Suspect in Etan Patz case on suicide watch
Randy Zelin and John Manuelian weigh in on the Etan Patz case
- Duration 12:12
- Date May 25, 2012
Randy Zelin and John Manuelian weigh in on the Etan Patz case
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-- I'm joined by my legal panel to discuss some some relevant huge stories that we've been covering for -- -- is -- former prosecutor joins me here on sat.
And Jon -- a rally in a criminal defense attorney joins us from our Los Angeles bureau gentlemen thank you very much.
For talking to us -- -- wanted to start talking about this case here.
-- on -- -- this story that everybody has been watching unfold especially in the last couple days but.
The just attorney's office basically reopen the investigation several weeks ago they searched the basement of of a home.
In so how they really didn't seem to find anything there.
But now they had a man and questioning yesterday who then confessed.
To strangling and murdering this little boy who has been missing since 1979.
He's in the hospital this morning being treated on some sort of medical issue that we don't know about.
And also for his mental stability against the -- -- and make sure that -- of sound mind and that this isn't made -- thing.
But they have arrested a what does it mean by that -- happening today.
With that would Ray Kelly coming out essentially holding a news conference endorsing the fact that they made an arrest they've got to have enough evidence to prove to us.
I would where's the evidence -- It is very easy to say that there is enough based upon Norris.
We have to keep in mind a bunch of things particularly with a story a story like this -- this this case has pulled that somebody's heart strings for the past 33 years.
It suddenly got legs to it.
Because there was some evidence that may be someone else was involved which let's let's remember that -- -- -- circle back to that in a moment.
That's very very important.
But there is there it is politics behind this there is.
The did this sense of the community wanting closure to this is a family that wants closure there's all of the reasons why it's great to announce an arrest to make a big splash.
But keep in mind something that you just said.
You need evidence.
And the -- even says you need evidence more than someone else's confession right.
And the law says that let's remember the Jonbenet Ramsey case where someone came in and said my name is John more car.
I did this it turns out John Mark -- -- didn't do this we've seen so many cases where people falsely confessed it was -- a study done in Illinois where I think 53%.
Of the cases that ended up getting thrown out on bad convictions had.
-- confessions and why would somebody wrongly confessed.
People get coerced is the old saying I just want to go home tell me I'm gonna go all I'll tell you whatever you wanna say whatever you want me to set right.
What's so important here in this case remember.
Once upon a time there was a guy -- Ramos who was the prime suspect in this case right.
Never charged criminally but a civil court.
Found him liable.
So imagine if you're now representing mr.
Hernandez wait -- second you have a lot to work with from a defendant's perspective you have nobody.
You have no weapon.
You have no motive right now we know no physical evidence linking mr.
Hernandez to describe other people that the police thought was the right gotten.
All of those things do not bode well for a very strong prosecution now add to that the fact that you're relying solely on a confession.
And suddenly this guy is in the hospital -- there -- going to be questions now as to whether or not.
He actually was in headed appeared to be able to know what he was doing what know what he was saying we know of no lawyer that was there right him.
Sorry but John obviously there have to be psychological evaluation anyone who comes forward it in confesses to a crime like this 33 years later obviously we're gonna wanna know what his mental state of mind it's about -- -- one.
He would've gotten that physical about that that psychological evaluation one way or the other.
-- -- but what.
What do you say about the lack of evidence that that they have in this case and as far as a weapon is concerned if he confessed to strangling him.
We don't know what type of of method he used but if he used his hands in the weapons would be -- -- so there would be no weapon.
How does how does the -- yes and -- prove that us.
It's going to be tough and now I'm Randy hit ready hit the nail on the head and stole my thunder by the way he's actually right we do need to be corpus the -- -- -- select -- fancy form we needed some other evidence physical evidence tying the -- world recession or any corroborating what what the -- or a witness we need other types of physical evidence perhaps I'm sure the jury would like to know whether or not the body.
And that's a -- Manhattan apartment was in fact Eton pats pats -- And now also we got to know about the mental evaluation this person -- making these statements Randy did point out that John Mark Karr did make these statements.
He's very eloquent and detailed as far as how we kill Jonbenet Ramsey.
And we found that it was fake.
So this guy could be a quack who knows -- confessing but the bottom line is.
There are quacks out there there are a lot of other people that are persons of interest and it doesn't mean that mr.
NN is necessarily is a person -- Kilby.
-- it -- talk about what he -- to lose I mean Hernandez does have a wife and he has children.
I mean he he has he hit it in the Jonbenet Ramsey case did did would you say that that car had the same clothes -- why would he confess now a look at some the other family.
There are few reasons why there was.
-- -- -- No I was I was this they'd know -- it is different and at John Mark Karr didn't have Stanley like mr.
Hernandez does but that does -- mean.
That they both don't have mental problems that can be different set of circumstances.
And in this case maybe have a guy who was following this case he was -- about this case has mental issues if you listen to the reports on this guy isn't -- yet very odd behavior.
Very -- himself.
Who knows what this -- -- but the bottom line is the confession alone is simply not enough.
It is interesting though that he lived in SoHo and then moved to New Jersey shortly after he Tom's disappearance I mean is there any.
-- -- correlation there and his up something that the prosecution's gonna try to.
That draw parallel to this case.
You can take any situation.
And criminalize it if you want to.
You you work if you wanna kinda look backwards look in the rearview mirror the fact that he moved.
Yes you wanna say well obviously he knew he did it he wanted to get out of town well now look at when did he move in relation.
To the disappearance but again the point is depending on what side of the aisle you are on you can have an innocent explanation for anything that goes on in life.
You could have a criminal explanation for anything that goes on in life you have people suddenly saying.
How he acted strange well if I'm a prosecutor I'm gonna get up there ladies and gentlemen you must convict this defendant because he was a loner.
And he acted strange I mean come -- A -- -- thing you know -- -- was not some random person car was in the sense where.
He just came out of the -- them.
The woodwork and decided I'm gonna go ahead and confessed to this thing and let the white -- case -- belly was a -- all you had him on the police that the NYPD radar.
For years and he he had been on the radar and then when they went out to New Jersey in question and he he did actually confess until hours.
And to that question which goes through which goes to whether or not.
This confession was voluntary whether or not this confession was -- works.
What did the police -- -- also keep in mind something he allegedly confessed is totally ignored or other.
This of this congress apparently it's videotape we haven't -- it is yet right well that's one of the reasons why people call for videotaping of confessions but.
From commissioner Kelly we don't know whether or not.
He gave a written confession.
And a videotaped confession whether the written confession was videotaped.
The other thing that I found very telling -- When you have confessions and nothing else.
And I will tell you -- -- delegates all the credit for saying this yesterday and studio B.
You look for something in the confession that only the suspect would know that he could not have gotten.
From the public -- Jake talked about how eloquent John Mark Karr was.
Right -- it sounded at face value is -- there with things that he knew that he could have only known ready interacted with -- it turns -- he got this stuff because it had been reported.
But if there was something in this confession.
Maybe something like it was something in this young child's backpack.
It is never being reported right.
Up publicly that his parents -- or something that he would have said that only the parents know you know when you have children there are certain things that your children do.
Certain things that they say that only you would know -- only somebody who interacted with -- would know it's interesting -- none of that has come out.
Publicly now of course there's no.
There's no necessity is no legal basis for the commissioner coming -- -- saying that the -- it hasn't been set there a lot of skeptics out there and I don't.
I don't but you know what it it was less than 24 hours after the -- was taken into custody where we all reporting on on the suspect that was in custody -- that he allegedly hit fast that's what -- sigh of -- it was -- -- and there was a huge sigh of relief but just imagine the amount of pressure on the NYPD.
They they don't want a box this case up that's for sure I mean it's been 33 years they finally are going to make an arrest they're -- -- damn well sure that they've got enough evidence or at least that there.
That that can fashion is is bulletproof.
And I would imagine that Ray Kelly took a look at that videotape you don't think that he looked out of himself.
I mean for no confession stand out and say and hold a news conference and make this big to do about the fact that they've got their guy they know that this -- Think they -- bit.
-- I only did the same exact thing and I Jonbenet Ramsey case you're the guy was my cover I'm Melanie your plastered all over the media about Strauss-Kahn I nobody true.
And Strauss-Kahn Dominique Strauss on all you know and by the way I just remember something if this guy was on the radar for so long why -- -- so -- -- to make an arrest you know.
And by the way don't get me wrong I am not for 12.
Very easy just to start hurling barbs and arrows at the NYPD.
Date they do tremendous work day in and day out and I'm on the defense side and I say that in the end of -- the day the system works and win the laundry is done you get a result that if everybody does what they're supposed to do you going to get the right result.
So I'm not sitting here.
Playing Monday Morning Quarterback.
Taking shots at the NYPD yes he would like to think that they believe that they have the right -- certainly a guy saying I did it.
Would lend itself to that -- we don't know the circumstances surrounding the confession and there's a reason why did the did the criminal procedure law in New York specifically -- You cannot be convicted solely on your own confession because she got whack jobs you have.
Detectives who are doing their job may be all of which they also yeah.
They've also got a lot of recent tips so maybe those tips combined with the confession the fact that this guy was on the radar for so many years knew that they had something on him but just not enough we.
So maybe that confession and those tips combined they're not gonna tell us everything because obviously they're not gonna wanna know -- -- to know every detail and.
Every bit -- what -- say about mr.
Ramos because mr.
Ramos was their guy.
Once upon a time was actually as I understand that a convicted child molest Serbia who apparently -- made mention of the fact that he wanted to -- He's young my child and again -- and I had Baghdad.
Is it raining here you -- and -- that you -- in -- -- bad in fact here this -- Pedro -- no record and not -- -- file and nothing in his background.
It just seems strange that a guy that has been clean record all of a sudden the -- -- -- First soda and and do whatever with -- -- kill me just seems problematic to me factually speaking and I think the jury's gonna scratch your head and figure out why would he do that.
And certainly -- judge because he will be entitled to a hearing.
On the voluntary -- of this confession and whether or not he was properly advised of what what we see on law and order his Miranda warnings is certainly.
If it turns out that there was no lawyer there for hours and hours and hours and hours to me.
Says something right about this particular alleged confession and the fact that he's in the hospital now.
You gotta put the brakes on everything right now because imagine if it turns out -- by the way you mentioned earlier that this this psychological evaluation would have happened anyway.
No not necessarily it's got to be a legal reason for somebody's gotta say wait a minute what concerned about what's going on what this guy upstairs.
Are there his ability to understand that what he did was wrong which goes to Saturday or -- -- his defense which goes to competency but somebody's got to ask for but don't.