David Clifford case: My client didn't get justice

  • Article by: FRED BRUNO
  • Updated: July 13, 2013 - 6:49 PM

SWAT team leader David Clifford, charged with assaulting Brian Vander Lee at an Andover bar, appeared in Anoka County courthouse ,Thursday afternoon October 4, 2012. David Clifford left the courthouse with his attorney Fred Bruno on the right, after a brief appearance.

Photo: Richard Sennott, Star Tribune

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I represent former Minneapolis police Sgt. David Clifford (“Punch gets ex-cop 43 months,” July 12). The woeful outcome to his case may be attributed to the fact that the jury did not get all the evidence it was entitled to hear and was hamstrung in its deliberations.

First, the jury was not allowed to hear that the alleged victim’s significant other and the state’s key witness, who was drunk at the time of the incident, told medical personnel that she did not know what happened. Yet she was magically able to recount events at trial.

Next, Sgt. Clifford was denied the opportunity to present expert professional testimony to counter the state’s persistent claim that he was acting as a rogue cop.

Finally, the jury was unable to have in its deliberation room the critical videotape, although the foreman implored the court that the jurors be allowed to have that evidence to view and evaluate in private, as with the rest of the evidence they received. And they were not told that they could view the video in open court as many times as they wished.

American rules of evidence and procedure allow these baleful amendments of the truth to occur. These same rules provide attorneys with our craft, and the ability to file “motions to change the facts,” as we satirically refer to this type of litigation.

No wonder lawyers, and the judicial system, are roundly held in such low esteem.

Sour grapes on my part? Sure. Justice for David Clifford? Not a chance.

FRED BRUNO, Minneapolis

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