IT’S A SMALL WORLD
Michael J. Goonan is good friend of mine, a bartender in New York. Like the guy in “Piano Man”, he’s quick with a joke or to light up your smoke.” Unfortunately, he tells the same bad jokes, repeatedly. If someone says “It’s a small world” in his presence, he will invariably add “but I wouldn’t want to paint it”. Ouch.
Now here is a coincidence for you.
U.S. vs. EDDIE LEE DAVIS
Way back in 1991, with a year under my belt as an AUSA, I tried a pretty bad guy named Eddie Lee Davis. It was one of many cases I did with Detective Tim Shalhoob of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Repeat Offender Program (“ROP”). The charge was Felon in Possession of a Firearm. That trial, and most of my trials, took place in the old Foley Federal Courthouse.
It was weak, basically a one witness case. Davis was mad at his girlfriend, very mad. He was at a bar, and he was armed. After calling the girl and threatening her, he coerced a poor slob named Luther into giving him a ride to her house. The girlfriend called the police. Luther’s car, with Davis as the sole passenger, was stopped. A handgun was recovered under his seat. Of course it was not registered.
After his arrest, Davis showed up at Luther’s house one night; broke in; and threatened to kill him if he testified. He had a friend waiting outside in a running car. Inside, Eddie stole Luther’s driver’s license, just to scare him a little more. It worked. Luther was terrified.
When it came time for trial, Luther told the Judge, Lloyd D. George, that he would not testify. He pointed at Davis and said “Judge, put me in jail right now, because of if I testify, they will find me dead behind the wheel of my car”. I would take a shot without our witness. I still had the evidence of his motive, to terrorize his girlfriend.
Wrong. Judge George held her testimony to be inadmissible. Now, I love Judge George, but that’s how he ruled. And a week or two later a Ninth Circuit case came out almost exactly on point, in our favor (U.S. vs Dunn).
At some subsequent court appearance, Judge George was humble enough to call me up to side bar and practically apologize. As smart and well regarded as he was, he had never assumed the imperious attitude of so many judges.
A gentleman and consummate professional, to this day.