While a law student, Joe worked part time at the Broward County Public Defender’s Office in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. and was asked to research and prepare a memorandum of law for the courts regarding the admissibility of a videotaped re-enactment of a crime. At that time, neither videotapes nor crime re-enactments had been used in the courtroom before.
Joe’s research and the subsequent memorandum resulted in the videotaped re-enactment being admitted into evidence in a jury trial.
The case in which the videotape was used was one in which a white man was accused of threatening a black man on a routine basis. Eventually, the situation came to a boiling point and the black man shot the white man. The videotaped re-enactment showed a black man holding a broom, which represented the shotgun he had fired. On tape he was heard to say, “He came at me onto my property. I shot him and he fell over into the cactus.” The comments regarding “falling into the cactus” added a little humor to the justice and the black man was found not guilty.