Oral History of June M. Jeffries
Fifth Interview
July 22, 2019
This interview is being conducted on behalf of the Oral History Project of The Historical
Society of the District of Columbia Circuit. The interviewer is Will Weaver, and the interviewee
is June Jeffries. The interview took place at the Alumni Relations Center in the Hotung Building
at Georgetown Law School on Monday, July 22, 2019. This is the fifth interview.
MR. WEAVER: During our first four sessions, we covered your early life, your family,
your time as a law student, and a significant portion of your career at the
U.S. Attorney’s Office. Today we’re going to try to pick up at a later
stage of your career at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and then potentially fill
in any gaps or hit anything that we missed in the last session, and then our
plan is to wrap up this part of the interview today, and then we’ll review
the transcripts of the five interviews and then reconvene for a sixth kind of
capstone session.
We left off talking about some of the bigger cases that you handled
at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, particularly some of the child homicide and
abuse cases, and I wanted to pick up there. Were there any major cases
that we didn’t discuss or that you thought of after the session, either child
cases or other types of cases?
MS. JEFFRIES: I certainly had some cases that were covered a lot in the news. Some of
the child cases were covered in the news. Here’s a big case I did handle,
which goes back to around 1987, I do believe. I prosecuted a guy named
Ricky Brogsdale, who was called the Peeping Tom shooter. There was a
series of shootings in Southeast D.C., and at some point, the media
became of aware of them, and there was a lot of concern, certainly in
Southeast amongst citizens and others about what was going on. These
people were being shot, it seemed randomly, and probably once this
coverage became very intense, the last shooting occurred, a woman in her
parent’s apartment building. She was packing a suitcase in the bedroom,
evidently heard something out the window, went to the window, and was
shot once in the neck. The daughter went in to see what was wrong, saw
her on the ground, ran outside. At this time, I guess where they lived was
two blocks down from the old Seventh District Police Station. Some
police officers were driving by, and she flagged them down. So that case
resulted in his arrest. When we prosecuted Ricky, not only did he have
these shootings where most of the people survived, we also prosecuted
him for four flat-out first-degree murders of folks he was avenging crimes
and things that happened to him. So that got a lot of publicity.
I would say this. In prosecuting Ricky, I was with him longer than
any of his defense attorneys, because it took a few years to resolve all of
this. At one point, there was a potential of an insanity defense, and so you
do a lot of work and interviewing a lot of people, friends, family, relatives.
I knew a lot about Ricky by the time we went to trial. They did not pursue
the insanity defense.
The last matter we had was a homicide. He was going to plead
guilty, but right when we were going to do it, a cousin of mine was killed
in a car accident, and we had to put the date over a week so that I could go
to the funeral. Well his lawyer told him why the date had been changed,
and Ricky made me a sympathy card and sent it to me, which I thought
was very interesting. Then we took that last plea, and his lawyer said to
me that Ricky would like to speak to me. I said why does Ricky want to
speak to me, and he said Ricky thought I hated him. I said I don’t hate
him. No. But I was intrigued, and I did want to speak to him. Back then
we could bring prisoners up.
We brought him up, the detectives were there. I had some of them
come, some of the mobile crime people. Ricky had been affable on the
day he was arrested, and when they took pictures of him, he actually posed
for some pictures and did different things, and he disclosed at least one
shooting that we hadn’t connected to him where victims survived, so we
found that out. Anyway, so I had the people up there, and I made
refreshments, and because we could then have prisoners in our office, they
brought him up. I told Ricky that they could uncuff him, and that was
okay with me, but I knew he had not seen Silence of the Lambs, but I had,
and I told him there was something that happened in that movie that was
not going to happen up in my office. This is so true. I said so they’re
going to uncuff you, but if anything happens, I’m ducking underneath my
desk. Ricky was quite fine. We had a good conversation. We talked
about his life, and this is what I feel like so many of my defendants they’re
just born into bad circumstances and had they been born into different
circumstances with parents who could do better, then they would be
different people as well.
So I knew that Ricky had lived in Delaware in his early years and
then they had moved back to D.C. He said when they were living in
Delaware, he said one night some men broke in with weapons and shot
and killed his stepfather in front of him. So he was six years old at that
time, and if you could imagine what that would be like for a person. Then
I knew there were issues about his mother, and he confirmed some things
about her. I know that having had her as a mother would be an extremely
difficult thing for a child. We had a very good conversation.
In our case, Ricky had written some letters to a woman inmate at
the jail, and we came upon these letters because one of the corrections
officers was walking around outside, and he saw something float to the
ground. He picked it up, and it was a letter that Ricky had written to this
woman, and in the letter, he wrote in the corner, upper right-hand corner,
please destroy this letter. So I think her way of destroying it was to
somehow throw it out the window. So anyway, we then identified who
she was, and she had more letters from Ricky, and he’s talking about the
crimes and what he did and why he did it, and he said the police really
didn’t pay attention to him until he shot that policewoman. Well he had
shot a policewoman who was in her bedroom talking to her father on the
phone, and he shot her one time in the head. She survived. It did not
penetrate the skull, and so that’s really when a lot of publicity came about.
Anyway, we had those letters. Ricky and I talked about a lot of
things. He actually wrote very well. He wanted to have a correspondence
with me, but that wouldn’t be good. I told him he should write a book and
I’d read a draft of the book. He also was very artistic because in the cards
he made me, and he sent me another card, he drew a woman, and he
colored pencils. He was very artistic, very, very smart and artistic.
So after that session that we had, he wrote me this card and stuff.
But anyway, he said that he partook of my refreshments because he was
fasting because of Ramadan, and I didn’t know that, but he wanted to take
part, and he had done that. Anyway, Ricky was interesting, as I said, and I
think a big example of how lives could be different but for the
circumstances that they’re in.
I prosecuted the murders of two police officers, and so those
certainly got a lot of attention in the media. I viewed the death of any
person to be significant and did not approach my prosecutions of those
murders differently from the way I approached others, and I gave them the
same zeal and attention, but you can imagine that in the law enforcement
community, these were important matters to them and also the media
focused on them a lot. One of them I had was the death of Officer Brian
Gibson, which happened at Georgia Avenue and Missouri Avenue, right
across from what was then a night club, the Ibex night club, which a lot of
things happened at the Ibex. He was shot in his car around 3:10 in the
morning of February 5. Brian was shot four times in the head. He never
saw it coming. He was stopped at a light. When he was eventually found
and the officers pulled him from the car, his foot was still on the brake, so
when they pulled him out, the car kept going. He was never able to call in
on the radio or go for his weapon or anything. Subsequently, the Fourth
District Police Station was named for him. That was a big prosecution.
One of the things that happened is that in my work I met a lot of
really nice people and enjoyable people, but the reality is that they would
have preferred not meeting me at all and certainly not meeting me like
that, and I always keep that in mind. But I also continue to have
relationships with witnesses, family members of my victims.
I had another case that happened in 1989 or so, a 41-year-old
woman and her 8-year-old daughter were murdered in their home. The
parents came up from Richmond because they were not able to get in
touch with the daughter. The mother, grandmother, actually found the 8-
year-old victim in the bathroom in the bathtub. So that was a very sad
case, but I got to know that family very well and some of their friends very
well. At the time I prosecuted that case, the victim, Holly Kincaid, her
sister, Janet, was then a Supreme Bacillus of Alpha Kappa Alpha, and,
through my friendship with Janet, I later pledged the sorority. Holly was
divorced then and had a son who was living with the father. I’m still in
touch with the father and ex-husband who lives in Memphis. So he has
remarried, and one year he and his wife and grandson came out to my
family farm, my husband’s family farm, and visited with us. Jimmy will
call me when there are political things going on, and we’ll talk.
I had another large case that got a lot of attention. I prosecuted a
guy named Henry Little Man James for the murder of a woman, Patricia
Lexie. She and her husband were in a car driving south on Interstate 295
in D.C. when a single shot was fired through the window of the driver’s
side. Freddy, the husband, was driving. It missed him, but it entered her
left temple, and it killed her. So what happened was, of course, the
shooting occurs. He didn’t realize at first that his wife had been shot. He
came off on the next exit, Pennsylvania Avenue, but he did soon see she
had been shot and stopped at a gas station and that’s how the police and
everybody got involved. That happened like a Saturday night, so this was
all over TV on Sunday. Well, as it turned out, the shot had been fired
from another car on 295 that was full of young men who were on their
way to a club somewhere off of Branch Avenue in PG County. I now
forget the name of the club, but one of the guys in the car was Henry
James, and he had a gun, and the evidence was the testimony was that he
pulled out his gun and said he felt like popping somebody. After he fired
the gun, the guys came off that exit too, going to Branch Avenue, and
when on about their business. I believe them. They said they didn’t
realize that anyone had been shot because they said the driver kept driving
and wasn’t erratic or anything. Well after they leave the club, then they
hear this on the news that a woman had died, so some of them talked. One
of the guys called the police from a phone booth. We ultimately were able
to, I forget how they either got him to give up contact information, but we
ultimately identified him and the other men in the car. I prosecuted Henry
James for that. That got a lot of attention because especially in those early
hours, at least some people speculated that the husband did it. Well how
could he shoot through the window when he’s driving the car. In any
event, that was I think in the early 1990s. As it turned out, he and I had at
least one mutual friend, and while I hadn’t heard from the husband in a
long time, I had been thinking about him periodically so I looked him up
and found him a couple months ago on Facebook or something and saw
that he had remarried. He remarried last year. I sent him a message on
Facebook and said if you’re the person who I think you are, then you
know who I am. He responded. Not looking for anything lasting, but just
to connect. I like to know what happens to people.
I had another prosecution where a man was killed by his
girlfriend’s 18-year-old son. This man was divorced, had an ex-wife and a
couple kids. The ex-wife and I got along very well. She was a nice
woman, originally from the Sandy Spring area of Montgomery County, or
at least her family was, which had kind of a historic Black population up
around Sandy Spring. They have a museum up there and everything. She
and I were very friendly. She worked for the government agencies, and
when the snipers happened here in D.C. that first day, she’s the person
who contacted me. That’s how I first heard about the snipers because she
knew I lived in Silver Spring and that my son was in school. Either she
called me or sent me an email, and that’s how I found out what was going
on. I do have these continuing relationships.
I had a prosecution of a man named Eddy Mathis, who is from the
I guess late 1970s early 1980s, but he was a big dope dealer, he and his
people in D.C. Heroin and stuff was big back then. He was prosecuted
for a murder. It was felt by the police department that he or his people had
done like twelve murders, and I believed that to be true knowing the things
that I know. He had been prosecuted by another prosecutor in my office,
and originally it was three defendants, Eddy, a brother of his, Larry, and
another man, Harry. They killed a man named Moxie up on 9th Street
right below U Street. Moxie was sitting in his car, and three gunmen came
up and shot him. Eddy was convicted. I would say Eddy was convicted in
large part because he wasn’t wearing a mask. The other two people were
wearing a mask, and even though our witnesses were involved with them
and knew who it was, I think probably for that first jury, it was okay, they
knew it was eddy because the ID really. He wasn’t wearing a mask. So
Eddy had been convicted, and his two co-defendants were acquitted. The
case was reversed on appeal because one of the arguments, I don’t have
this straight right now, but I know one of the arguments was over I guess
when the judge would make rulings, the prosecutor would say thank you,
your honor. Somehow that was part of the appellate ruling. But the other
thing was during the trial, I guess Eddy had been represented by Ken
Mundy who now has been dead about ten years, but Ken Mundy was a
very big defense attorney and a very nice man in D.C. He was a very big
defense attorney. During the course of the closing argument, the
prosecutor had referred to Ken Mundy as the leader of the pack just as
Eddy Mathis was the leader of the pack out on the street, so it got
reversed, and I prosecuted that case. Well, all of my witnesses were like
Eddy’s fellow criminals, and so when we went to trial in this case, all of
my witnesses came from various federal penitentiaries, institutions, around
the country, and they’re all wearing those orange jumpsuits coming from
the penitentiary. Eddy didn’t take the stand, so the jury knew nothing
about him, never heard his voice, and at this time, the Cosby Show was on
TV. Eddy would be in court for trial every day wearing a nice pullover
sweater like he was Dr. Cliff Huxtable, and just sitting there. All my
people are coming from I don’t know, El Reno, Oklahoma, and someplace
in Texas and here and there. So Eddy was acquitted. Now during the
course of the trial, Eddy’s brother, Larry, his former co-defendant, got
shot, and Larry was at Howard Hospital. So Eddy gets acquitted, and you
know the process, and he was released. My understanding was Eddy went
up to Howard Hospital later that evening and then Larry died because they
probably took him off life support. So there was a woman who would
come to the trial, her name is escaping me, but she was the girlfriend of
Eddy’s former co-defendant Harry. I think her name was Irma. That
woman would come to trial. She wore really nice clothes. She was
always very finely attired. They said for the first trial she would come to
court every day in a limousine, and she had like six or ten kids, but she
looked really good. Anyway, I prosecute Eddy Mathis, and he was
acquitted. Not surprisingly, since I had a cast of characters. The next
week I was in the courthouse standing there in the first-floor atrium area,
and this man comes up to me and starts speaking. I’m looking at him. He
had on a track suit. I’m looking at him, and I’m thinking to myself, wow,
he looks like Eddy Mathis. I never heard Eddy’s voice before. And I’m
like oh my God, it is Eddy Mathis. I think Eddy was saying he was there
to pay some parking tickets. So anyway, we spoke. I went back and told
people I just ran into Eddy Mathis, and they were like were you scared? I
said not really. It wasn’t a dark corner, but I don’t think Eddy holds
anything against me.
I subsequently prosecuted one of Eddy’s sons successfully for
first-degree murder. Anyway, Eddy called me because the police were
looking for him, and he was going to talk to me the next day in court but,
of course, that didn’t happen because he got arrested the night before.
Eddy has had a charmed history with the court system because he got
arrested in that case having these guns. He had a 10 millimeter. They all
had guns and wore bullet-proof vests. He pled guilty in federal court on a
gun charge, but he was viewed as an armed career criminal and got all this
time. So then it goes up on appeal, and he was successful because one of
his convictions was robbery pickpocket on the Metro, and the Court of
Appeals said that wasn’t a crime of violence, so boom, his sentence got
cut short. So Eddy had a way with the court system. I was sorry Eddy
and I didn’t get to talk because I really wanted to talk to him. Before my
case, he had been out in Marion, Illinois, which was then supermax and
stuff. I just wanted to talk. And we would have talked. It was okay.
Just different things with my cases. I had a lot of them.
MR. WEAVER: Once you started doing a lot of child cases, did that become a big
percentage of your caseload or did you continue to prosecute other types
of cases?
MS. JEFFRIES: We would have to prosecute other kinds of cases because thankfully not
that many children are murdered every year, so I’d hate to have a whole
caseload of that, which is a good thing. As I would tell people, far more
children are abused than children who are murdered, and so my small
cases just represented the worst of all of that happening. Children suffer
greatly with these cases.
The first case I ever had of a child even being abused involved a
four-year-old boy whose father had put his hand under hot water in the
bathtub for like thirty seconds or so. That child’s hand was gravely
burned. He ended up being in Children’s Hospital for two months because
of the burns. Every day they’d have to come in and describe his burns,
which was incredibly painful. The nurses and doctors said that all they
had to do was show up in the doorway and he would start screaming and
wailing. And then because when you have burns of the hand, the fingers
will contract, and they don’t want you to end up with claws, they put his
hand in a device, almost like a baseball mitt with spokes and it would
straighten his hands. So he went through that for two months in the
hospital, and then when he came out, he may have been with a relative,
like an aunt or he was in foster care, and he was certainly a witness for me.
So in all this time, he had not seen his father. We were getting ready to go
to trial and had to bring him in. We were probably doing a motion for his
competence as a witness, and he came in the courtroom and he’s following
my directions to come forward and go up to the stand. His father was
sitting on the side of me. He saw his father for the first time, and he
looked at his dad, waved to his dad, and said, “Hi daddy.” That’s the
thing about it. These children love their parents, even when the parents
had been abusive. It really often has to be something really, really bad
even for the kids not to feel that way. That father ended up pleading
guilty. I remember that case and the child because one of the things was I
went up there to Children’s to the burn unit. I went to the burn unit, and I
met with the doctor who it turned out was a fellow Wesleyan alum. He
took me around, and I saw children there, and it was amazing to me how
many children had burns from a variety of things, and I learned a lot from
that, as I learned a lot from my cases. For instance, there was a child who
grabbed the barrel of a curling iron and had hand injuries. Another child
had gone camping with the parents and there was a hibachi or something,
grabbed that. We had a toddler who was there, I think with burns of
maybe 65 percent of the body because the five-year-old sibling had set the
crib on fire, and the doctor told me that child was probably going to die.
On the day I was there, there was certainly nobody there with the child,
and he was wrapped up and very sedated. Seeing all that was certainly
very impactful to me and just other things, children getting burned by hot
water in the tub. Which brings me to another case with a child who died.
I want to say this child was older than six. They lived in public housing,
and let’s say the mother had six children. The mother was a crack addict.
She had hidden money or crack in a shoe, and she believed that this child
and a sister had found it. The testimony was that she hit this kid over the
head with a tire iron and made him stand still in the hallway, so the other
children said that at some point, he relieved himself and he called out to
the mother and told her. She was in another room. The mother told him
to take a bath. He went in the bathroom to take a bath, ran the water, got
in the tub or whatever, and even before then, they said he was beginning to
be drowsy and things, but he got in the tub. The water was too hot, and he
calls to the mother that the water was too hot. She told him I don’t know
run cold water, get out, whatever it was, she wasn’t in the room. Well he
passed out in the water, and he got burns, plus he had the head trauma. So
this child died. I would certainly say it was never the mother’s intent that
he would be scalded to death in the bathtub. That was not her intent. She
did intentionally hit him on the head and caused those injuries, so she’s
responsible for all of it. One of the issues for me was the water
temperature when it came out of the office was 165 degrees, and if you
read the literature, the recommendation for households with children and
elderly people is to have your water set at no more than 120 or 125
because of burns. This was a city-owned property where coming out of
the faucet, it was 165. It was probably hotter down at the boiler. So that
was an issue for us, and we wrote the city agency responsible a letter
about this, that they should turn down the water in these public housing
units. So from that case, I’m always telling people when their water is too
hot in their houses that they need to be mindful of that.
One of the things I found with my child cases is that, and I don’t
know if I said this before, back then in the early years we couldn’t charge
first-degree murder. It would be second-degree murder, and even if you
maxed the mother out, she often would be still in her child-bearing years,
and I was very concerned about that because I felt we had an obligation to
those future unborn children. They often come out want to have kids
because they lost, even if they had more children, those children are now
gone through the system, so I was very concerned about that. So in those
situations, I tried to work with them where we could do a sentence where
they’d be incarcerated but also have very specific terms of probation and
monitoring of the case because I felt we had a real duty to those future
unborn children. Over the course of my career, they created a new law
where you could do first-degree felony murder on the basis of child abuse,
and that changed the kind of sentencing options. But I was concerned
about the children and what happens.
I prosecuted a mother and father, and I was harsher toward the
mother. Defense counsel told me I should let go of my middle-class
values, but I didn’t think that was the case. I was harsher toward the
mother for very specific reasons. Their child essentially starved to death
at 59 days old. This was their second child, and they had maybe a threeyear-
old. The mother was late teens or twenty, in that age range. Well she
was in the WIC program for herself and the older child. WIC, Women,
Infants and Children, is a supplemental food program the federal
government and the states have. She had signed up for WIC with this
infant, which at that point in the child’s life, she got a voucher. She could
get a voucher each month, which would give her thirty cans of formula
supplement, and if each can was 13.5 ounces, you mixed it with equal
parts of formula, and that would be enough for one day’s supply of food
for the child. So it was nutritionally complete for the child’s needs. Then
you get every month a new voucher. So she already was in the program
with the three-year-old, so she knew about it. And then with herself, you
could get food for the mothers as well. I think the mothers could get food
up to age five, the youngest being five, and the children could be in the
program up to age six. As the children get older, then you get other kinds
of foods over the course of time. So she was in that, and also children’s
Hospital had a program for teen mothers, which would also give care to
teen fathers as well, so she could get free medical care there. In this
particular case, the mother went to Children’s to sign up for WIC for the
infant. While she was there, the receptionist with the teen program saw
her. They were in the same wing of the building. She saw her with the
baby and knew she had not been in with the baby, so the receptionist told
her you need to come in. Let me make an appointment. She went to get
the appointment book. When she came back, the mother was gone. Now,
at that first WIC meeting, they had a nutritionist who weighed the child.
The child had lost weight. The nutritionist told the mother that she needed
to take the child to the doctor. Then, of course, when the child was born I
believe at Providence, the nursing staff works with you, and then when
you’re discharged, you’re given instructions, and the instructions were to
take the doctor, probably within two weeks. None of that happened. On
the day the child died, and they find the child died in the crib and they call
9-1-1 and the police come, well the police find in the cabinets, and this is
like October 10, she had gone to WIC for September and gotten a full
amount for the month of September. She had not gone for October. When
they get there, in the cabinets, she had nineteen cans of formula
supplement and about six boxes of baby cereal, which the cereal did not
come from the WIC program. So that came from another source. The
mother also had a part-time job, so she had some income. The father lived
there as well. Ultimately, they were going to go to trial. We were doing
voir dire. The father had wanted to plead guilty, but we called it a wire
plea offer, both of them had to plead guilty, and she wouldn’t do it. They
ended up pleading guilty because during voir dire, several other potential
jurors said that if the baby died and starved like that, they really would
hold the mother accountable. So after hearing this, they ended up pleading
This case took, I don’t know, it seems like it took a couple of years
to come to trial, and here’s what happened during that time period. The
mother got pregnant twice, so with the first child, of course, that was
against the release conditions. They could not have contact with children
under a certain age. That first child, she got involved with some kind of
church, and the minister and his wife took the child. By the time she pled
guilty, she was pregnant again. I kept saying please stop getting pregnant.
But anyway, she was pregnant again. She had that child in prison, did not
have anyone to take it, so then, I guess that was West Virginia probably,
those people took the child.
The father was doing the bulk of the childcare, and he was,
according to him, super-diluting the formula, and instead of using a can,
he was using maybe two cans, so then that would diminish the nutritional
value, and then he wasn’t giving the baby enough bottles during the day.
That case was always very curious to me because they had a food
source. They knew they could get more food. They had foodError!
Bookmark not defined. in the house. She hadn’t gone to get the October
food, so that was always very curious to me. Because of the mother
having access to medical care, having access to food, having a job, having
been given specific instructions and not doing any of that, I was harsher in
my viewpoint toward her. When defense counsel said I need to suspend
my middle-class values, I said I see news stories on people starving
around the world, and the limits to which mothers will go to get food for
their children, so I did not find that to be a middle-class value that I need
to suspend.
MR. WEAVER: One thing that I’ve been thinking a lot about during this conversation and
before, particularly when you were talking about Ricky Brogsdale earlier,
is that I think that there’s an amount of compassion you have even for the
perpetrator, some of the crimes you’re prosecuting, so I was wondering
how does that impact, when it comes to sentencing, the approach that you
take? Is it something where you kind of have to put blinders on and go out
there and do your job and fight for a harsher sentence or does that kind of
change your approach, having that amount of compassion and
thoughtfulness about the circumstances of the perpetrator’s life? What
kind of impact does that have on the way you approach the sentencing?
MS. JEFFRIES: I would say it was more like a case-by-case thing that depended upon a
number of things. Now, the homicide rate skyrocketed starting around
1989, and over the course of my career prosecuting homicides, the bulk of
my defendants were young, Black males, and that’s just true. The bulk of
my defendants were young, Black males, and in those times, it wasn’t
unusual that one defendant may have committed two, three, four murders
and be like 19 years old. And you’d read these reports, and I would have
empathy for them, but if by age 19 you had killed three people, you were
not a candidate for probation. And often I didn’t have that flexibility,
especially if it was an armed offense, but really to try to create things, and
with the sentences that I was going for, the anticipation was they wouldn’t
be out for a long time, if at all. So in those situations, I’m constricted.
With Ricky, I felt many things about him, but Ricky, before my case, he
had been in Lorton for a while on a gun case, and he didn’t get out as soon
as he could have gotten out because of infractions, things he was doing
there at Lorton. Back then, pretty much anybody could get out as long as
you didn’t kill a prison guard or something. But he did things, and then
when he came out, he embarked on those specific murders. He avenged
the death of a sister or the rape of his mother and some other things, and
then those Peeping Tom things which involved sexual stuff. So I couldn’t
do anything for Ricky in that regard.
I guess I talked about this, I had a case early on where a woman, I
prosecuted her for killing her husband. She stabbed him one time, and she
ended up getting probation, which I’m sure I agreed to when you looked at
all of the facts, and I believed what she said at sentencing. But these were
two people who drank. They were probably both alcoholics, and in their
relationship, they argued and fought a lot, but they loved each other. This
is how some people relate in their relationships. On this particular
weekend, she was going to go stay with her cousin and go to a cabaret or
something, and as she was packing her bags, she and Jackie were arguing.
She said when she was going out the door even, he threw her leather coat
out the doorway after her. But anyway, she comes home on Saturday to
pick up something, and when she opens the door, Jackie is seated in his
chair in front of the TV, he’s slumped over, and like you, he had on a
button-down shirt, and there was a dot, a small circle of blood. He had
been stabbed once, and it penetrated an artery. He had a high blood
alcohol count. I think that one, Jackie was very drunk, and two, as he
began to become disoriented or whatever, he didn’t even realize what was
going on because, like I said, there was no blood. He didn’t try to call or
get help or anything. One of the things she said, and I believed her, is she
said she loved Jackie, and she said if she had known that she had really
hurt him, she said she never would have left, and I believed that. She said
during the course of whatever had gone on, she picked up a steak knife or
something, and she swung it one time, and it impacted. She was
represented by PDS, which has a lot of resources, and on their team, they
had a social worker who worked with this woman. She got into AA. She
got a job while the case was pending, and different things. So she got
probation, and I thought that was justified. Periodically over time I’d see
the social worker and ask her how she was doing because, you know, I
wondered about that.
Like I said, it was difficult with many of my defendants just
because of what they had done, but there were times when I took matters
into account.
I had to do a retrial of a young guy who I can’t remember how
these facts played out, but there was an earlier shooting, and then maybe
my defendant set out to avenge the shooting, and something happened,
and people shot him. I guess he ended up being paralyzed and was in a
wheelchair. But he gets convicted, and it got reversed on appeal, and they
gave it to me. So he’s paralyzed, and he had spent some time in jail.
There were some issues with the case, the people involved. We ended up
taking a plea that was essentially kind of like time served with some
conditions. Well he got violated because he was smoking marijuana and
also not making his appointments. But here’s the deal. He was in a
wheelchair. He lived with his mother and sisters, maybe in a second-floor
building that didn’t have an elevator or something, so he really couldn’t
get to the appointments, but maybe when he did, if they test you, he had
been smoking marijuana, which was against the law. Okay. Well I didn’t
want to violate him and send him back to prison because he paid a price
once those people retaliated and shot him and he was paralyzed, plus he
had already been in prison. So we go to court, and we’re going to have
this hearing. He, his lawyer, and I are talking beforehand, and I said to
him I can appreciate your situation, and maybe if I was in your situation, I
would want to get high too, but you’re using marijuana, you’re using
drugs in a murder case. I don’t want to have to ask to send you to jail.
Maybe you could just do something else. Why don’t you drink beer or
something that’s legal? And then PDS was trying to get some better
circumstances for him, get him a unit where he could live and do things.
No, I didn’t want to just send him back to prison. I try to be mindful with
I had a young man who killed his mother. I do believe it was an
accident. I do believe that. I believe he panicked when it happened, and
he got arrested. But the mother was raising three of her grandkids, his
niece and nephews, who the oldest was in high school, then maybe junior
high and elementary school, and they all lived in the household together.
When we had a preliminary hearing, the kids skipped school and came to
court so they could see Frank, and they waved at him because they loved
him, and they said that he loved the grandmother and things had been fine
in the home. The grandmother was maybe the youngest of eight or nine
siblings, and all of them were alive. I talked to one of the sisters, and she
said they had all talked, and they didn’t want him to have to go to jail, and
they felt the sister would have felt the same way. And as I said,
everything indicated to us that it was an accidental discharge, even though
guns were then illegal in D.C.
I met with defense counsel and his lawyer at the coffee shop
Firehook off the record one time because I wanted to hear what he had to
say. In the end, whatever our plea was, we fashioned it, and he got
probation, and I thought that was the right thing. He was always going to
bear the burden of having killed his mother.
It’s hard. So yes, I looked at my defendants, and I did have
compassion because you have to wonder how is it that somebody got this
way. If you heard the news recently, there was an eleven-year-old boy
shot and killed in southeast D.C., and I’ve seen that news. Bruce Johnson
from Channel 9 has a Facebook thing, and he will post things, and he
posted something about that case. I responded to that. I said we had
children being killed when I was prosecuting, and you’re still having
children being killed. But we as a society, as a community, have to stop
raising people the way we raise them such that they come out and kill
children and other people. We have that responsibility. What are the
circumstances and environments that we create that people come up
thinking this is the way to behave, and that’s a failure that we have and
that we continue to have.
MR. WEAVER: Did you ever have any conflicts with either your co-counsel or a superior
in the office or someone about something where you thought we’re going
to push for less, or we’re going to push for more, and there was a
disagreement about what that should look like?
MS. JEFFRIES: I didn’t have that happen within the office. Certainly there were defense
counsel who felt whatever. I didn’t have it within the office. I think that
over the course of my career, at least this is my impression, and I can be
totally wrong about this, I think that if you talk to defense counsel who
had cases with me, I would imagine that most of them say that I was an
okay person to deal with and that I was not like rabid and crazy. I
certainly never had a Brady motion filed against me or things like that.
When I asked for big time, it was because people deserve it. Like you’re
driving down 295 and somebody just shoots through your car or you killed
four people for first degree murder and then shot a lot of other people or
doing things to children.
MR. WEAVER: What were some of the big cases that you did that got appealed? You
mentioned a few today, but are there appeals that stand out? Did you
work on those when they went up on appeal?
MS. JEFFRIES: I didn’t work on them. I might read the brief. Only one case of mine was
reversed, and I call this OJ before it was OJ. I guy named Stevie Patton,
which probably if I look Stevie up now, and I should look him up to see if
he’s still locked up. This case happened in 1987 or 1989. Stevie, I
prosecuted him for killing his 33-year-old girlfriend and her 13-year-old
niece. The reason why the niece was at the household makes this a more
compelling tragedy. The girlfriend was stabbed thirty-two times and hit in
the head seven times with a wooden chair leg or something. The 13-yearold
girl was stabbed thirty-seven times and hit on the head twice with a
metal barbell pole from within the house. We prosecuted Stevie, two
counts of first-degree murder, and he was convicted. Stevie took the stand
the first trial, which was his mistake. Stevie took the stand, and he
claimed that he had been out that morning, came home, and this was going
on in the household and that the person who did it was a drug dealer
named Jesus, to whom he owed money. He said he got into a struggle
with Jesus, and it was like a fight for his, Stevie’s life, and he kind of got
knocked semi-unconscious, and when he came to, Jesus was gone. I
found a number of problems with that story, certainly that day it happened,
he never told the police who it was or anything like that. He had a single
injury. I think he had a cut to the hand, which when you’re using knives
to stab people repeatedly and you’re holding on and the blood is getting
things wet, it’s not uncommon for the blade, your hand to slip, and get a
cut. He had that. There were lots of other things that I talked to him about
in our conversation on the stand.
One of the things that happened during closing arguments was that
we had that metal barbell pole. Defense counsel took the pole and said
here’s this barbell pole, and Mr. Patton, Stevie, he said he’s about the
same size as Ms. Jeffries and he had a cut hand. Do you think he could
take this barbell pole and swing it around? Well I thought that was an
interesting question, and I had faith in myself and my abilities, so I got up
on rebuttal and said well let’s see what happens. I picked it up, and I
started swinging it with one hand, and I would bang on the floor down
below. The courtroom below called upstairs to see what was going on. So
Stevie was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder. He got twenty
years to life per count. He got the max, forty years to life. With his
offense, there was no mandatory time because there wasn’t a handgun.
Anyway he got that. He went up on appeal, and they argued something
about some question I had asked his mother because I called his mother as
a witness, and the court of appeals said I was wrong. Here’s my
viewpoint. I wasn’t wrong, but they had last word. So I had to try Stevie
The second time, Stevie didn’t take the stand, but my co-counsel,
we read his testimony. So second time, he was thirty years to life. He got
second-degree murder, fifteen and fifteen. So since that case was in 1987
or 1989, thirty years have gone by. He may well be out. I need to look
that up just out of curiosity.
By the time I left work, because the D.C. parole board had been
abolished and D.C. prisoners were going before U.S. parole, the U.S.
parole people were holding them much longer than they would have if
D.C. people had done it, which I think for those defendants was unfair
because I think they should have been held to the standards which were in
place when they were sentenced because people contemplate these things.
But anyway, he’s the only one I got reversed on.
MR. WEAVER: Did any cases ever get up to the Supreme Court?
MS. JEFFRIES: No. None of mine. He’s the only one I got reversed on.
MR. WEAVER: Did you read his testimony, or did you ask the questions in the second
MS. JEFFRIES: I played myself, and my colleague, Steve Bunnell, played Stevie. I told
him, okay, you’re playing Stevie, how come you didn’t just confess. He
stuck to it. So I think what happened is with that second trial, they heard
what Stevie had to say, but they didn’t really hear the interplay as between
him and me, the live testimony, and I think that accounts for the
difference. He was OJ before OJ because the question was how could one
person do both? I have answers to that if I had tried OJ. I think it was a
poorly tried case. I don’t think they were ready for prime time, and I think
they got caught short because I think the prosecution thought the defense
wouldn’t be ready and would ask for a continuance, and I don’t think that
crew was ready for prime time.
MR. WEAVER: Did you watch it at the time?
MS. JEFFRIES: I’m sure I watched parts of it.
MR. WEAVER: What was that like as a young prosecutor and you’re watching this.
MS. JEFFRIES: I thought they were doing an awful job. Chris Darden. Then when he
does that closing and he tries on that glove, like are you crazy. No, he had
OJ try on the glove. Number one, OJ is a criminal defendant. He has an
interest in what happened with the glove, but not only was he a criminal
defendant, he was an actor. He can act. So he tries on the glove, and it’s
like the glove didn’t fit. Well here’s the deal. My recollection of the
testimony is that the ex-wife had bought the gloves in New York, so it
wasn’t like OJ was standing there at Bloomingdales trying on the glove
and saying oh, this one fits and I like how it fits. Okay. It wasn’t like that.
And number two, a glove doesn’t have to fit for you to wear it and still be
able to function. So that was all ridiculous. But it was ridiculous that he
ever even did it. Number one. If you thought that was the thing to do,
you’re just not ready for prime time. So number one, I thought that was
ridiculous. And then after they lost, he cried on TV. Now I’m not crying.
No. So I thought you people just aren’t ready. Now I did see both of
those OJ programs that were done a couple of years ago, the People
against OJ, and there was another one done by Peter Adelman and Marian
Wright-Edelman’s son. I thought both of those were very interesting in
just retelling the case, or with the Edelman one, which was a documentary,
in talking about LA and the times and the history of LA and the police
department. I thought both of those were very interesting. But here’s a
question I would say to people. Okay, Marcia Clark and Chris Darden lost
those cases and they’ve gone on to make, well I guess he teaches, but she
writes books. She just had a TV show that did not get renewed. I said
now she lost, and she got that. I’ve won cases, and I get my little
government paycheck. How does that work, people? I was reading
yesterday a New York Times Magazine article about Judge Judy, and I’ve
heard this before, but the article reaffirmed it. Judge Judy makes
$47 million a year. She films 52 days a year. That’s 52 days a year of
work, you make $47 million.
MR. WEAVER: I want that job.
MS. JEFFRIES: I’m like wow. You go, Judge Judy. So I guess those others must make
good money too. Judge Mathis. I look at him sometimes in the morning.
I just can’t believe people. He’s kind of a regular guy, person, judge. And
he’s also from Detroit, so I’ll look at him sometimes and just shake my
head. He’s making more money than June.
MR. WEAVER: Did you follow other national prosecutions around the national media
throughout the years? Did you like to think about what you would be
MS. JEFFRIES: Yes. Because when I was working, that’s when all this stuff came of age.
They started bringing in the lawyers to do commentary. Greta Van
Susteren. When I started, Greta was a defense attorney, and she was just
defending cases in Superior Court. Greta was also stalked by somebody
that we all knew about it, but back then, they didn’t call it stalking. So
anyway, she started doing commentary I think with the William Kennedy
Smith case where he was charged with rape down in Palm Beach. So
you’re watching those cases, and then Court TV came around and
different things in the news. So yeah. And watching OJ was significant.
Here’s my view on OJ. Number one, June believes OJ is guilty.
Okay, I believe that. And I can’t recite all the evidence and everything
now, but here’s what I do say. OJ won fair and square. America needs to
own up to that. OJ won fair and square. OJ Simpson did not write the
laws of the state of California. OJ Simpson did not write the case law of
the state of California, and he most certainly did not write the U.S.
Constitution. But here’s what OJ did. OJ was living the American dream.
So the American dream for many people is to make a lot of money, have
the nice house, have good family, vacations, eat at the best restaurants,
buy the best clothes, go to the Mayo Clinic or the Cleveland Clinic if you
get sick, or anyplace else you want to go, and if you have a legal matter,
the American dream is that you will have the money to get the best
representation that you could get. And that’s what OJ did. He hired the
best lawyers that he felt he could get, and he went to trial for that case in
the state that it was in, it’s a probable cause standard. They went in and
there were questions about probable cause. All the defense had to do was
agitate, and they did. Not only did they agitate, they were super agitating.
So they won. So get over it, America. OJ Simpson won. As I also point
out, people who killed Emmett Till and other people, they walked, and
many of them didn’t get prosecuted. So the man went to trial, he did what
people do, and he walked. Now OJ just himself is not bright because if
having walked, he should realize that he needs to lay low and be simple,
but no he did stuff.
Sentencing him on that robbery matter. I’m with my mother. If
some people had his stuff, OJ couldn’t just call the police and say can you
help me get it because no police is going to help OJ Simpson. Number
one. So when she gave him thirty-three years for that or whatever he got,
he didn’t deserve that for the robbery, but he got it for the murder.
MR. WEAVER: One thing I was thinking about as you detailed different prosecutions,
what was your most difficult prosecution? What was the hardest case for
you personally that you worked on?
MS. JEFFRIES: Let me say this. Number one, this is especially true of my murder cases,
and that’s what the bulk of my time was. I did not prosecute anyone I did
not believe was guilty or that they hadn’t done the act. Now, I prosecuted
maybe a couple where the defendants had a self-defense claim, and I felt it
was fair for a jury to make that decision, and in those cases, I thought
trying them was the right thing. It wasn’t clear enough to not prosecute,
but I did prosecute a couple that I can think of where they did in selfdefense
and they were successful.
I had one in particular which they brought to me. They had
arrested the guy on a warrant, and I thought that was very flimsy, and what
the evidence was based upon, it was based upon one fingerprint on the
mirror in a bedroom. A person who probably had reason to be in the
bedroom before and other stuff that was going on. I just didn’t go
anywhere with that because I wasn’t prosecuting anybody. For me to
stand up in front a group of twelve people or when you’re arguing, there
are really more like fourteen or fifteen because I’m talking to the
alternates as well, for me to say to these twelve people that this person has
committed first-degree murder, and here’s why you should vote that way,
I’ve got to believe it. And if I didn’t believe it, I couldn’t ask other people
to do it. So that case, indict, and that would be it. If I was trying cases,
then number one, I believed it and believed I had the evidence for it.
Some of my cases were very hard-fought, and in particular, like in the
news a lot when we did the trial of the Brian Gibson murder, the police
officer, I saw some news coverage, and to me, having been in the
courtroom all day long with the trial, I felt that they didn’t necessarily
accurately present what was going on in the courtroom, so winning that
case, I don’t know, the perception that people may have gotten was
different from what I felt was really going on. So I just stopped looking at
the coverage. And like I said, I always have defense counsel who were
fighting zealously for their clients, and I don’t fault people for that, and I
don’t fault the defendant for that. As I would tell my victim’s family
members, I could not guarantee a conviction. That was out of my hands.
What I would guarantee them was the best possible prosecution, which
would mean the evidence, which would mean my handling of the trial. So
that’s what I would say. Some of them were just more difficult. Even
with that case, the Brian Gibson case, the defendant in the case, the judge
appointed counsel to that case, a big law firm in town, and so we’re in
trial, there were three lawyers from that law firm on the case and they had
the other people back in the office doing things. But that was okay with
me. It was them against me. I won. They did not.
Another story I like to tell people. Michelle Roberts was a
prominent defense counsel, she’s now head of the NBA Players
Association. Michelle started out at PDS and she and Mark Rochon had a
firm on their own, then she went with some big firm, I think Arent Fox.
But most definitely, if I were to commit murder, I’d be calling my girl
Michelle Roberts to come to my side. I can’t afford her. And she’s doing
that basketball thing. I did try a case against Michelle, and I won. As I
tell people, I won. That case had more evidence than you could ever
imagine having in one single case. When I heard Marcia Clark or
somebody say something like OJ was the best case evidence she ever had,
I said then she didn’t have any real evidence because my case had
everything you hear of. Identifications by people who knew the guy, we
had eyewitnesses. I had dying declarations to the first officer on the scene
to the hospital staff to the detectives. I had the defendant calling 911 and
saying stuff. We recovered the murder weapon in the house where he
was. He gave a confession to the police. I had all this stuff, and he took
the stand. So anyway, I tried this case against Michelle. Her client was
convicted, and so Michelle was two years behind me in college, and I got
Michelle and Dee Marie Smith, who is head of the NFL Players
Association who used to work for me, I got them to do a program for me
up at the college. When we did the program, I pointed out to people I beat
her so people would know.
MR. WEAVER: Another thing, shifting gears a little bit, you talked a little about pledging
AKA, and I think we touched a bit on civil and political types of
organizations. What other organizations were you involved in throughout
your career here?
MS. JEFFRIES: When I was working, I was in the sorority, and in my church, at one point
I was on the board of an organization called the Black Women’s Agenda
which does interesting things. In any event, while I was working and
certainly while Rudy was a kid, I didn’t do a lot of other things because
my time was precious to me. But throughout my career, I have tried to
help people when I could, whether it be a student, an intern, speaking to a
school, talking to a group, giving people ideas, college students. I have
done that. And since I’ve stopped working, I try to do other things. I’ve
done a variety of volunteer things, though the volunteer things I do have
not been real legal volunteering. Although you should call what I do up at
Harvard volunteering since Harvard has $34 billion and they don’t pay
me. I’m a Harvard volunteer, or at Emory, they don’t pay me. They pay
expenses, but I don’t get a check for that. Once I retired, I retired in 2008,
which was perfect timing because I did political volunteering and
campaigning. I’m glad that happened for me because I’d never done
anything like that before. I will say, I even ran a phone bank once a week
for about six weeks. I hate phone calls, but I did it every week. My
mother and I would go. That’s how important it was to me. I made phone
calls. I hate that. I won’t do that again. But it was all good.
MR. WEAVER: What were some of the last cases that you worked on at the office before
you retired?
MS. JEFFRIES: I know I had some kid cases. I had one guy, I can’t remember his name,
but he killed his child. I went to trial, and I lost that one. A few years
later, I think he got murdered. I read something about him. He was up to
no good. I remember that specifically. The mother and her family were
interesting people. The child’s mother would call my phone. I’m not
going to use her real name, but she’d call my phone and leave a message.
She’d say this is Patricia C. Smith. Patricia C. Smith. I’m like okay, I got
it. I guess if it had been Patricia M. Smith I’d be confused. But then her
mother was an alcoholic and had really been hitting the alcohol. Her
mother would call and leave a message. Now my name is June Jeffries.
J–E-F-F-R-I-E-S. She would call and leave a message, June Fries, this is
Betty Smith. I’ve been reduced to French fries. But I would say this
about her. I was once profiled in The Washington Post, on the front page
of the Style section on a Sunday above the fold. If you’d ever have that
experience, you will hear from a lot of people and get a lot of reactions.
She called and left a message. She had read the article, and she said told
people that I was her prosecutor and she was telling her friends about it.
So that was interesting to me. That was one of my last ones.
I think the very last autopsy I went to was of a five-month-old
baby boy, and I remember being at that autopsy and thinking this is it. He
looked very sweet except that his chest was cracked open and his organs
had been removed, but otherwise.
That’s what I can think about the last few years.
MR. WEAVER: Did you see the autopsy as kind of a pivotal moment that maybe it’s about
MS. JEFFRIES: I knew I wasn’t going to be seeing this.
MR. WEAVER: You were already on your way out.
MS. JEFFRIES: This was probably in that time period. When the Department sent out an
email in late 2007 about an early-out, that’s the first time I thought about
it, but then somebody said to hold on because they heard they were going
to offer more money the next time around. I had them run the numbers for
me in personnel, and I decided not to take the early-out then, but the way
they had been doing it, they’d usually send one out in the summer. I said I
would wait. So that was late 2007. January 31st, 2008, I had my twentyfifth
anniversary in the office. Twenty-five years is a quarter of a century.
When that day occurred and I could say I had been there for a quarter of a
century, I was so through. I told my friends if the email ever came out and
I was not there, they were to let me know. So it happened that August, I
was going to Houston for the office. The email went out. A friend of
mine called me. She read it to me, and I said email personnel, and when I
get back from Houston, I will be up there to sign the papers. So when I
got back that Monday and I went to sign the papers and do it, I said to the
woman what if I change my mind. She said you could always withdraw.
What happened, because I was feeling a little nervous, her printer
wouldn’t work and she couldn’t print the papers, so she said we can do it
tomorrow. I said okay. I went home, and I came back and had no
hesitation on Tuesday about leaving. I had done all that I could. That
office offers a lot of opportunities. I was never a supervisor, but there
were other opportunities, but the thing I really liked was Homicide. I had
done that, and I had trials, I’d had insanity defenses, I’d had cooperators. I
had all these different things, different issues, and types of killings. So
that was it, and I decided to go. But in that spring, when I went to that
autopsy with that child and I saw that, I’m like yep. No more. I’ve had it
of that. The children cases, of course, move me, and many of my
colleagues would say I don’t know how you do it. Well yes, because like
I said, those children often in life did not have anybody to advocate for
them, and in fact, the person or persons who should have been the ones to
protect them were the ones I was prosecuted. It also made those
prosecutions kind of lonely because usually with my cases I had the family
members and next of kin, but if I was prosecuting the mother and father, I
was there by myself. None of them were there.
I had one case I never did meet the mother because she was off
doing her whatever thing in her life, whatever her condition was. So yeah,
that was the last one of my cases. In those last years, I really felt I didn’t
need to go to trial just to be going to trial. I had been to trial and done
what you could do in trial, so for me to go to trial, there should be a
reason. Often, the cases they take a plea and I wasn’t selling the cases out,
but I was just like if I’m going to trial, there should be a reason here. So I
didn’t do on a yearly basis those last few trials. I’d maybe do two or three
trials a year, and that was enough, and then handle my cases in other ways
and do other things.
MR. WEAVER: Do you miss it, or have you since you left the office, has there been a
moment where you’ve missed it?
MS. JEFFRIES: I have not per se missed it because to me it’s like a book and that was part
two, and I’m onto part three. When I’m in part three, I’m not pining for
part two all over again. Now, if there were a way that I could be like
genie and just wiggle my nose and boom be in a courtroom and be doing
it, that’s one thing, but it’s all that stuff you have to do to get to that point.
I’m not interested in that, and I got what I wanted, and you know, there are
younger people there who need that kind of experience and can do the
work. I have some cases have happened, nationally or not, I wouldn’t
mind being there. People might be offended by this, but when they had
the shooting in Las Vegas and all those people got killed, that’s a massive
crime scene. I was thinking about those things. What I do do now that
I’m retired is I go to Supreme Court arguments, and I go to maybe four
arguments a year. I like to go the opening day in October, which is the
closing day as well. I go to the last day of arguments. I go in between. I
may hear cases that are of interest. And then I like to go for decision days
in June, especially like the last week if my schedule allows. So since I’ve
been retired, I was able to go to the arguments of the Windsor case, samesex
marriage, Shelby County. I went to the Affordable Care Act. They
did three days in a row, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Tuesday was the
big day, the mandate, and I went for that argument. On that day, I was
sitting in the very first row of the lawyers’ section, that first seat right next
to the press box. I was right by Nina Totenberg and Pete Wilson of NBC.
I was there for that argument. Now when that happened, Trayvon Martin
had been killed some weeks earlier and was in the news, and that
afternoon, the House Democrats on their Judiciary Committee were
having a hearing on that case, so that morning, I went to the Affordable
Care Act argument. I went to lunch, and then I went and got in line. I was
the first person in line at that hearing room, and then I ended jump inside
the hearing. I was sitting right behind Trayvon Martin’s parents and the
lawyer, Benjamin Crump. If you had seen the clips on NBC News, you
would have seen me sitting there. I said wow, on this day, I’ve been at the
two biggest legal events in America, and I don’t think anyone else could
have said that. But I did those. So this year, I went to an argument in
March, the Mississippi case, Curtis Flowers, who was tried six times by
the state of Mississippi, my mother’s home state, for a quadruple
homicide. He’d either had hung juries or the case had been reversed for
nascent reasons. So I went to that argument, which was a very good
argument, certainly of eight people who asked questions, eight Justices. I
would say all eight seemed, I’ll call it, disturbed, and along the disturbed
spectrum. I thought the questions were very good, and I thought Justice
Kavanaugh’s questions were good. Questions don’t necessarily mean
what’s going to happen, but I felt that way. During the rebuttal by
Flowers’ attorney, a ninth Justice on the Court chose to speak up, so I
guess he felt he needed to say his little thing, which my hope was that he
would use that in his dissent. I haven’t read his dissent, but I’m sure he
probably did. So I was thinking then that could be 8-1, although 7-2, and
it ended up being 7-2. With that case, I had listened to the podcast. I
think it’s called In the Dark or something. I listed to podcast episodes
about the case, so I went to that argument. That was really good to go to.
Everybody knew that was such an unusual thing. Who does that, tries
somebody six times? There are so many things you can say about it. But
even Justice Roberts said to the person from the Attorney General’s
Office, could your office not have taken this case away from the
prosecutor and maybe moved it to a new county or something. I think that
person admitted that they could have. They had not done it. I don’t know
what they will do it this time around, but they need to just dismiss the
case. If I can’t get you six times. I tried a case once that had been tried
three times before me. I did it the fourth. Trying retrials like that is a
nightmare because you have all this prior testimony. All these transcripts.
You have to remember what everybody said in every one, and there are
going to be differences because they can be innocent, or they could be not
innocent and keeping track of all that. So if you think I want to keep track
of six different trials plus everything else in my mind, that’s a nightmare.
You can’t win that kind of nightmare really if you’re doing things the right
way. So going to the Supreme Court is something I very much enjoy. My
son had worked there for two-and-a-half years. My son worked for
Justice, and that Justice and his wife came to my son’s wedding, stayed
longer than we thought because we thought they’d leave after cocktails.
They stayed through dinner and dancing because when I saw the
videotape, the Justice was dancing with my daughter-in-law. I had missed
that part, so I think my mother to have been born in Mississippi as she
was, a Black girl in 1924 growing up in the Mississippi Delta, a rough
place, to have a Supreme Court Justice at her grandson’s wedding. One of
my cousins came up to me at the wedding and said do you have the Secret
Service here? I said it’s not the Secret Service, but they have their own
security detail. After my son worked there, he then went to law school,
and the Chief Justice came up to his law school for the inaugural
Environmental Law moot court, so his chambers knew that my son was at
that school, and when the Chief came out, they had the moot court and the
reception, and then they had a dinner for some people with the Chief.
They arranged for my son and his wife to be invited to the dinner, and then
they also went to the moot court, which my son said that each student
could get one ticket, but he was allowed to get two tickets. His friend, or
whoever he was with, wanted to know how he got two tickets. Then when
they went to the argument, they were seated in one place, but then
somebody came and got them and put them in the second row. He said his
classmates were looking at him. At one point during the reception, one of
the Chief’s security people came over and said if you want to see the
Chief, you should come over. His classmates were like how do you know
these people? Why are they talking to you? So I thought that was fun.
Also his law school has a lecture series in the name of his Justice, so his
first year when they did the lecture series, the Justice didn’t come, but they
had my son represent the Justice and he was on the printed program. I
have that. I thought that was special. I was proud of that.
MR. WEAVER: You’ve been spending time with your granddaughter now too.
MS. JEFFRIES: Yes, I have. As I tell her, she is three-and-a-half, we are strong. We are
invincible. We have courage. We are smart. I tell her those things.
MR. WEAVER: Excellent. Well I think we will go ahead and wrap up for today, and we
will reconvene here in the next few weeks.
MS. JEFFRIES: Yes. We know our plan.