Jason Bowles, Ryin Reese’s attorney, was the last of the defense attorneys to address the Jury argue for their acquittal.
Mr. Bowles explained the Jurors would be taking the indictment back to chambers to answer 28 questions on the verdict. He explained over the next 10-15 minutes why each should be answered not guilty, starting out with with law, and the decision making based on the facts.
Mr. Bowles pointed to Count 1 and reminded them of the Jury’s instructions on reasonable doubt. The government failed (to prove conspiracy) and the Judge instructed if you think there is doubt that you must find them not guilty. You have to be firmly convinced they are guilty as charged.
Regarding Counts 2 – 28 Mr. Bowles mentioned aiding and abetting and asked if it was reasonable. He explained the Reeses did not know about any of this. Mr. Bowles explained for the government to convict them of the smuggling counts they have to go thru the aiding and abetting clause. First someone else committed the crime. Second, the defendant has to intend to associate and participate. They must share common knowledge. General suspicion is not enough. Also being present at a crime is not sufficient. Mr. Bowles asked the Jury if they intended to associate? Mere presence is not enough. If you can’t find that standards present, you must find them not guilty.
Mr. Bowles asked the Jury how they would go about making these decisions, and told them they would have to go thru the process.
He told them to evaluate the believability of the witnesses and that they should consider if they impressed them as being honest. Mr. Bowles pointed out that Roman hasn’t been honest since age 17, and he told them to consider that Roman had a personal interest in the outcome of the case.
Mr. Bowles pointed out one of the things not immediately apparent. There was no language in the motion to get a reduced sentence in the Plea Agreement. (Possibly in the Penny Torres Plea Agreement.) Mr Bowles pointed another a section Prosecutor Jordan highlighted where a defendant falsely implicated a person on false information, at a minimum, the defendant is in violation of the Plea Agreement.
However, Mr. Bowles continued, that part isn’t in the Roman Plea Agreement. There is no language about being truthful. Under cross examination it was brought out that Roman wants the benefits of the Plea Agreement and it colors your perception.
Mr. Bowles reminded the Jury this case started with Roman, and Terri helped the government. If this family was involved, why would Terri tip off the government, he asked.
Jose Roman did get benefits. Every one of the defendants had a factual basis to tell the truth to the government. When they were shown the plea agreement, not a single one talked about the Reeses. Not in there when they were under oath. Why not?
Mr. Bowles told the Jury they couldn’t give any weight to Roman’s testimony. He infected this whole case. The government tried to keep him out because he’s so dirty.
Mr. Bowles stated the best thing the government has is the tapes, which they tried to script. Go into any business and see if you don’t hear outlandish statements. But that doesn’t prove criminal intent.
Mr. Bowles explained that the only two people who had knowledge were the two people in the conversation. He pointed out you don’t see the undercover agent. He pointed out you couldn’t see if the agent was shopping. The government agents actions are not filmed.
Mr. Bowles emphasized Roman didn’t say he couldn’t buy weapons, and this case is different. Mr. Bowles explained they did not intentionally participate.
Regarding the exports counts in 11-28, and aiding and abetting, Mr. Bowles explained the defendants sold these weapons but they didn’t need to get the export license or approval from the state. They had knowledge it was prohibited by law.
Mr. Bowles explained Ryin’s problem statement was that he said he didn’t need to know that. Of course they knew they are looked at by the government; inspections happen all the time.
This idea that he was an exporter, there is no proof. Ryin had no idea they were going there. If they had suspicions, there is no requirement to report. They can’t be convicted on a guess or speculation.
There is no proof they were violation the Arms Export Laws because there is no evidence any of them knew they needed to report. They didn’t know the guns were being smuggled, and they didn’t act willfully.
Regarding the Conspiracy Count, Mr. Bowles stated requires knowingly breaking the law, and the only evidence the government presented was the family in a huddle talking in hushed tones. Mr. Bowles told the Jury they can’t convict on this.
Mr. Bowles told the Jury another thing learned in this case is that people are products of what they grow up with. He described the agents’ day in and day out job as dealing with criminals, and soon all you start to see is everyone is a criminal, and that it colors you after a while.
Mr. Bowles used Agent Frye (sp?) as an example, who described the storage room as a “tunnel” and a “bunker”, which are techniques to shade things.
Mr. Bowles pointed out how Prosecutor Armijo interpreted the connotation of “you all” and “y’all”, and that hairsplitting is done to make words sound criminal.
Mr. Bowles reminded the Jury to remember Roman. He explained the government starts with their strongest witness first. Roman admitted to buying a gun, and that he was their first witness. He asked the Jury to remember that Roman continually laughed, and suggested it was all planned, it was all a big joke. Eventually you’re going to get people to say something that sounds like a crime.
Mr. Bowles reminded the Jury that Ryin wouldn’t sell a weapon unless it was for the buyer (the undercover agent).
Mr. Bowles told the Jury there were no double sets of books. Law enforcement was tipped off by them, and there is ample evidence they were trying to obey the law.
He reminded the Jury that if the Reeses could pass an inspection of that kind (the 2010 inspection) that there is nothing there.
Mr. Bowles concluded by stating the defense has done their best to show why the government has no case and urged them to find all of the Reeses not guilty on all counts.