08TBILISI2336, A MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR – – A YEAR OF REGIONAL MOCK JURY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI2336 2008-12-12 10:22 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4620
RR RUEHLN RUEHSK RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #2336/01 3471022
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 121022Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0562
INFO RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 TBILISI 002336 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR INL/AAE, EUR/ACE, EUR/CAC 
DOJ FOR OPDAT (NEWCOMBE) 
 
E.O.  12958: N/A 
TAGS: SNAR PGOV PHUM KCRM KJUS GG
SUBJECT:  A MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR - - A YEAR OF REGIONAL MOCK JURY 
TRIALS 
 
1. Summary: In preparation for the new, Western style Criminal 
Procedure Code (CPC), the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of 
Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training 
(DOJ/OPDAT) and the Government of Georgia (GOG) built upon their 
2007 "train the trainers" program and conducted mock jury trials in 
each of Georgia's eight regions in 2008.  In 2007, DOJ/OPDAT trained 
a cadre of 30 prosecutors in a series of monthly seminars to use the 
Western style, in-court adversarial skills and practiced them in 
mock jury trials conducted in Tbilisi, Georgia.  The trainers 
returned to Georgia's eight regions and taught more than 600 of 
their colleagues these same skills in order to prepare them for the 
CPC's implementation.  Building on the "train the trainer" approach, 
DOJ/OPDAT traveled to each region, reviewed the skills with the 
regional prosecutors, and conducted mock jury trials.  These 
seminars provided the regional prosecutors with an opportunity to 
test their trial advocacy skills and afforded DOJ/OPDAT a chance to 
determine whether the "train the trainer" approach succeeded. 
Initially, the prosecutors struggled with translating their 
theoretical knowledge into success.  During the seminars, they 
demonstrated a basic understanding of the trial advocacy skills, but 
could not use them to convict defendants.  The prosecutors did not 
quit.  Each month, in a different region, different prosecutors 
practiced their skills.  They also learned that successful 
prosecution under the CPC requires more than simply appearing in 
court, presenting material secured outside of court, and arguing the 
defendant's guilt.  Instead, they must be attorneys, teachers, and 
actors.  They must know the law and skillfully use it to cull from 
in-court witnesses and other evidence the facts necessary to prove 
the defendant's guilt.  As teachers, they need to marshal the facts 
and explain to the jurors why the facts prove the defendant's guilt. 
 Finally, they must be actors.  The prosecutors must present the 
evidence in such a manner that it holds the jury's attention.  This 
means that the evidence must be presented in understandable segments 
so that the jury comprehends why certain evidence is significant - - 
and should be given more weight - - while other evidence should be 
discounted.  Throughout the seminars, DOJ/OPDAT watched the 
prosecutors learn that the new system will require more from them to 
convict a defendant; however, they also learned that if they use the 
new skills they will be just as successful.  End Summary. 
 
----------------------- 
Come Together Right Now 
----------------------- 
 
 
2. In December 2006, Georgia's Parliament passed the CPC for its 
first reading.  This was a clear indication that Georgia intends to 
move from the Soviet style of prosecution in which prosecutors build 
a dossier based on out of court statements that are presented in 
court to a Western style in-court adversarial process in which the 
witnesses and all of the evidence is presented in open court. 
DOJ/OPDAT readily recognized that the prosecutors, the defense bar, 
and judges needed to be trained to use the new skills.  In 2007, 
DOJ/OPDAT embarked on a year-long train the trainers program to 
teach a cadre of 30 prosecutors the skills necessary to successfully 
prosecute cases under the CPC. 
 
3. After learning the skills in a seminar, the prosecutors practiced 
them in mock court competitions.  From March through May 2007, the 
prosecutors squared off against each other in the Tbilisi Appellate 
Qprosecutors squared off against each other in the Tbilisi Appellate 
Court playing the role of both defense lawyers and prosecutors. 
Furthermore, local judges also participated in the mock court to 
learn the skills that they will need to preside over criminal cases 
using the new system.  In June 2007, ABA/ROLI trained defense 
lawyers began to participate.  In September, the mock court trials 
became jury trials as law students from local universities played 
the role of jurors.  After each monthly session, the trainers 
returned to their offices and conducted identical seminars for their 
colleagues.  They taught their colleagues the skills they learned 
each month and created local mock trials in which the prosecutors 
and the judges participated. 
 
4. The train the trainer program created a cadre of 30 individuals 
capable of teaching the necessary skills to more than 600 
prosecutors.  Furthermore, the cadre also learned that the new 
system will require them to present more evidence to convict a 
defendant than they currently present.  Additionally, the 
prosecutors learned that the new system will require them to marshal 
the evidence that they obtain using their legal skills and present 
it to the trier of fact - - whether a judge or a jury - - to explain 
why the defendant is guilty of the charged crime.  Although some 
prosecutors initially cringed at the new approach, they eventually 
embraced it and enjoyed trying cases using the new system.  Severa
l 
prosecutors commented that the mock jury trials were the most 
efficient manner for practicing the skills because they allowed them 
to test their skills and try different approaches. 
 
---------------------- 
 
TBILISI 00002336  002 OF 004 
 
 
Help!  I Need Somebody 
---------------------- 
 
5.  In February 2008, DOJ/OPDAT and ABA/ROLI ventured into Georgia's 
eight regions to conduct mock jury trials with the regional 
attorneys.  The regional trainings provided DOJ/OPDAT with an 
opportunity to determine whether the train the trainer approach 
adopted in 2007 worked and provided the regional attorneys with a 
chance to test their skills in mock jury trials against ABA/ROLI 
trained defendants.  Initially, the prosecutors did not fare well. 
This caused great concern in the Office of the Public Prosecution 
Service (OPP) as it questioned whether prosecutors could be as 
successful using the new skills as they have been in the past. 
 
6.  For example, in Gori and Mtskheta, Georgia, the prosecutors 
failed to convict a single defendant in any of the mock jury trials. 
 The juries routinely said that the prosecutors tried a better case, 
but did not convince the jury to convict the defendant.  In other 
words, the prosecutors were more fundamentally sound, but could not 
marshal the facts that they possessed to convince the jury that the 
defendant was guilty.  This information was helpful because it 
demonstrated that the train the trainer approach worked.  The 
trainers taught the prosecutors the basic skills that they will need 
to convict defendants.  However, they needed to learn how to 
translate these skills into successful convictions.  Absent 
successful convictions in the mock jury trials, the prosecutors 
would lack the confidence in the skills. 
 
7. DOJ/OPDAT worked with the Embassy to identify international 
visitors programs to send prosecutors to the United States. 
Programs such as Open World and the International Visitors Program 
provided several prosecutors with an opportunity to view their U.S. 
counterparts in action and learn from them.  Prosecutors observed 
criminal trials in Jacksonville, Florida; St. Louis, Missouri; and 
Atlanta, Georgia and saw how their U.S. counterparts used the same 
skills to overcome the presumption of innocence.  Moreover, the U.S. 
prosecutors taught the Georgians how to marshal the facts that they 
gleaned from direct and cross examination to support their arguments 
that the defendant was guilty of the charged crime.  The prosecutors 
came away from these visits with greater confidence that the skills 
can be used to convict a defendant and a renewed commitment to learn 
the skills. 
 
------------------ 
Here Comes the Sun 
------------------ 
 
8.  In Rustavi, the prosecutors renewed sense of confidence and 
commitment bore fruit.  In four of six mock jury trials, the juries 
found the defendant guilty of the charged crime.  Most prosecutors 
used skills such as direct examination to glean from their witnesses 
the facts necessary to convict the defendant.  Furthermore, they 
used cross examination to undermine the defense witnesses' 
credibility.  For example, the defense alibi witness claimed that 
the defendant could not have been at the crime because he spent the 
evening with the alibi witness.  The prosecutors succeeded in 
pointing out that the alibi witness never approached the police 
after the defendant's arrest.  Instead, good police work resulted in 
the police questioning the witness.  The prosecutors asked the jury 
if it was reasonable for the defendant's best friend and alibi 
witness to wait for the police to contact him rather than going to 
the police once he learned that the defendant was arrested?  In most 
cases, the jurors said, "no."  Moreover, the prosecutors noted 
Qcases, the jurors said, "no."  Moreover, the prosecutors noted 
another witness - - the defendant's employer - - could not be 
trusted because he was biased.  The defendant was a marquee car 
salesman for the witness, and the witness had a pecuniary interest 
in the jury acquitting the defendant.  If the defendant was in 
prison, he could not sell cars, and the witness would lose his best 
salesman. 
 
9.  The success in Rustavi demonstrated to the prosecutors that the 
new CPC and the corresponding trial skills will not hinder their 
ability to convict defendants.  In fact, used properly, the new CPC 
will engender greater public confidence in the convictions for two 
reasons.  First, the public will be able to view all of the evidence 
used to convict a defendant.  All of the evidence must be introduced 
in open court rather than the dossier building approach currently in 
use.  This means that the public will be able to view, first hand, 
all of the evidence that the prosecution uses to prove the 
defendant's guilt.  Second, the new CPC increases the public's faith 
in the Rule of Law.  Since the new CPC envisions jury trials, 
individuals will be convicted by a jury of their peers rather than 
by the court.  This means that the decision to find a defendant 
guilty no longer rests in the government's hands.  Instead, common 
citizens listen to the evidence and decide a defendant's fate.  If 
the government fails to provide sufficient evidence or overreaches 
in its charges, the jury will acquit the defendant. 
 
 
TBILISI 00002336  003 OF 004 
 
 
----------------- 
Can't Buy Me Love 
----------------- 
 
10.  All success, however, is not a straight line.  Fresh from its 
successes in Rustavi, the prosecutors traveled to Kutaisi, Georgia. 
Kutaisi is the former home of Georgia's most notorious gang - - the 
"Thieves - in - Law."  For many years the "Thieves - in - Law" were 
the most organized crime syndicate in Georgia.  With DOJ/OPDAT 
support in drafting and enacting a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt 
Organizations (RICO) type act, the GOG successfully prosecute and 
eliminated this organization in Georgia.  However, vestiges of good 
will for the "Thieves - in - Law" remain in Kutaisi.  As one 
potential juror noted during the voir dire process (i.e., the 
process of selecting jurors for the trial), boys in Kutaisi grew up 
dreaming of being a "Thief - in - Law" and girls dreamed of marrying 
such a person.  Consequently, many of the jurors were already 
predisposed to find a defendant not guilty. 
 
11. This did not bode well for the prosecutors, but they did not 
shrink from the challenge.  Although the prosecutors lost five of 
the seven mock trials, they learned two important lessons.  First, 
they learned the importance of jury selection.  The mock jury trials 
did not allow the prosecutors to actually strike anyone from the 
potential jury pool.  However, the prosecutors learned that 
selecting a jury is just as important as actually trying the case. 
If a prosecutor fails to identify individuals already predisposed in 
the defendant's favor, it will be difficult for the prosecutor to 
successfully convince the jury that t
he defendant is guilty.  Thus, 
the prosecutors learned that they must take the jury selection 
process very seriously.  Second, the prosecutors learned that 
notwithstanding a community's potential bias in the defendant's 
favor, the prosecutors can be successful if they properly employ the 
new techniques.  The successful prosecutors effectively used their 
skills to prove their case against the defendant.  They obtained the 
necessary facts and marshaled them for the jury such that the jury 
could come to no other conclusion except that the defendant was 
guilty.  This lesson further impressed upon the prosecutors the 
importance of learning the in-court adversarial skills that will be 
necessary to successfully prosecute cases using the CPC. 
 
 
--------------------------------------------- - 
Nowhere Man You Don't Know What You're Missin' 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
12. Although ABA/ROLI participated in most of the mock jury trials, 
it was not able to participate in everyone.  Consequently, the 
prosecutors conducted mock jury trials against each other.  In 
Akhaltsikhe and Sighnaghni, the prosecutors again played the roles 
of both defense lawyers and prosecutors.  This gave more prosecutors 
an opportunity to practice their in-court adversarial skills. 
Moreover, it impressed upon the prosecutors that a defense lawyer 
better able to use his or her skills will defeat a prosecutor who 
fails to employ the proper techniques. 
 
13. In fact, that is just what happened.  The attorneys who listened 
to the lecture, asked questions, and tried to learn the skills were 
more successful in the mock jury trials than those attorneys who 
simply believed that they would succeed because they are 
prosecutors.  The successful attorneys focused on basic principles 
such as using cross examination to undermine the opponent's witness, 
using direct examination to obtain the facts necessary to prove 
Qusing direct examination to obtain the facts necessary to prove 
their case, and collecting these facts in a cogent argument that 
explained to the jury why the defendant was guilty or innocent. 
Furthermore, the "all prosecutors" trials identified for the 
regional supervisors and the OPP those prosecutors who are ready to 
conduct trials under the new CPC and those prosecutors who still 
need additional practice.  Several prosecutors commented after the 
trials that they must begin to take the new approach more seriously. 
 If they failed to learn the necessary skills, they would not be as 
successful and their jobs would be in jeopardy. 
 
------------------ 
We Can Work It Out 
------------------ 
 
14. The sense of urgency was readily apparent during the mock jury 
trials in Batumi, Georgia.  Here, the prosecutors demonstrated a 
basic understanding of the in-court adversarial skills necessary to 
prosecute cases.  In addition, they worked on understanding the 
theory behind the skills rather than simply learning the skills. 
For example, the prosecutors understood that cross examination 
requires them to ask leading questions using one fact per question - 
- a new skill for the Georgia criminal bar - - but they tried to 
better understand what they wanted to accomplish by using this 
skill.  The defendant was expected to introduce his employer as a 
witness.  The prosecutors, initially, believed that they needed make 
 
TBILISI 00002336  004 OF 004 
 
 
the witness confess on the stand that he was biased in the 
defendant's favor - - something no witness would ever do.  They did 
not believe that they could use their skills to obtain this 
admission. 
 
15. After much discussion, the prosecutors understood that they did 
not need to make the witness confess his bias.  Instead, they needed 
to use cross examination to obtain the facts that would allow them 
to argue during closing argument that the witness's testimony could 
not be trusted because he was biased.  Cross examination, they 
finally understood, will rarely result in a witness's admission that 
he is opposed to the defendant's conviction.  Indeed, the defendant 
would not call the witness to testify if he would make that 
admission.  Instead, the prosecutors need to use cross examination 
to support their arguments so that the jury takes into account the 
witness's limitations, such as bias, when they are determining which 
witnesses to believe. 
 
------------------------ 
I Want to Hold Your Hand 
------------------------ 
 
16. Finally, in the last regional mock jury trials held in Zugdidi, 
the regional supervisor grasped the importance of the new skills and 
played an active role in seeing that his prosecutors learned them. 
Although the other regional supervisors supported the program and 
helped DOJ/OPDAT review the skills with their prosecutors, they 
simply introduced themselves and allowed the program to continue. 
The Zugdidi regional supervisor, by contrast, participated in the 
program.  He listened to the lecture and observed the mock jury 
trials.  Based on his observations, he identified which prosecutors 
learned the skills and which prosecutors need additional assistance. 
 Moreover, he videotaped the seminar so that those prosecutors who 
need additional assistance can view the seminar again and work with 
the successful prosecutors to learn the necessary skills.  He 
demonstrated a commitment to guaranteeing that all of the 
prosecutors are ready to use the new skills upon the CPC's passage. 
 
 
------------------------- 
The Long and Winding Road 
------------------------- 
 
17. Comment.  The path to building a Western style in-court 
adversarial system is a long and winding road, but Georgia appears 
to be well down that path.  The criminal bar - - prosecutors, 
defense lawyers, and judges - - are learning the skills necessary to 
successfully try cases under the new CPC.  Moreover, court clerks 
recently returned from visits to Atlanta, Georgia and New York, New 
York where they met with their U.S. counterparts and exchanged ideas 
about the best practices necessary to build proper jury rolls, 
conduct juror orientation, and manage jury trials.  Additionally, 
Georgia's Supreme Court began conducting seminars and weekly 
television programs to educate the public about the new system and 
their new rights in it.  Finally, Georgia's Legal Affairs Committee 
recently reviewed the draft CPC article by article in anticipation 
of the Second Reading to be held by year's end.  Completing the 
transition from the Soviet style accusatorial system to the Western 
style in-court adversarial system has been a hard day's night, and 
it is not complete.  However, Georgia is working eight days a week 
to get the job done.  End Comment. 
 
LOGSDON

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