I got a bit closer to the law than usual over the last few days and while my service was brief and didn't actually involve any kind of service I was left wondering after I read this at reason.com. That we find an awful lot of men behind bars is not all that unusual. Most bartenders I've met are men. That we have so many men who have been sentenced to prison for crimes they never committed is a failure of the people. If you read the story at the link, it briefly mentions some of the corrupt practices that led to what amounts to lifetime sentences in jail because somebody managed to fool the jurors a lot of the time.
I think that defense attornys should be given a special allowance at voir dire proceedings to eliminate the people who are too stupid to listen to the facts of the case and too stupid to make up their own minds about a person's guilt or innocence. Believe me, I have seen some really stupid potential jurors and you don't want them with your fate in their stupid little hands.
I suspect that quite often, I am in that pool of stupid jurors dog paddling for all I am worth.ReplyDelete
As long as one keeps up, paddling is good enough.Delete
mind you, of late I had been called in for jury duty on a murder case. I was of two minds about serving in that pool as the murder occurred five streets from my home. Concerned with my predisposition about this case, and none the less having the presence of mind to set aside my own prejudices about the case; I determined that if asked to serve on the jury I would confer with the judge about my personal reservations.ReplyDelete
It turned out to be unnecessary to do so as the defense attorney decided I was stupid and released me during 'voir dire'.
Being a registered and active voter in my county, I await the next call.
The case I was on two months ago was going to be quite involved and was about a father who spent years raping his little daughter. I think it would have been a difficult case to sit through and still kind of regret that I wasn't up the demands involved. I had to call in and ask to be excused because it was too painful to stand much less walk the rest of the week. The bailiff conferred with the judge and I was given leave but told they'd see me in a couple of months and they did. I was candidate juror 24 and there was no way I'd be on the case anyway. All day and finished for the day when the judge asked candidate juror 25 if he had any reasons that might prevent him from reaching a verdict based on the facts presented.Delete
I await the next call. For almost 20 years I had to send my regrets to the court because they would notify me for jury duty when I literally had my overseas airline tickets and orders in my hands while I was in the Navy. I've answered the last 3 calls and perhaps, one day, may actually sit in judgement. We'll see.
Between being a student or in the Navy, I've only had to actually serve jury duty once, and that one time I got selected for a jury and our case went to trial.ReplyDelete
The experience made me even more skeptical of the .gov. Our case was an attempted murder trial, and the .gov's so-called "expert" (someone with a Bachelor's degree in criminal science or something like that) had a very superficial knowledge of firearms, which was central to the prosecution's argument. When you're arguing that X was standing over there shooting at someone behind this car over here, it makes a difference where the shell casings are, right? The "expert" CSI person obviously did not understand the difference between shell casings, bullets, and complete rounds, and she also managed to let slip that she thought that shell casings "fell out onto the ground" when you shoot a semi-automatic handgun. What a mess. The defendant (who we found out later was in court for "a whole bunch of things" not just this case) was clearly a low-life, but he wasn't clearly guilty of what they said he did, and the prosecution's case really insulted our intelligence expecting us to believe it.
It's funny but it's not. I bet this "expert" knows no more about fingerprints, DNA etc than she does about guns, and I only picked up on it from being a gun hobbyist. How much BS has spewed out undetected and convincing juries that the State is correct in saying this guy did whatever? Why should we believe anything else the state's experts tell us, if this is representative of what's really been going on?
Icing on the cake was that when we finally got to deliberate, they made a big deal of leaving the evidence with us in the jury room. A baggie with 4 calibers of handgun brass cases (it was probably two groups of hoodlums shooting at each other), with nothing said by the prosecution about what kind of gun the defendant supposedly had or what kinds of bullets were dug out of the victim's leg. The victim hauled ass out of the ER against medical advice before they could test him for gunshot residue. It didn't take more than 20 minutes for everyone to agree "not guilty".
Oddly enough, the woman I spent most of Monday is an accountant and her husband is a pathologist here in metroparkcentralis. I knew a man who was a forensic pathologist with a specialty in gunshots. Think how ticked professionals like that must be when they are presented with an utter ignoramus prosecuting attorney or defense counsel. IN fact, you can watch it on you tube.Delete
I forgot to add, in jury deliberations, I wrote the judge a note asking "was there gunshot residue on the defendant's hands?" "what kind of bullet was taken out of the victim's leg?" "Was the defendant tested for GSR?" and several others since the prosecution didn't say boo about any of this.ReplyDelete
The judge wrote us back "you have to decide based on the evidence shown". Ok, fine, not guilty, that was easy.
How much did they spend pushing this stupid weak-ass case?
If I were king, juries would be about getting to the truth of what happened, and the jurors could throw BS flags and ask questions of the witnesses, not just the lawyers. My God did I have to bite my tongue when that dumbass CSI was testifying.
And the truly scary thing for us is the McMartin preschool trials that found those poor bastards guilty and sent them to jail forever because of the fabricated tissues of lies spewed by preschoolers about taking flights around the country, witches, demons, etc. Those jurists should be exposed to a flame thrower for the rest of their burning lives.ReplyDelete
Arrived for jury duty to determine the death penalty of a Army man who had confess to killing a family of four in Iraq. Seeing as how I have no problem with the death penalty I was chosen by the prosecutor. This man had told his superiors, friends for two years that he had committed the crime. No one listened. He was discharged due to being unfit, returned home, went to Walter Reed to visit friends and told them what he and 5 other had done. FBI two years later becomes involves and finally "finds" him at home. (I guess it was a long search). He pleads guilty in federal court as the Army did not want to try him even though the murders were committed during active duty. As he was the ringleader but 5 other were involved. Army tried all of them with varying sentences of 6 to 99 years. So he landed here for the death phase of his trial. This went on for weeks and I had a steno book full of questions that were never answered by anyone. Final judge's orders were simple, life without or death. Now to our jury, all gainfully employed but one. Sissy LaLa, left over from the flower child era and she never saw a reality she liked. We listed to statements of how he could write a book showing other how to control their impulses or my favorite "his spirit can still soar with the butterflies" and after that announcement she stated she would NEVER and this with drama that left us all with our mouths open. We notified the judge we were deadlocked. Later learned that he was sent to max security in AZ and two years later he was dead by suicide.ReplyDelete
I tend to doubt that I will ever serve on an actual jury. I have to say the judge last time was fulsome in his praise and he and the metropark courts kept insisting that service as a juror was serving your country, just like someone who signed that contract to serve one's country.Delete
I have no idea what your case was. None. I tend to suspect that he was a loose round and a little bit crazy and he McMartined 5 of his buddies into jail forever and I'm not surprised he quit the planet.
My father and I and another retired Army officer friend of my dad went to see the play Black Watch in DC in the summer about 3 or 4 years ago. It's the memories that get distorted by time, not the man, or woman.
I've put up the pictures of the memories I have and I wrote them every night for decades so that memory would not be lost or distorted. In this electronic age, I don't think that happens anymore. I remember, I had to go out to search office supply stores looking for exactly the same 'record' book to keep them all alike. Now there's 5 more different types because Chaplain Harvey sent me some of the later books I wrote but left behind when I left San Diego for good.