Luke O'Donovan Self-Defense Immunity Update
Luke’s self-defense immunity hearing was held last Tuesday, July 1st. Unfortunately, the judge denied Luke immunity, so Luke’s case will continue to trial.
A self-defense immunity hearing is an opportunity for the judge to decide that a defendant was acting in self-defense, and therefore that he or she can’t have charges brought against them. In the hearing, both the defense and the prosecution make their cases, and the judge (without a jury) makes a ruling. The burden of proof in these hearings is on the defense, unlike in a trial where the burden of proof is on the prosecution.
If Luke had been granted immunity, the charges would have been dropped and there would be no trial. However, the fact that he wasn’t granted immunity isn’t the end of the world. At trial, arguments for self-defense can still be made. Now, the case will move on as a “normal” case might, and go in front of a jury.
In court, the prosecution made a series of ludicrous claims in order to prop up their case. They made a point of asking every witness whether or not the term “faggot” was offensive, or just a synonym for other “non-offensive” terms like “pussies or bitches,” and later used the word “nigger” as another example of a “non-offensive” term. The prosecuting attorney accused Luke, with no evidence or witnesses of any kind, of having stabbed a homeless person. To try to justify the attempted murder charge, the prosecution also claimed that Luke had held workshops on knife skills and “kill zones.” These things are completely outrageous and false.
During cross-examination by the defense, Officer Jones of the Atlanta Police Department, the lead investigator of the incident, testified that she had failed to ask anyone any questions whatsoever about the stab wounds inflicted on Luke. Furthermore, her report referred to Luke as merely “cut,” rather than “stabbed,” which was the term she applied to every other wounded individual. When questioned, she was unable to explain why – she simply stated that that was what she had written down.
The prosecution’s witnesses admitted to being intoxicated on that New Year’s Eve, and were unable to recall the testimonies they had given to the police directly after the incident. Their conflicting stories about who was there and when, the sequence of the fight, who was involved in the fight, and where they went that night further reduced their credibility. One witness, while under oath, claimed both to have punched no one and to have punched Luke. All of the prosecution’s witnesses had been stabbed in the incident, save one – who was the sister of one of the stabbed. The defense’s witnesses were all third party, save Luke and Luke’s ex-partner.
The beginning of trial is currently scheduled for August 11th, but we have reason to believe that the start date will be pushed back to October 2014. This will be the “real deal,” so if you are capable and willing to come to court to support Luke, please do. We will post an update with the date and time of the trial as soon as we have that information.