Courtroom Sketching: Amy Senser Trial, Day 5

Today the prosecution wrapped up their case against Amy Senser in her hit-and-run trial. All along Mrs. Senser has insisted she thought she had struck a construction barrel with her car instead of a human being. The state is attempting to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she must have known she had hit someone instead of something.

To do that they brought in some road construction equipment and a highway patrolman with a background in reconstructing auto accidents. He explained that a construction barrel is much lighter than a grown human being and reacts much differently when struck by a car. To demonstrate the prosecuting attorney asked the patrolman to kick over the barrel in front of the jury, which he did with relative ease. It may not prove much – the average person probably thinks the barrels are much heavier than they really are, and perception is what matters in this trial – but after four days of drawing the same people sitting in the same chairs in the same room, it was fun to change it up. It’s not often I get to draw an “action shot” in court.

The trial will likely end on Monday with Mrs. Senser herself taking the stand, and then I’ll be getting back to regular client work. This has been such a tragic case on so many levels. A man is dead and another family has to watch their mother face a very public trial, and since her husband is a local celebrity much of their personal family dramas and conflicts (both real and implied) have been paraded in front of the media. At the same time the media is all but ignoring the victim’s family.

No matter what the jury decides, there will be no winners.

courtroom sketch
The prosecuting attorney questions a state patrolman who is an expert in reconstructing auto accidents.
courtroom sketch
The patrol officer wheeled in some construction equipment for a demonstration.
courtroom sketch
The prosecuting attorney asked the patrol officer to kick over one of the construction barrels to demonstrate how lightweight they are.

Courtroom Sketching: Amy Senser Trial, Day 4

Today two of the three key witnesses were teenagers. Because they were minors the judge instructed all of courtroom sketch artists to not sketch them. At all. We asked if we could just draw outlines or even genderless mannequin-like “ghost” shapes and even that request was denied. The judge was very nice about it but he wasn’t taking any chances. It made for a challenging day of sketching.

On a side note, I’m told that some of my sketches from the trial wound up on ‘Good Morning America’ this morning. A relative DVR’d it for me and I plan to check it out.

courtroom sketch
The defendant's husband, former Minnesota Viking Joe Senser, takes the stand for his second day of questioning.
courtroom sketch - judge
Since I wasn't allowed to sketch the teenage witnesses on the stand, I worked on a close-up of the judge instead.
courtroom sketch
Since we weren't allowed to sketch the minors who were testifying, or even sustitute a blank outline or silhouette, I was forced to leave the witness stand empty. Naturally the news station wasn't able to do much with this one.