Law enforcement officials with knowledge about the case denied a recent television report that a cleaning establishment had turned in a Dodgers jersey with Stow's blood on it. Witnesses to the beating told police that two of the suspects were wearing Dodgers jerseys. The sources said a blood-stained jersey was turned in to police during the course of the investigation but that DNA testing showed it was not connected to either Stow or Ramirez.
The strongest element of their case appears to be witnesses who identified Ramirez as the attacker.
Bob Schwartz, a veteran Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, said Ramirez's lawyers have adopted a bold but risky strategy by publicly disclosing key information that, if true, would be favorable to the defense before criminal charges have been filed.
Defense lawyers, he said, generally avoid going public with information until they have viewed police reports and other evidence that might implicate their clients — information that authorities are required to disclose only after a criminal filing. He said the danger for Ramirez is that police will turn up evidence undermining the witnesses' alibis before criminal charges are filed.
"The risk of the strategy — that may turn out to be brilliant — is that the defense is operating here in the blind," he said.
Taking the case to the media could influence potential jurors if criminal charges are filed, said Schwartz, who said he knows Brooklier from their work in the Los Angeles County criminal courts. In the meantime, he said, the strategy puts pressure on detectives and prosecutors to be cautious about filing charges.
"It puts the onus on the prosecution to have their ducks in a row," he said. "The seed has been planted certainly in the public consciousness that maybe they've got the wrong guy … that they jumped the gun."
Photos: The beating of Bryan Stow