Jury duty over.

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    • #414372
      HassleCat
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 7,452

      I just read the piece about stupid people, one day after I finished jury duty. As with my previous jury experience, I encountered jurors who were so intent on convicting the defendant of everything that they sort of lost their minds, to the extent that they repeated the same mistake over and over and over. The first thing we did was to look at the three charges: burglary, malicious mischief, and theft. We very quickly determined that no theft occurred, so we threw out that charge and any consideration of whether the defndnat was guilty as an accessory to that charge. Then we decided that the defendant was guilty as an accessory to the chargese of burglary and malicious mischief. OK. All done, right? Nope. A couple jurors kept saying, “If she’s guilty as an accessory to burglary and malicious mischief, then she must be guilty as an accessory to theft.”  They had to be reminded three or four times that we threw out the theft charge because there was no theft. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking is all too common. Many people believe a defendant is guilty of all charges because the state would not bring meritless charges. They don’t know, or refuse to accept, that it’s common for prosecutors to bring every possible charge, along with some that may be impossible. They also believe that a criminal is a criminal, and is guilty of any and all crimes. I hust hope I’m never charged with anything.

    • #414390
      Jan Boehmerman
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 4,495

      HassleCat, I enjoyed my first and only time … in the pool.

      Never went to trial.

      I enjoyed watching my “fellow citizens” during jury selection.

      I think you know what I mean.

      • #414394
        HassleCat
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 7,452

        Some people readily admit their prejudices, and others try to conceal them. We had a couple people who I thought might be tinfoil hat types, just because what they said made no sense.

      • #414405
        Cold Mountain Trail
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 12,932

        I enjoyed jury duty too.  I thought my fellow citizens worked well together & we reached a good verdict.

        Must have been about 10 years ago or more.  Maybe people got stupider in the interim.

        Wasn’t criminal though, just traffic.

    • #414399
      beeninthewoods
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 117

      especially when their posts are riddled with spelling and grammatical errors.

       

      Congratulations HassleCat on your “self own”.

      • #414400
        HassleCat
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 7,452

        I proudly own every typo. I realize they prove I am a stupid person. I have many other traits and foibles indicating my stupidity: my inability to conform to conventional wisdom, my poor eyesight, my unwillingness to submit to peer pressure and groupthink… I could go on, but it’s a long list and I don’t want to be boring, in addition to my other faults.

    • #414402
      surrealAmerican
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 1,054

      … that people are either “good guys” or “bad guys”.

      It’s one of the reigning myths of our society, but it is just a myth. It’s a good thing that the law leaves room to bypass this kind of thinking.

      • #414407
        Cold Mountain Trail
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 12,932

        of ‘stupid people’ and ‘not stupid people’

        I find we are *all* stupid part of the time, clever part of the time, and just average part of the time.

        For example @hasslecat always wins at trivia

        I never know the right answer even when i get there in time, which i rarely do

        I am stupid at trivia.  Don’t know why, I used to always win at Jeopardy when I was watching it on tv back in the 70s.

        I have gotten stupider at it, even though they’ve dumbed it down.

         

        • #414409
          Cold Mountain Trail
          Participant
          • Total Posts: 12,932

          That’s what I get for not reading before I write.

          shows my stupidity.

          Looks like the writers’ ‘stupid’ has some overlap with what i’d call ‘mean’ or ‘malicious’ and very little to do with trivia questions.

          “A stupid creature will harass you for no reason, for no advantage, without any plan or scheme and at the most improbable times and places.”

          — If people harass someone for no reason without a plan I’d call them mean or malicious rather than stupid & it seems to me a lot of the time they do get a ‘benefit’ though it may not be obvious; it makes them feel like they have power over another person or a situation.  A psycho-emotional benefit to their own self-image — even though other people may just think they are stupid, they may not see themselve that way because they have the power to ‘disturb the universe’ — or at least to disturb another person.

          • #414412
            surrealAmerican
            Participant
            • Total Posts: 1,054

            … here’s what “trivia” is really testing – not intelligence, but memory (or maybe the breadth of your education).

            Intelligence and stupidity may have more to do with how you apply your knowledge than with how many things you can remember from what you were taught.

    • #414414
      soryang
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 1,543

      most plead out. i was told once that they plead out because it’s in their interest to do so. That is true in most cases. On the other hand in a significant number of cases defendants are coerced into a plea, and if they refuse to submit to that coercion, and fail at the uphill effort to show their innocence, they are penalized with a longer sentence FOR EXERCISING THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO JURY TRIAL.

      I know of a case where the judge left a personal friend of the district DA on the jury over defense motion to exclude for cause after peremptories were exhausted because believe or not there were worse people in the jury venire. After the DA’s friend on the jury swore he would be objective he was elected the jury foreman and placed in effect in control of the verdict. I knew public defenders who did only one jury trial a year, judges and prosecutors love these people. The public defenders who did the usual one out of fifty cases by jury trial instead of a plea still saw their clients punished by the judge with excessive sentences for daring to go to trial if they were found guilty after a trial.

      Americans think they have the greatest legal system in the world.

      • #414424
        HassleCat
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 7,452

        In the case we decided, the defendant was duped into confessing, in an audio recording we heard in court, because the police led her to believe she would gain leniency by providing information. Not true, of course. The DA charged her with four crimes, one of which was such a stretch they dropped it during trial, and another of which we (the jury) dropped after about three minutes of discussion. Our defendant  was represented by a public defender, who tried to convince us she was not an accomplice because she chickened out and left the scene once the crime was underway. Personally, I think such occurrences should be decided on a case-by-case basis, but the law is written to make it nearly impossible to “opt out” of a crime already in progress, so a jury has very little latitude in deciding whether or not someone is an accessory (accomplice). In our state, the presiding juror has no real authority, and doesn’t function like the jury foreman in some states. In our case, I think the public defender was too optimistic about his chances of convincing the jury that the defendant wasn’t an accessory. She should have pled guilty and asked for leniency, based on cooperating with the police. The system is definitely rigged.

         

        • #414427
          soryang
          Participant
          • Total Posts: 1,543

          …because the jerk clerk of court wouldn’t excuse me from jury duty. I told them i was a former defense attorney and would never be allowed on a jury by a prosecutor. They wouldn’t excuse me, even after i arrived and explained my experience in this particular venue. they forced me in line with the others to await the venire call outside the court in the hallway with others. Then the prosecutor walked by and saw me. She rushes into the courtroom. One minute later, she says to me, the judge says you don’t even need to come into the court room. I replied tell the judge, thanks for making me drive 1000 miles for nothing. Whoever the defendant was would have a gotten a fair trial with me or they’d get a hung jury. I was never summoned to jury duty again, that was about fifteen years ago.

          I brought a motion to suppress in every case that had a colorable set of facts raising the issue. Only won one.

          Just looked at my state statistics. Only 1.5 percent of felony cases went to jury trial during 2018 and 2019. Out of those jury trials only one out of three cases resulted in an acquittal.

    • #414496
      Mr. Mickeys Mom
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 6,314

      I wonder if the law includes a legal review of how functional the system of jury by trial is? It is a constitutionally guaranteed process @soryang.


      @hasslecat
      , I have been called for jury duty in FL and TX and the state in which we live – PA. I found that if I was honest about my bias of some law, I was eliminated. And I admit relieved me, as I got out of serving duty… BUT was held to serve on another case in that court. In all three states, it turned out that the least likely to be informed humans were chosen over the harshest cases. This is a common joke, as is our legal system’s guarantee of a “jury of your peers”.

      Hell, no... I'm not giving up...

      • #414501
        retired liberal
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 4,330

        “… it turned out that the least likely to be informed humans were chosen over the harshest cases.”
        In other words the lowest common denominator, the least knowledgeable, are chosen for jury duty. No wonder our prisons are full.

        We are an arrogant species, believing our fantasy based "facts" are better than the other person's fake facts.
        If you are wrong, it will be because you are not cynical enough.
        The older we get, the less "Life in Prison" is a deterrent.
        Always wear a proper mask when out and about. The life you save could be both yours and mine.

      • #414502
        HassleCat
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 7,452

        Yes, that’s an interesting term. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with intelligence or sanity or deliberative ability. It comes to us from the English and their notions of class. It assures upper class people they will have a jury composed of other upper class people. This was necessary to avoid the situation where a jury of peasants might take out their class frustrations on a lord or lady.

      • #414599
        soryang
        Participant
        • Total Posts: 1,543

        @mrmickeysmom

        viewed from that perspective, their are institutional drives to increase “efficiency” and provide alternatives to trials which are expensive.  The simplest efficiency is the plea bargain.  Ostensibly one gets consideration or leniency on sentencing for waiving your right to trial and pleading guilty or nolo in some cases.   When I say there are judges who punish defendants for insisting on their right to jury trial to force the state to its burden of proof, i mean that the two out of three who are found guilty at jury trial might be given an abnormally severe sentence beyond a reasonable sentence that they otherwise would have received but for the judges ire at having to conduct a trial (and spend state budget monies).   Some judges do this, some don’t.   Local attorneys who work the circuit know who these “hanging” judges are.  It’s a secret best kept tactfully, because everyone knows that it is unethical for judges to do this, but they are pretty much free to act with impunity.   How do you prove judges are doing this?  If they stay within the high range on the sentencing guidelines there is nothing that can be done.   I think just about everyone is aware how draconian the US criminal penalties are compared to other countries.     There are other alternatives or variations on plea bargains, there are pre-trial diversion programs, drug court etc.   These generally are only available for first time offenders.   The withholding of adjudication is a nice option, with expungement of the criminal record if conditions of probation are met.

        The steep sentences for many crimes are such, that recidivist offenders who don’t have the option of probation after a plea or a short term in jail rather than a lengthy prison sentence are going to demand jury trial anyway.    These people get slammed on sentencing.     Sometimes i wonder if I could get thru a period of probation successfully, the conditions can be onerous.    While it is obviously better than jail or prison confinement, it is often longer than a prison or jail term one might receive as an alternative.    One judge hilariously referred to it as “the delayed entry program.”   I won’t even get started on the racial and ethnic numbers of people subjected to this system.    Then it seems as if republican lawmakers continuously cut the budget for judicial administration, public defenders  etc. increasing the economic pressure to be “efficient.”   I think the percentage of jury trials drops with the budget allocation.

        I forgot to mention the “Alford plea.”   This is where you plead guilty even though you don’t admit guilt because you don’t like your chances at trial and the possibility of going to jail or prison even though one insists on their innocence.

        My comments are not intended as legal advice.  I don’t practice law and haven’t been in a courtroom for fifteen years.   It is a political statement reflecting my opinion of the penal system in the United States.   In my state it is usually the bar that tries to take a new look at the system and come up with some “reforms” every ten or twenty years.    As the prison population goes up my opinion of it hasn’t changed.

    • #414602
      B Calm
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 1,115

      a guy suing Purdue University.  He worked at the power house for the university and supposedly the power house elevator made a sudden drop and the ex employee in the elevator hurt his back.  After a week long trial with expert witnesses from Montgomery Elevator company explaining how their elevator is designed for this never to happen the guy lost his case!

      The week following the trial I took my family on vacation.  The first stop on vacation was in Springfield, Missouri to visit the huge Bass Pro Store.  We were on their glass elevator going up to the second floor and our elevator got stuck between floors.  After about and hour they used a crow bar to open the door and dropped down a step ladder so we could climb out.

      After that, I always wondered if this was some kind of punishment for not believing the guy who was suing Purdue?

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