Twelve Absent Men: Rebuilding the American Jury.
"Juries hear only 4 percent of criminal trials in America. Their decline has fostered radical punitiveness, but reforms and novel institutions are breathing new life into the jury and civic participation more broadly."
The crime against women that no one understands
"They would be 10 educated, professional women versus a demonstrated liar—a man who had pretended to be a doctor, a CIA employee, even an astronaut—whom a court-appointed psychologist would decide met the legal definition of a "sexually violent predator." And yet the most remarkable thing about both trials wasn't the way they exposed the alleged tactics of a serial date rapist. It was that despite the outrageousness of the accusations against Marsalis, the testimony of 10 women wasn't enough to get a single rape conviction against him. The verdicts in these cases would be far lighter than his accusers sought—and victims' advocates say the outcome reveals a disturbing truth about the justice system. Nationwide, despite all the legal advances of the past three decades, little has changed for women who report a date rape. Because in far too many instances, juries don't believe date rape exists."
The perfect location for the perfect crime.
Due to a loophole in the US Constitution there is an area of Yellowstone Park
where you may be able to get away with a major crime. U Michigan Prof
Brian C Kalt looks into
and gauges your chance at success
. Someone has tried
. [more inside]
Scott Horton at Harpers.org writes about Julian P. Heicklen
, a 78-year-old retired chemistry professor from New Jersey, now faces federal criminal charges for informing people entering the federal courthouse about the doctrine of jury nullification
. Scott Horton's post is a response to the New York Times column on Mr. Heicklen
. [more inside]
Missoula District Court: Jury pool in marijuana case stages ‘mutiny’.
'A funny thing happened on the way to a trial in Missoula County District Court last week.
Jurors – well, potential jurors – staged a revolt.
They took the law into their own hands, as it were, and made it clear they weren’t about to convict anybody for having a couple of buds of marijuana. Never mind that the defendant in question also faced a felony charge of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs.
The tiny amount of marijuana police found while searching Touray Cornell’s home on April 23 became a huge issue for some members of the jury panel.
No, they said, one after the other. No way would they convict somebody for having a 16th of an ounce.'
I’ve spent the better part of the week serving as the foreman for a jury in a criminal case. As they tell you, you’re not allowed to talk about it with anyone, not even your fellow jurors, during the trial. As they also tell you, once the trial is over you can talk about anything you want. So, here goes.
"I just finished serving jury duty at the Van Nuys Superior Court. My case involved a man who was suing a stripper and strip club for a “fractured penis” injury he received while getting a nude lap dance. The stripper was from Sweden. The strip club owner was a retired porn star. There were many experts. Needless to say, this case was kind of awesome. As a member of the jury, I was given a pad and pen for note taking
. The case lasted 7 days."
, a situation in which jurors acquit in a criminal trial even if the facts favor conviction (often because the jurors disagree with the law), is of ancient provenance
in the Anglo-American legal tradition. Courts are ambivalent
towards it, regarding it both as quasi-illegal (they'll remove jurors if they catch them during the attempt
) and as something that they cannot overturn once it happens. Nullification has furthered many causes, from anti-death-penalty to pro-southern-lynchings
. Lawyers can't mention it in court on pain of contempt, but some hope
to educate people
in other ways.
The American Gallery of Juror Art. Deliberations
, a blog on juries and jury trials, solicits art made by folks while on jury duty. Some dude drew a sweet bike
had detailed notes on his fellow jurors, divided into "knuckleheads," "reasonable people," and "who knows." (Original here
.) It's a small collection at the moment, but hopefully more to come.
No mere slap on the wrist
Jury awards grieving widow $253.4 Mil in Vioxx suit. The first of thousands of cases like it. (washpost)
Laywer/novelist Scott Turow (non-wp, non-reg-req. link)
and Nat Hentoff
discuss the DOJ's decision
to release a declassified document
detailing the possible charges against Jose Padilla
, at the same time as the U.S. Supreme Court
nears a decision
on the constitutionality of holding Padilla without due process ... "So at this point, you have no plans to present any of this to a grand jury?"
Steve Davis, this was your life.
The most interesting spam I've gotten in a while. This fellow
apparently served on a jury with the woman of his dreams. Having not gotten her number, or apparently her name, he decided that spamming was the way to find her. In this world, at this time, one would think he would know better. I smell a new meme arising! (Text of the email inside.)
Chief Moose won't postpone book.
Montgomery County Police Chief Charles A. Moose will not delay the release of his book despite concerns of tainting jury pools and the fact that county rules bar disclosure of confidential info and prohibit employees from using the "prestige of office" for private gain. Chief Moose said his book will not disclose information that would hurt the prosecution of Malvo and Muhammad.
We all must do our civic duty.
But how many of us can fill in President of the United States on the questionnaire when it asks for former jobs held? A bit of mirth for today. NY Times req. required.
"Jury of your peers," perhaps... but a celebrity juror
on a celebrity case
can certainly open a can of worms
. Especially when they've worked together in the past. (more inside)
SD proposing expanding jury powers to nullify unfair laws.
South Dakota's proposed Amendment A would give juries the ability to accept a guilty verdit but let the offender go if it is shown that the law is either draconian or misguided - as is usually the case with victimless crimes
like drug posession and 'in the bedroom' sex laws. Jury nullification:
a necessary check on our over-legislated society or a potential breakdown of the modern justice system?
U.S. Embassy bomber given life sentence.
This is kind of the flipside of the McVeigh execution; Saudi man helps bomb the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi which kills 213 people. Jury cannot agree to execute him, as some believe he would become a martyr for the cause, and others believe this wouldn't "alleviate the suffering of the victims or family members". Why is this any different from the McVeigh situation?