Casey, Thank you for the crash course as there is always much to learn when it comes to complications of the Law at any time in history, and more so now. And in all fairness, one has to recognize that the lawyers on both sides had almost no time to prepare for what they expected to be a short and relatively simple exercise. Literally a few days; but I do believe that with the time they had, they short-changed themselves by not doing a little investigating or examining possible witnesses. Lack of good preparation is very obvious to me.
Except in the case of Fitch, who recognized they were under the wire. He bought some time from Spicer and had Wyatt hurriedly write out the whole story from his point of view. And that alone is what Fitch depended upon. Of course, he did keep in reserve his ace-in-the-hole, the mysterious Mr. Sills if things went a little shaky.
Lawyers today have the opportunity and responsibility to rehearse their witness's testimony; not in the sense of telling them what to say, but in the sense of being sure of HOW they say it. Our guys we are discussing apparently did not have that luxury so we need to cut them a little slack, I guess.
That being said, I still expect them to be able to think on their feet. They have the credentials, they should be a little quicker on the return and they were not.
You raise the point about Mr. Sills. For a Prosecution lawyer to let that guy slide by...he had to be slow-witted; especially as he had plenty of back-up! However, they didn't seem to be paying much attention either.
Sills was asked about threats he had heard. His response was this: "...I saw four or five men standing in front of the O.K. corral, talking of some trouble they had had with Virgil Earp, and they made threats at the time, that on meeting him they would kill him on sight..."
So we know he is on Allen street between Dunbar's corral and the entrance to the O.K. corral as the ranchers were never at the O.K. on Fremont. Interestingly, while the ranchers are having this conversation, they seem unconcerned that this stranger is near enough to over-hear all their threats. Sills even says "...I was within four or five steps of them..."
Have any of the Prosecution lawyers sitting on their hands tried to visualize how close is 'four or five' steps from this group of killers? Should we assume that the cowboys don't even realize at this point that the man in town clothing is not one of their group???
This man, four or five steps from the group of ranchers, now tells us he could not tell us what kind of clothes they had on! He could describe Billy Clanton to a T, even guessing his age accurately, but at four or five steps didn't even notice if the boy was wearing a hat! But he could describe his complexion! To top it off, while only steps away from Billy, he doesn't seem to notice the boy is ON A HORSE!
This only gets better line by line! Credentials apparently don't tell the whole story. In this case, some simple paying attention would have helped. There seems to be no explanation for such nonsense, but there's a whole lot more if you like. We haven't even scratched the surface, as Fitch and Spicer are going to continue with this man and the Prosecution is still trying to wipe up the spilled coffee!
I think the Prosecution might do better working at the local corrals, as they are not going to outsmart Spicer and Fitch, for sure.