The Trial of Bernhard Goetz: Excerpt from the Summation of Barry Slotnick

The following excerpt is included in The Trial of Bernhard Goetz (Aae Films, 1988).

Well, when I first opened to you two months ago, I promised you that I would come back, look you directly in your eyes, and ask you to acquit Bernhard Goetz. The issue at hand is simply for you to consider, did Bernhard Goetz believe he was about to be mugged, that he was about to be injured? If you can respond yes to that question then I trust that you all can rapidly go home. Mr. Waples wants you to believe that Bernhard Goetz walked over to Daryl Caby and said, “You don’t look bad, here’s another.” Bang!

 Now that’s belied by lots of facts. One: It’s belied by the witnesses in the subway car. Other than Christopher Boucher, no one heard anything except shots in rapid succession. The witnesses did not indicate that after there was a hiatus or pause, a walking over and a fifth shot. Where does the DA get this? Where does he get his theories from? He gets his theories form the most unreliable source in the world. From the statement of Bernhard Goetz.  Now why is that unreliable? Am I undermining my client? The answer is no and I’ll tell you why. Nine days after the event, nine days of pain, suffering, and running. Nine days later, a traumatized, sick, psychologically upset individual walked into a Concord, New Hampshire Police Station and made a statement. He said, “This sounds terrible. I walked over and I said, ‘You look alright, here’s another.’” He fantasized. Exactly what Dr. Yud would say happened. The mind went off and the body went into automatic pilot. Basically we can prove scientifically, that was the fantasy of Bernhard Goetz....

Now, so you know I have no burden in this case, it’s Mr. Waples who has it all. They came in here without a case. Please, let him walk out without a conviction. There never was a case. Bernhard Goetz should be found not guilty, he was justified in his actions. Now, since I will not be able to address you again during the course of this trial, I ask you to please do one thing. Whenever Mr. Waples raises a question, strikes a chord please say, ‘What would Slotnick say about that?’ If I’m presumptuous, I apologize. But I ask you to consider our point of view when you hear the … very clever argument Mr. Waples… Providence has sent me a message: I’m about to lose my voice.

Now, I thank you for your time, your patience, and your attention. I just hope you remember, thank you.