Join Date: 05-20-2011
Location: Newport News, Virginia
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Re: 98 CBR900RR
continued from when the judge asked Defendant "How do you answer?"
Defendant begins by telling the story of how he bought the bike. BIG MISTAKE. He tells the judge that he answered a craiglist ad for a bike from a Mr. soandso in Virginia Beach. The bike, when he saw it, was listed for only $1500 (this is October, 2010) and WITHOUT A TITLE. He straight up told the judge that when he bought the bike, it didn't have a title so it was bill-of-sale only. The judge didn't look happy about this and then said "How did you pay Mr. soandso?" When he said "cash" I thought she was going to get up out of her chair and slap him! She said "So you bought a bike without a title and paid in non-traceable method?"
He tried explain further that before he bought the bike, he had a friend who was a police officer run the VIN and that it came back not stolen and registered to an individual in North Carolina! The judge said, "SO you bought a bike with no title, from an individual who clearly was not in North Carolina and thus probably not the registered owner, and paid in a non-traceable method." You could tell he was getting nervous at this point. He called in his first witness, Officer soandso of the Williamsburg police. Defendant had the officer testify that he had been given a VIN to run that day in October 2010 and that it came back clean. I could see from where I was sitting that the officer had no papers with him, and made note of this. The officer made no mention of the actual VIN, and I also made note of this. That was all the officer testified.
The judge looked at me and asked me if I wished to cross-examine the witness. I said, "Yes, actually, Your Honor." I looked the officer dead in the eyes and said, "Officer soandso, what was the VIN that was given to you that day?" He replied that he didn't know. I dug further, "SO you CANNOT prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that the VIN that was given to you to run that day was the same VIN that was actually on the vehicle or on THIS title?" (remember, I still had the title that DMV had issued me for the bike!!!) The officer looked clearly disheartened, and again replied, "No." I said, "So you could have been given another VIN entirely to run and you wouldn't have known." I looked back at the judge with a skeptical look on my face, and - as I sat down - said, "No further questions." (always wanted to say that in a real setting!) The judge looked impressed at my cross-examination, wrote a couple notes, and dismissed the first witness.
Defendant was VISIBLY sweating now. The judge continued her inquiry to Defendant. "So, Mr. soandso, how did you manage to get a title to the vehicle that you were able to pass along to Mr. Horton?" Here is where sh*t got real - he said, "I had a friend of mine hold on to it for a couple weeks at his dealership because he said he had a lady who titles vehicles for him. He said she could do the paperwork to get me a title for the bike" OH SNAP! The judge figured it out right away. She said, "So instead of going to DMV and filing a request for a title as the LAW says so that the vehicle could be properly investigated, you had a BUDDY of yours hold onto it for a couple weeks on his lot so he could apply for a mechanic's lien for a vehicle that he reported to the state as ABANDONED?" He said, "I guess that's what he did." She asked him the name and address of the dealership and he answered her. She continued, "So the title YOU got said that you bought it from SOANDSO AUTO when you ACTUALLY purchased the vehicle from a private individual???" He confirmed.
I seriously thought she was about to get down off that bench and do some work on this guy. She said, "You do know this is highly illegal, not to mention felonious, right? Reporting ANY false information knowingly to the state can, and likely will, cost your friend his dealers' license. And how did you think that it was OK to have it reported to the state that you purchased the vehicle from Soandso Auto when you knew very well that you did not?" I was furiously noting this all, to have for y'all guys and future reference in case this went to an appeal trial. He tried to argue that he had "always heard this is how it was done" and that "the other way is too long of a process and takes many weeks and includes an hour drive to Richmond." She shot him down so hard with, "THIS SITUATION IS THE REASON THE PROCESS TAKES SO LONG, IT TAKES TIME TO INVESTIGATE VEHICLES THAT HAVE BEEN SNEAKED THROUGH THE SYSTEM BY UNSCRUPULOUS INDIVIDUALS!" I had to literally tighten my face to keep from grinning.
She got fed up with his lame excuses and resignedly said, "Ok, so you have three witnesses? Go ahead and call your next witness." Remember the detective? He was next. His testimony was (in my opinion) the final nail in Defendant's coffin. But I'm tired of typing and I want to see what y'all think of this so far so I'm going to stop here. I think I already know the answer to this, but, shall I continue?