against another minor knowingly.

    In his interrogation, RH argued that he shouldn’t be arrested because he had no history of child abuse. The other charges refute that.

    All feels enmeshed.

    I don’t mean to debate as much as brain pick. You seem to follow this case closely, and the appeal hearings have roped me back in...
     
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  2. mom2chloe

    mom2chloe Well-Known Member

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    I hope he burns. Moo Mommy Dearest too.
     
  3. Hope4More

    Hope4More Well-Known Member

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    I don't mind debating, or brain picking, and am always grateful for open mindedness. :)

    First, no matter what actually happened that day, it wasn't child abuse. Either RH deliberately killed his son or it was an accident.

    Second, RH's sexted with adult women as well as with a minor (or was it with 2 minors, I don't remember). Knowingly sexting with a minor (which he did) is a crime. Sexting with adult women while married is a moral failure (or sin, depending on one's POV), but not a crime.

    On the morning his son died, RH was exchanging messages with an adult woman, not a minor. So...he wasn't committing a crime while at home that AM, or while driving to Chick-fil-A, or while eating there (and largely ignoring his son), or while driving out of the parking lot and to the light where he should have turned left but didn't. (Though I agree the fact he was preoccupied with texting [no matter to whom or about what] was relevant and should have been brought in).

    Therefore, certainly in my opinion, the fact that he had previously broken the law and abused a minor girl had zero relevance to what happened that day. It was definitely evidence of "bad character," which should have been excluded, and in a normal trial, would not have been allowed in.

    In RH's trial, that evidence was brought in the side door as unsevered separate charges. In no common sense universe was the introduction of those charges not highly prejudicial to RH.

    Given the highly charged publicity before and during trial as well as the holes in RH's defense, IMO the State would have readily convicted him *without* including those charges. I'm an inflexible stickler for the State in every instance upholding their obligation to afford defendants their Constitutional right to a fair trial.

    Thinking those charges should have been severed isn't a statement of belief for or against RH or his guilt/innocence. But given the irrelevance & prejudice attached to the charges, I do believe he didn't receive a fair trial because they were included.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2020
  4. Kittybunny

    Kittybunny Well-Known Member

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    I don't disagree with you that the charges themselves should have been severed, but perhaps since that activity of sexting speaks to motive that prosecutors felt was important to establish. Ross did not want to be an encumbered father with little opportunity to pursue extracurricular activities. IMO, it's similar to evidence of a torrid affair being brought to light and the mistress questioned in the many many murders by husbands of wives.

    Anyway, to me the most damning of evidence was where the car seat was positioned and the claim that he could not see it. The way he tossed those lightbulbs in the car with a concerted effort to NOT look in there. His weird behavior in going to the movies, how he was with cops, the witnesses who described him as acting. All more relevant.
     
  5. Hope4More

    Hope4More Well-Known Member

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    Thing is, there were plenty of other sexting messages the State could -and did- bring in that didn't involve minors. I think it was plenty fair to have those come in, for exactly the reason you mention, to suggest motive. I'm not sure we are disagreeing very much, if at all, about severance of the charges.

    About other evidence and what you found most convincing. I was in the small minority here on WS who followed the whole thing, from arrest through end of trial, and ended up still unconvinced of his guilt. It was a super emotional trial, ditto the trial watching and discussion. Maybe I'd change my mind if I watched the whole thing again.

    My primary interest though, start to finish, wasn't about his guilt or innocence, but in the State's application of GA's brand new murder law, and the legal maneuvering it took the State to convict with that law.
     
  6. Reasonable_

    Reasonable_ New Member

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    Thank you for the detailed response. It’s interesting to see someone get into the nitty gritty with this. :)
    Apologize if this is too long...

    edit to add: Goodness, I feel I may have goofed quoting. If so, my apologies.

    Isn’t it abuse to deliberately leave a healthy child in a hot car to suffer nausea, head ache, and seizures? Thats what the state alleges happened. He was charged with murder that resulted from hours of intentional torture.

    It was two minors, and agree about the adult ladies.

    He was texting (photos I think) to one of the two minors while at work that morning, which is when the crime occurred according to the state.

    That makes sense and gives me a different way to see it...

    Since his defense is based solely on how his brain worked with memory that day, feel he opens himself up to details of what his brain was processing and remembering.

    Doesn’t his interrogation open the door to some of this, too, since he misrepresented his marriage and history? That’s why Miranda’s important.

    Yeah, it did feel odd to see those charges tried together.
    However, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of a dad being accused of sending photos to minors at the same time he’s torturing his kid.

    It’s common for crimes allegedly committed at the same time to be tried together. A suspect accused of kidnapping a kid and leaving him in the car while robbing a bank, would be charged with kidnapping and robbery, right?
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2020
  7. gitana1

    gitana1 Verified Attorney

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    You can’t. There has to be some sort of error. And it has to be big enough that it could have changed the verdict.
     
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  8. gitana1

    gitana1 Verified Attorney

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    The fact that he actually entered the restaurant and ate there with his live, fully awake child, shows that, if it’s a change in the routine, it was one that would do the opposite of causing a memory lapse. He spent considerable time interacting with his child and knowing he was there- not just putting him once into the car and then driving automatically to work.

    Also, he had to strap Cooper back into the car, and then, within less than a minute, decide whether to turn left to daycare or right to work.

    In none of the cases I’ve found has the lapse in memory occurred that quickly.

    It is also absurd, IMO, to suggest that a baby who had been fully awake and waving in the restaurant was asleep within seconds of being strapped in to his car seat, at a time not long after he had awoken for the day and nowhere close to his nap time.

    None of this fits typical accidental hot car cases.
     
  9. Hope4More

    Hope4More Well-Known Member

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    -------

    Typing a reply on my wee phone, so forgive the no doubt awkwardness in typing/format. Will repost your reply below, with my replies italicized.

    ETA: Leaving it here with this reply. The first time dissecting all this back then was more than plenty enough, and the severance thing is moot anyway, since I am pretty certain RH will be denied a retrial. Thanks for being agreeable about disagreeing.

     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2020
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  10. MsMarple

    MsMarple Well-Known Member

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    So we won't know if Ross gets a new trial until January or later. I hope the docs are published:

    The judge gave the state until Dec. 23 to research the issue and submit an argument. The defense will have until Jan. 8 to submit a response to the state's argument.

    Following this, both sides will draft and submit proposed orders to the judge by Jan. 15. After receiving the proposed orders, the judge will ultimately sign an order granting or denying the motion for a new trial in the case.
    Ross Harris case: Judge puts off decision on retrial until Jan | 11alive.com
     
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  11. LinasK

    LinasK Verified insider- Mark Dribin case

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    I disagree that "the state will not retry him because there's no way they'd ever win again". I followed this case closely at the time. My opinion hasn't changed that it was a pre-meditated murder staged to look like an accident. That way he gains sympathy and less chance of a conviction. Many a murderer does this. Even Jodi Arias tried that defense- battered woman, accidental killing. Most people can see through something like that. Accidental hot car deaths do occur- Justin counted on that- this wasn't one of them!
     
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  12. LinasK

    LinasK Verified insider- Mark Dribin case

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    I think it was totally consistent. Right in the hot sun, not in secluded shade. He wanted/was hoping someone else would discover Cooper. That's probably why the lunchtime light-bulb checking trip. When that didn't happen, he had to stage the roadside scene on the way to the movies.
     
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  13. borndem

    borndem Anglophile & registered demwit

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    bbm
    Yes and absolutely yes.
    He planned it. Right down to parking his car where he did that morning and backing the car into the parking space (so no one could see that little boy crammed into a too-tight car-seat). And then buying that light bulb (wasn't it a light bulb?) at lunch so he could go to his car to put the package in his car and to check on his little son who had to be already dead. Dotting his i's and crossing his t's. He had put some thought to it. Grrrrrr.
     
  14. scandinavian girl

    scandinavian girl Well-Known Member

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    My moment of revelation was at the policestation, Ross was talking about being a spokeperson for hot car deaths and also when LH came and was talking about a having another child, Cooper had been dead for only a few hours and nobody was talking about him. Not saying his wife was involved but it was all about her husband.
     
  15. Ninja Bunny

    Ninja Bunny Well-Known Member

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    Yup, that poor little boy never had a chance, he had no one to advocate for HIM.
     
  16. JerseyGirl

    JerseyGirl Forum Coordinator Staff Member Forum Coordinators

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  17. Laughing

    Laughing Well-Known Member

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  18. MsMarple

    MsMarple Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the update! Next stop for the defense is the Georgia Supreme Court.

    Cobb County Superior Court Judge Mary Staley Clark’s ruling, issued late Thursday, came as little surprise. Had she granted a new trial, she would’ve had to admit to key errors on her part. Harris’ lawyers plan to appeal her ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court.
    ...
    Harris’ original defense team — Marietta attorneys Maddox Kilgore, Carlos Rodriguez and Bryan Lumpkin — claimed Staley Clark prevented them from challenging the credibility of Cobb County police and expert witnesses, a key component of their strategy.
    Justin Ross Harris denied new trial
     
  19. borndem

    borndem Anglophile & registered demwit

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    Welcome to Websleuths,
    Reasonable_ !!
     
  20. borndem

    borndem Anglophile & registered demwit

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