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Friday, October 21, 2005

What's y'alls' take on this story?

This blogger had a chance at jury duty. He was called to be a juror for a drug case. He doesn't believe in drug laws, so he was disqualified. He's wondering if he should have lied to stay on the jury. My take: no, he should have told the truth, but the judge should not have disqualified him from the jury pool.

My question is this: wouldn't the system be a better place if jurors weren't dismissed just for thinking that a particular law sucks. To me, that's classic jury nullification - which, you'll notice, the government has been trying to eliminate and diminish for years.

I think he should have been kept in the jury pool by the judge. Make the prosecutor use one of her strikes to remove the blogger from the jury her/hisself. I think it might have had a real impact on the kind of trial this guy might have gotten.

KH

8 Comments:

Blogger ZooooM said...

Unfortunately, juries are a joke, no matter what.

Each attorney can bounce a prospective juror based on little more than the color of their pen ink. Voire Dire.

There's a lot of money made by services who profile jurors. Each side can stack a jury any damn way they want.

If jurys really were made up of our peers, they would randomly pick 12 people and force them to be jurors. No questions. Just go.

Because, even if someone on a jury was biased in any way towards the situation to be heard, wouldn't that better reflect "our peers" and our current society's wishes than having a bunch of monkey attorneys picking people based on whether they can win and get gobbs of money or not? I believe so.

So yes, I do believe he should have been kept on the jury.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous badger said...

I think he should have stayed in the pool. Despite his feelings toward drug laws, he was never asked if it would influence or bias his opinion against the state. why not let him stay in the pool, they didn't dismiss anyone who believed in the drug law, a clear bias against the defense.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you know, i was about to go off on this but its not worth it. my short answer is no, he should not be on the jury. fair and impartial. that's the standard.

"Groundhog"

2:53 PM  
Anonymous randyrytter said...

I don't see how any one individual can be 100% completely fair and impartial...no matter how much or little he or she knows about a particular case. Let the junkie serve on the jury ;)

4:45 PM  
Blogger The Management said...

Groundhog - I love you, but I don't agree on this one. I think that one of the forgotten functions of the jury (one that has been legislated into a corner) is to judge the validity of the laws.

He should have expressed his opinion and then the prosecutor should have been given the option of using a peremptory.

Sorry this analogy may be trite and insufficient, but if you were a juror serving in a case where the law said (for example) it is illegal to be jewish, you as a juror and citizen have the right to judge that law and find the defendant not guilty because the law is bad.

Jury nullification is good thing - I think moreso in federal court under regulatory laws, but I see the validity in nullification of certain drug charges and other silly state and local laws. It used to be a part of our system that could be argued at trial (eg. the Defense Attorney could say, "if you think this law sucks or the penalties are not justified, find him not guilty"). Prosecutors hated that and had that right legislated away. I would like to think that a layman could judge the facts of a case and weigh the merits of the trial. This is especially true where mandatory minimums are in effect.

Finally, it would slow the recent trend (in my observation) of prosecutors going after people instead of acts (ie politically motivated trials), and prosecutors who always go for the maximum penalties in order to leverage plea agreements from people who simply cannot afford to fight the govt.

Also, you're beautiful (lucky Bastar . . . I mean Badger).

Next, we can disagree about the merits of Grand Juries. I tend to distrust the government and lean towards individual liberties. Not many prosecutors are as caring and compassionate (or as competent) as yourself.

KH

1:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

KH: I'm sure the wife of the slain Towson teacher totally agreed with you when that jury decided that felony murder was a bad law. So they just ignored it and found the GUILTY and PARTICIPATING defendant not guilty because he's young and stupid. It is not for juries to decide the law. Period.

I told Badger I am not going to read this for awhile because I tend to get annoyed at commentaries such as "prosecutors suck" or "all police are bad". (And yes, I have read those almost exact words here before). Unless you have stood in my shoes or even Badger's shoes to an extent, you truly don't understand.

But, obviously, I still love you too. Its important to have opinions, even if they are different than mine. Ha Ha.

Groundhog

2:16 PM  
Blogger The Management said...

Well, no one else has stood in my shoes, so I guess no one can ever understand me - despite my general lack of complexity.

I'm pretty sure I didn't say all prosecutors suck - though I do point out abuses when I see them. I have also said that there are good cops, I just think the problems with them are more extensive than just a few. I think I put it at 60/40 bad to good.

I know you disagree, and I respect that you disagree. It's one of the great things about you that you can disagree with just about my entire socio-political philosophy and still not hate me.

As for the woman in Towson, I certainly hope, if nothing else, that the person who committed the murder was punished. I think you know, and if you don't I'm telling you, that my compassion for criminals stops at harming someone else. That applies to killing someone, but it also applies to stealing pies from their window sills.

Sometimes these sites are bad because they serve to point out our differences, when we both know that we share a lot in common that doesn't get discussed.

I don't mean to piss you off, if you promise to keep speaking to me, I swear I'll go a month without posting anything bad about prosecutors and the police.

You're still my favorite.

KH

10:28 PM  
Blogger The Management said...

Laws are pretty much made by morons, or created to appease morons. In doing so, the outcomes of most laws need to be tempered by judges and juries. This has always been the case (except for a few years when the Founding Fathers were out and about walking on water). Today it's even more important (mandatory sentencing and what not).

What we need to do is to stop being retarded, limit what we call a felony and then prosecute the shit out of those people. Felonies used to be acts which were so henious that we basically considered those guilty of them as no longer a member of society. Now I most likly commit 2 or 3 felonys a day without even trying.

The governement (legislators, cops, and prosecutors) need to let people be unless they are actually hurting others.

Until that happens jury nullification is a must.

All of that being said, juries should contain a more diverse crowd, not just a room full of sympathetic hoodlums.

Otter

2:19 PM  

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