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sastark
02-09-2011, 8:19 AM
Yesterday, I had to go down to Orange County Superior Court as a potential juror on a criminal case. I've been on one jury before (also criminal), so I was somewhat familiar with the process. I was one of the first 12 called to sit in the jury box. Once we were seated, there was a list of questions the judge asked us to answer. Some of it was pretty basic: Age, Marital Status/Number of Children, Education, Occupation, Have I had any bad experiences with Law Enforcement/Courts/Jury Service, etc. However, one question which was asked was "Do you own any weapons or firearms?" I answered truthfully ("I do own firearms."), but I was wondering: is that proper? Can potential jurors be asked if they own firearms? If it matters: the case was a child molestation/other-nasty-crimes-against-children-type of case and there was no indication that firearms charges would be part of the case.

I was excused from jury duty by the defense attorney. I assume it was because when asked if there was any thing more the court should know about me that would affect my service as a juror I truthfully answered that I would have a very difficult time looking at the types of evidence that would be presented in the case. But, I was also the only one to answer that "I do own firearms" of about 20+ potential jurors (which was really interesting and sad to me). I was also the only one that had a Master's Degree (not sure if that mattered), and I also have young children.

So, is it normal for potential jurors to be asked if they own firearms? Is it legal to ask that? On the case that I served as a juror before, I do not remember being asked that (the previous jury duty was in Sacramento County many years ago).

I open carry
02-09-2011, 8:41 AM
A smart person(Masters), and young kids is what got you kicked.

the Defense does not want you on the jury. You would never vote for them once any pic got shown.

The judge can ask any question he/she wants to that they think may sway your decision one way or the other.

Rhythm of Life
02-09-2011, 8:49 AM
Just about everyone of my college professors never serves jury duty, they all get asked to leave once they find out their education. Smart minds are harder to mold.

kln5
02-09-2011, 8:52 AM
yes the masters degree and young children is what got you the boot.
I was once asked in a Domestic violence case if we liked or participated in contact sports. They already picked 12 before they got to me but I thought it was an interesting question. One potential juror even asked the defense attorney about it but he got shrugged off.

RandyD
02-09-2011, 8:59 AM
I am an attorney and I have done about 12 jury trials. In a general sense, attorneys want jurors they can persuade, and the more educated or analytical a juror is, the belief is they are more likely to come to their own conclusion rather than the one we want them to accept. One of the attorneys that trained me in jury selection always sought to excuse engineers and asians. He believed they were more analytical.

snobord99
02-09-2011, 9:08 AM
I am an attorney and I have done about 12 jury trials. In a general sense, attorneys want jurors they can persuade, and the more educated or analytical a juror is, the belief is they are more likely to come to their own conclusion rather than the one we want them to accept. One of the attorneys that trained me in jury selection always sought to excuse engineers and asians. He believed they were more analytical.

:rofl2:

The judge can ask you whatever he wants. If I were the defense attorney, I probably would have booted you just for the fact that you have young kids if it was a 288 case.

ancora
02-09-2011, 9:20 AM
Sure fire way to get excused: when asked if you have any friends that are lawyers, you respond with : Lawyers have friends? Worked for me.

ojisan
02-09-2011, 9:54 AM
I ended up on a jury for robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, attempted murder.
As I am a Violent Crime Victim, I was sure I would be thrown off the jury when the questions started.
None of the jurors were asked if they were a VCV.
After the attornies were done with their questions, the Judge then asked all jurors to raise their hands if they were a VCV.
I was very surprised, over half the jurors raised ther hands.
We were then asked if we could judge the case on its own facts, without prejudice.
Everyone said they could, and we all stayed on the jury.

The courts are desperate for quality jurors.

swat
02-09-2011, 10:04 AM
I am a retired LEO and I get called for jury duty every 12 months or so. Obviously I don't get selected, but at the last one the defense attorney asked if anyone belonged to the NRA. I told them yes and was eliminated during the first round.

dantodd
02-09-2011, 10:39 AM
I was picked as a juror. (admittedly it was late in the process and most peremptory excuses were used up)

It was a pretty big case and we had a 100 or so question questionnaire to fill out. I have a college education, worked in the technology industry, have small kids etc. etc.

Was asked about NRA membership, firearm ownership, civil liberties group ties (which I disclosed CGF as) etc.

Be honest and don't try to get on or off the jury. The defendant deserves a fair jury.

scarville
02-09-2011, 11:22 AM
Correlation may not be causation but I an engineer and I am alway dismissed. About two or three or summons ago I smiled and chuckled a bit to myself after being dismissed and the judge asked what I thought was so funny. I told him that I am an engineer, I am always dismissed and, after the ninth or tenth time, what can I do but find some humor in it.

I don't believe any more that attorneys or judges give a rat's fanny about a fair jury; they want a pliable jury.

magsnubby
02-09-2011, 11:24 AM
Smart minds are harder to mold.

That about says it all.

Wherryj
02-09-2011, 12:09 PM
A smart person(Masters), and young kids is what got you kicked.

the Defense does not want you on the jury. You would never vote for them once any pic got shown.

The judge can ask any question he/she wants to that they think may sway your decision one way or the other.

That's strange. I often get called (nearly every year) and almost always they try to impanel me-and I have a doctorate.

ZombieTactics
02-09-2011, 12:15 PM
The whole process disgusts me every time I go through it. The idea that somehow a "fair trial" can only been had if the attorneys are allowed to "cross-cherry-pick" juries is an offense to anyone with a mind uncorrupted by law school.

SteveMartin
02-09-2011, 12:25 PM
Correlation may not be causation but I an engineer and I am alway dismissed. About two or three or summons ago I smiled and chuckled a bit to myself after being dismissed and the judge asked what I thought was so funny. I told him that I am an engineer, I am always dismissed and, after the ninth or tenth time, what can I do but find some humor in it.

I don't believe any more that attorneys or judges give a rat's fanny about a fair jury; they want a pliable jury.


I'm an engineer and have been on 2 jury trials (1 criminal, 1 civil). Each of them lasted 6 weeks+. The civil trial was last year, and the murder trial was 24 years ago. I have been in the courtroom as part of a jury in the intervening times, but never got seated those times.

ohsmily
02-09-2011, 12:31 PM
A smart person(Masters),
the Defense does not want you on the jury.

Uh, on what are you basing this opinion? As a defense attorney, all things being equal, I want the most educated and intelligent people on my jury (in most cases). Prosecutors often rely on people's biases against defendants and emotional reactions to the crime alleged. I want someone who will be analytical and critically evaluate the evidence (in most cases) and not be swayed by the emotional pleas of the prosecutor to throw the "bad guy in jail."

That's strange. I often get called (nearly every year) and almost always they try to impanel me-and I have a doctorate.

Exactly.

ohsmily
02-09-2011, 12:35 PM
The whole process disgusts me every time I go through it. The idea that somehow a "fair trial" can only been had if the attorneys are allowed to "cross-cherry-pick" juries is an offense to anyone with a mind uncorrupted by law school.

Why is it an offense to you? Shall we not be able to voir dire jurors? Would you propose we not ask any questions and run the risk of having someone who is friends with and/or knows the victim or defendant? Or in a civil jury, have a juror who works for the company being sued? I don't understand why voir dire, peremptory challenges or challenges for cause would offend you? I guess I am corrupted....

robcoe
02-09-2011, 12:43 PM
Correlation may not be causation but I an engineer and I am alway dismissed. About two or three or summons ago I smiled and chuckled a bit to myself after being dismissed and the judge asked what I thought was so funny. I told him that I am an engineer, I am always dismissed and, after the ninth or tenth time, what can I do but find some humor in it.

I don't believe any more that attorneys or judges give a rat's fanny about a fair jury; they want a pliable jury.

I have had basically the same experience, I think it's because engineers analyze data for a living, so we actually think about what we are being told rather than just accept it as fact. Lawyers hate that.

chris12
02-09-2011, 12:54 PM
I don't understand why voir dire, peremptory challenges or challenges for cause would offend you?

Not that I was who this was directed at but, I understand and agree with challenges for cause, it is just the peremptory challenges that seem unnecessary. I would guess (no data to back that up) that after both sides use their peremptory challenges the leftovers have statistically similar views to those that were dismissed.

Hopalong
02-09-2011, 12:54 PM
Let's face it, lawyers on both sides want jurors that they think can be easily manipulated.

So as the previous poster states, if you seem to be able to examine evidence and come to your own conclusions.

They don't want you.

Kind of ironic, wouldn't you say?

I had an apprentice once who said, "my worst fear is to be in front of a jury of my peers"

ohsmily
02-09-2011, 1:09 PM
Let's face it, lawyers on both sides want jurors that they think can be easily manipulated.

So as the previous poster states, if you seem to be able to examine evidence and come to your own conclusions.

They don't want you.

Kind of ironic, wouldn't you say?

I had an apprentice once who said, "my worst fear is to be in front of a jury of my peers"

I don't find that to be true at all. The People (prosecutor) bears the burden in a criminal case. If they don't prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, the defense has to do nothing. While every case is different, I generally want people on the jury who can analyze the People's evidence and see the holes and come to the conclusion that there are reasonable explanations, even if unlikely, that the prosecutor has not eliminated in their mind and thus "not guilty." I only need one of these thinking people on my jury to hang it up. The more the better.

N6ATF
02-09-2011, 2:24 PM
I was 18 or 19 when I was first sworn for a criminal jury, 2 or 3 years after graduating high school. It went to mistrial due to a witness not being available. When we chatted with both sides' lawyers afterward, they asked who would have been elected jury foreperson, and the consensus was me. I was probably the youngest there, with an age range all the way up to seniors. Not sure what that says about the state of the jury system. LOL

Also, the consensus was that charges should not have been brought against the defendant, rather the "victim" - as the defendant was only defending against blood-drawing violence from the "victim". Personally, as they had a young daughter, I would have preferred the "victim" get deferred adjudication and mandatory anger management. The ADA was a rookie lawyer/former cop, and the public defender (kept secret until we were discharged) was a veteran.

racer98765
02-09-2011, 3:04 PM
I've been called to Jury Duty once and it was for a murder. I was asked the standard questions including profession and "Do you own firearms?". I answered engineer and yes I own a firearm, but was not questioned any further and selected to be on the jury. My memory is a little fuzy but I believe they also asked if you are a member to any "political activist groups" or something similiar. I answered I wasn't a member but align myself with 2nd amendment enthusiast groups. Even answering their question with that response I was still selected to be on the jury. I guess it really just depends on the legal counsel for each side what criteria they are looking for that will make it the easiest to "prove" what their case is based on.

RandyD
02-09-2011, 3:18 PM
I should qualify that my jury trials were all civil cases and not criminal cases. I can understand that some case a criminal defense attorney would want intelligent jurors. The jury selection process can be very involved. There are people who market themselves as experts in assisting trial attorneys in selecting a jury. In my opinion, the questions presented to jurors are too intrusive into their private affairs. There is a lot that can be said about this process, but generally it does result in fairness to both sides.

scarville
02-09-2011, 3:22 PM
Why is it an offense to you? Shall we not be able to voir dire jurors? Would you propose we not ask any questions and run the risk of having someone who is friends with and/or knows the victim or defendant? Or in a civil jury, have a juror who works for the company being sued? I don't understand why voir dire, peremptory challenges or challenges for cause would offend you? I guess I am corrupted....
If all the lawyers asked was my name, place of residence, am I a citizen, do I know anyone involved in the case or do I have a monetary interest in the outcome I wouldn't be bothered at all. Voir Dire is much more than that.

Some examples of the kind of stuff lawyers want to know about you:

http://jurylaw.typepad.com/Conrad_Black_jury_questionnaire.pdf
http://jurylaw.typepad.com/John_Ford_questionnaire.pdf

safewaysecurity
02-09-2011, 3:36 PM
I'm probably a prosecutor's worse nightmare in a city who's laws I don't agree with. If I didn't think the defendant hurt anyone then I would probably purposefully hang the jury and let the guy go. We have the right to vote our conscience and hang the jury if we disagree with the law.

dantodd
02-09-2011, 3:52 PM
I'm an engineer and have been on 2 jury trials (1 criminal, 1 civil). Each of them lasted 6 weeks+. The civil trial was last year, and the murder trial was 24 years ago. I have been in the courtroom as part of a jury in the intervening times, but never got seated those times.

Maybe they just wanted a good banjo player for long trials.

dantodd
02-09-2011, 3:57 PM
Uh, on what are you basing this opinion? As a defense attorney, all things being equal, I want the most educated and intelligent people on my jury (in most cases).

If you have the facts on your side, you want an intelligent and critical jury. If the facts are not on your side, go for soccer moms and play to their emotions.

Hopalong
02-09-2011, 4:04 PM
I don't find that to be true at all. The People (prosecutor) bears the burden in a criminal case. If they don't prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, the defense has to do nothing. While every case is different, I generally want people on the jury who can analyze the People's evidence and see the holes and come to the conclusion that there are reasonable explanations, even if unlikely, that the prosecutor has not eliminated in their mind and thus "not guilty." I only need one of these thinking people on my jury to hang it up. The more the better.
I guess that's a pretty good spin from a criminal defense attorney.

I'm not a lawyer, but your argument doesn't address the fact that most trials are not criminal, are not beyond a reasonable doubt, and don't even have to be unanimous.

dwtt
02-09-2011, 4:05 PM
One of the attorneys that trained me in jury selection always sought to excuse engineers and asians. He believed they were more analytical.

That explains why I never got chosen for the jury. For all those years, I thought they just didn't like me.

forgiven
02-09-2011, 4:54 PM
Been on many trials and thrown off even more. No rhyme or reason is my opinion.

Uriah02
02-09-2011, 5:07 PM
One of the attorneys that trained me in jury selection always sought to excuse engineers and asians. He believed they were more analytical.

Well I guess I won't ever get to serve... I am asian and an analyst by trade...

Fjold
02-09-2011, 5:12 PM
I was on a jury with a theology professor from CSUB once. How any lawyer could let him on a jury amazed me. We were in deliberations for two days because he didn't want to vote on it without discussing our perceptions of the meanings of everything that was said in the courtroom.

SteveMartin
02-09-2011, 5:30 PM
Maybe they just wanted a good banjo player for long trials.

No, it was the lunchtime cat juggling that sealed the deal.

:D

scarville
02-09-2011, 5:38 PM
I'm an engineer and have been on 2 jury trials (1 criminal, 1 civil). Each of them lasted 6 weeks+. The civil trial was last year, and the murder trial was 24 years ago. I have been in the courtroom as part of a jury in the intervening times, but never got seated those times.
Of course I know the plural of "anecdote" is not "data" and I don't have any source for actual numbers. However, I am curious if people in certain professions are seated as jurors at a rate significantly less or greater than the percentage of the population they represent.

liberty_head
02-09-2011, 10:05 PM
If, during a jury selection process in California, I were asked by an attorney or judge if I owned firearms, my first inclination would be to respectfully decline to answer. Reasoning would be that it's personal information which is not the court's legitimate business because there's no legal requirement to register firearms in California. Of course, declining to answer may not be well received; perhaps an attorney can comment on that aspect.

Nessal
02-09-2011, 10:19 PM
I am an attorney and I have done about 12 jury trials. In a general sense, attorneys want jurors they can persuade, and the more educated or analytical a juror is, the belief is they are more likely to come to their own conclusion rather than the one we want them to accept. One of the attorneys that trained me in jury selection always sought to excuse engineers and asians. He believed they were more analytical.

Lol you should come to where I work.

fiddletown
02-09-2011, 10:43 PM
...I don't believe any more that attorneys or judges give a rat's fanny about a fair jury; they want a pliable jury. ...The idea that somehow a "fair trial" can only been had if the attorneys are allowed to "cross-cherry-pick" juries is an offense to anyone with a mind uncorrupted by law school.... Judges care about impartial juries, the the lawyers don't really get to "cherry pick" a jury. Here's how it works:

Under the Constitution (the 6th Amendment), one is entitled to an impartial jury.

In the jury selection process, each side gets a set number of peremptory challenges and can thereby excuse a limited number of prospective jurors without stating a cause. A lawyer owes an absolute duty of loyalty to his client. He is required to exercise his professional judgment in the best interests of his client. So he will use his peremptory challenges to exclude those people from the jury who he, in the exercise of his professional judgment, believes will be least receptive to his client, his client's position, the witnesses his client might be offering and/or his client's legal arguments. At the same time he will need to use his peremptory challenges to exclude those people from the jury who he, in the exercise of his professional judgment, believes will be most receptive to his client's opponent's position, etc.

But he has only a limited number of peremptory challenges. And the other side will be doing exactly the same thing.

So the result is that if each side has, say, ten peremptory challenges, the lawyer on each side will excuse without cause the ten possible jurors he has decided will be least desirable from his particular perspective. If there are 50 jurors in the jury pool, the jury will then consist of persons from the remaining group of 30, unless one side or the other can convince the judge of actual bias.

The result of the process is probably going to be the most impartial jury available out of that jury pool of 50 people.

Texas Boy
02-09-2011, 10:45 PM
If, during a jury selection process in California, I were asked by an attorney or judge if I owned firearms, my first inclination would be to respectfully decline to answer. Reasoning would be that it's personal information which is not the court's legitimate business because there's no legal requirement to register firearms in California. Of course, declining to answer may not be well received; perhaps an attorney can comment on that aspect.

Excellent question. As a potential juror, what privacy rights do you have? What 5A rights do you have? Does the 5th even come into play here, because technically you are not under suspicion of any crime.

HisDivineShadow
02-09-2011, 11:22 PM
I've never made it all the way through jury selection. I'm self-employed, have a B.Science in Economics, I went to law school, and I am now getting my MBA, so I doubt I will ever get on a jury.:o

Ron-Solo
02-09-2011, 11:40 PM
I'm probably a prosecutor's worse nightmare in a city who's laws I don't agree with. If I didn't think the defendant hurt anyone then I would probably purposefully hang the jury and let the guy go. We have the right to vote our conscience and hang the jury if we disagree with the law.

Seriously? You are supposed to follow the law, and be fair and impartial, judging the case based on the evidence presented.

Attitudes like yours is what set OJ free to hunt for the real killers on the golf courses of the nation. That is, until his little mistake in Nevada. Remember, what happens in Vedas, stays in Vegas!

Ron-Solo
02-09-2011, 11:48 PM
Uh, on what are you basing this opinion? As a defense attorney, all things being equal, I want the most educated and intelligent people on my jury (in most cases). Prosecutors often rely on people's biases against defendants and emotional reactions to the crime alleged. I want someone who will be analytical and critically evaluate the evidence (in most cases) and not be swayed by the emotional pleas of the prosecutor to throw the "bad guy in jail."



Exactly.

A serious question: Why don't retired cops get selected very often and would you select one for a criminal jury? We are more likely to understand the evidence presented and we will know when LE is trying to blow smoke up our _____ . The defendant might be a dirtbag, but he's still entitled to a fair jury. I've seen cops make mistakes, and I (like most I know) won't tolerate dishonesty by LE or railroading someone who didn't do it, just because he might have done it another time, or in the future.

I'm retiring next month and would love to be on a jury. I just don't want to sit for hours in the assembly room. I've spent enough time sitting around courtrooms waiting to testify.

Regard,

Ron

wildhawker
02-09-2011, 11:58 PM
The defendant might be a dirtbag, but he's still entitled to a fail jury.

Best. Typo. Ever. :D

Danz la Nuit
02-10-2011, 12:26 AM
http://fija.org/

Ron-Solo
02-10-2011, 1:42 AM
Best. Typo. Ever. :D

My eyes aren't what they used to be. I sincerely meant "fair" jury.

Fay BUddha
02-10-2011, 5:59 AM
I just went a few weeks ago. I forgot that they installed checkpoint charlie at the front doors, so I was pissed off about the metal detectors and xray machines. The very first cattle call and my number was up. I was given a questionnaire to fill out and then was allowed to go home for the week.

Right on that thing I put on it that I liked to shoot guns, wasnt kicked out for that. Thoughts about attorneys ... I put that they were amoral sharks, wasnt kicked for that. Can I be impartial ... NO then put put an explanation about why and I still was not kicked (had stuff about witnessing my parents restaurant being robbed at knife point gangbangers shooting at each other in the parking lot). Foxtrot, I was the 3rd one in the box and it took 2 days of questioning for me to be dismissed.

ALSystems
02-10-2011, 9:02 AM
I am an attorney and I have done about 12 jury trials. In a general sense, attorneys want jurors they can persuade, and the more educated or analytical a juror is, the belief is they are more likely to come to their own conclusion rather than the one we want them to accept. One of the attorneys that trained me in jury selection always sought to excuse engineers and asians. He believed they were more analytical.
I guess computer programmers fall in the same category as engineers. :TFH:

pgg
02-10-2011, 9:05 AM
Uh, on what are you basing this opinion? As a defense attorney, all things being equal, I want the most educated and intelligent people on my jury (in most cases). Prosecutors often rely on people's biases against defendants and emotional reactions to the crime alleged. I want someone who will be analytical and critically evaluate the evidence (in most cases) and not be swayed by the emotional pleas of the prosecutor to throw the "bad guy in jail."

I would imagine that as a defense attorney
- if your client is guilty, you want dumb uneducated, easily manipulated jurors
- if your client is not guilty, you want the smartest people on earth

Conversely, the prosecutor is likely to want
- dumb, uneducated, easily manipulated jurors if the evidence is weak
- smart people if the evidence is strong

Seems that the odds favor at least ONE of the lawyers involved will want morons on the jury.

geeknow
02-10-2011, 9:16 AM
[QUOTE=ohsmily;5783359]Why is it an offense to you? QUOTE]

Rather than rise to your bait, I will only state this. It offends because it no longer becomes a jury of your peers. It becomes a jury of people narrowly selected for their perceived ability to provide the answer that either/or attorney prefers. That's not 'just'. That is manipulating the system, and it's not OK.

pgg
02-10-2011, 9:16 AM
Seriously? You are supposed to follow the law, and be fair and impartial, judging the case based on the evidence presented.

Attitudes like yours is what set OJ free to hunt for the real killers on the golf courses of the nation. That is, until his little mistake in Nevada. Remember, what happens in Vedas, stays in Vegas!

Oh for **** sake ... :rolleyes:

OJ was charged with murder. That's a little different than, say, someone charged with a felony because their 10-round AR magazine was defective and he accidentally jammed 11 rounds into it before loading it into his unconstitutionally-crippled not-an-assault-weapon.

The whole point of juries in the first place is to put a check on the state's power to unjustly prosecute and crush citizens for things that perhaps shouldn't even be crimes or prosecuted in the first place.

If factual analysis of the law and evidence was the idealized goal, we'd have panels of professional highly-trained state-employed legal-expert "juries" not ordinary citizens.

doubledgarage
02-10-2011, 9:21 AM
I am an attorney and I have done about 12 jury trials. In a general sense, attorneys want jurors they can persuade, and the more educated or analytical a juror is, the belief is they are more likely to come to their own conclusion rather than the one we want them to accept. One of the attorneys that trained me in jury selection always sought to excuse engineers and asians. He believed they were more analytical.

f'ing racist!

my parents did not come over here from asia to be excused from the jury!!

RandyD
02-10-2011, 9:37 AM
f'ing racist!

Nice language.

doubledgarage
02-10-2011, 9:40 AM
Nice language.

but thanks for the tip. i'll tell them i'm asian (duh), bachelors of science in computer science, network engineer, and i <3 guns.

snobord99
02-10-2011, 9:50 AM
but thanks for the tip. i'll tell them i'm asian (duh), bachelors of science in computer science, network engineer, and i <3 guns.

In all fairness, he didn't say that he eliminated jurors based on the fact that they're Asian (something I hope he knows is actually one of the few not-so-legal reasons to eliminate a juror); what he said is that the guy that trained him did it. You could read that as either saying "I know a guy that does it" or you could read it as "I like using that as my excuse for being racist when empaneling a jury (if not in life in general)." I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume the former.

As an APA lawyer, I can tell you that the profession (at least in Southern California) is quite open-minded and open to minorities; however, there is still quite a bit of an old-boy-network thing going on in the profession. It's not necessarily because the attorneys are racist; it's just kind of the social reality we currently live in where people of a common ethnic background tend to know and have more in common with people of a common ethnic background.

doubledgarage
02-10-2011, 9:52 AM
In all fairness, he didn't say that he eliminated jurors based on the fact that they're Asian (something I hope he knows is actually one of the few not-so-legal reasons to eliminate a juror); what he said is that the guy that trained him did it. You could read that as either saying "I know a guy that does it" or you could read it as "I like using that as my excuse for being racist when empaneling a jury (if not in life in general)." I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume the former.

As an APA lawyer, I can tell you that the profession (at least in Southern California) is quite open-minded and open to minorities; however, there is still quite a bit of an old-boy-network thing going on in the profession. It's not necessarily because the attorneys are racist; it's just kind of the social reality we currently live in where people of a common ethnic background tend to know and have more in common with people of a common ethnic background.

I get it (seriously). When making those comments, I was being facetious/sarcastic.

geeknow
02-10-2011, 9:53 AM
I'm retiring next month and would love to be on a jury.

Maybe 'sign up', or whatever you do to signal an interest in a grand jury...? That might be a good option for you, rather than 'wait and see if you're picked'.

...and more importantly...congratulations on your coming retirement. I know you've spent 30+ plus years keeping your city safe. From reading your (prolific..:D) posts, I believe you to be one of 'the good ones' that ought to be celebrated a bit more.

best, and thanks.

fiddletown
02-10-2011, 10:16 AM
... it no longer becomes a jury of your peers. It becomes a jury of people narrowly selected for their perceived ability to provide the answer that either/or attorney prefers. That's not 'just'. That is manipulating the system, and it's not OK.Man have you got that all wrong.

[1] Nothing in the law entitles you to a jury of your peers, i. e., people belonging to the same societal group, especially based on age or status, as you. You are entitled to an impartial jury.

[2] The jury is not "narrowly selected." Each side may excuse a limited number of prospective jurors it least likes, and generally prospective jurors who may be most partial to one side's arguments will be excused by the other side. So in end, the jury winds up coming from the group of prospective jurors most acceptable to both sides, i. e., probably the closest to impartial available under the circumstances.

[3] It's very fashionable to denigrate the jury system and process wthout really understanding it.

[4] Imagine that you are a lawyer representing one side at a jury trial. You have an obligation under the rules of professional responsibility of absolute loyalty to your client and to zealously, within the rules, represent his interests; and you have the duty to use your best professional judgment and skill to achieve the best result you can, within the rules, for your client. Now, who are you going to want to excuse from the jury (hint: if you're a good lawyer, it really depends on what the case is, what the evidence is and what your arguments, and those of the other side, will be)?

[5] And there's also a lawyer on the other side with exactly the same set of obligations to his(or her) client.

[6] And if you're ever on trial, what will you expect from your lawyer?

Fate
02-10-2011, 10:21 AM
In my opinion, the questions presented to jurors are too intrusive into their private affairs.

I've always wondered...can you legally refuse to answer/plead the 5th for any questions?

snobord99
02-10-2011, 10:24 AM
I get it (seriously). When making those comments, I was being facetious/sarcastic.

Haha. I see. It's so hard to tell over the internet especially when I can easily see someone being offended by what (s)he said. Not me personally, but people are so sensitive about racial comments in this country...

Anyways...back on topic...

snobord99
02-10-2011, 10:38 AM
Oh for **** sake ... :rolleyes:

OJ was charged with murder. That's a little different than, say, someone charged with a felony because their 10-round AR magazine was defective and he accidentally jammed 11 rounds into it before loading it into his unconstitutionally-crippled not-an-assault-weapon.

The whole point of juries in the first place is to put a check on the state's power to unjustly prosecute and crush citizens for things that perhaps shouldn't even be crimes or prosecuted in the first place.

If factual analysis of the law and evidence was the idealized goal, we'd have panels of professional highly-trained state-employed legal-expert "juries" not ordinary citizens.

Wow, that point went right over your head.

The point is, when people start deciding what's right and wrong on their own, then the system can break down. If everyone decides on their own what is and isn't right, we no longer have one set of laws; rather, we'll have one set of laws for every individual and whether you're guilty just depends on which 12 sets of laws you happen to get to sit on that panel. We start having juries composed of people whose own law says "that murder was OK because it was a black man that killed a white woman and we need to get the white man back for Rodney King." Not to start a race war here, but trust me, that's how OJ got away with murder.

fiddletown
02-10-2011, 11:10 AM
...when people start deciding what's right and wrong on their own, then the system can break down. If everyone decides on their own what is and isn't right, we no longer have one set of laws;...Some may look on jury nullification as a check on government by permitting a jury to acquit someone who might be considered a victim of government excess. But that during some of the "bad old days" of the post Reconstruction South and some of the early days of the Civil Rights Movement, it appears that juries regularly practiced nullification to let off various murders of Blacks, participants in lynch mobs and the like. We've certainly seen perversion of jury nullification -- at times when no White jury would convict a White man of a crime against a Black (or Native American or Asian or Hispanic) no matter what the law or the facts were.

jnojr
02-10-2011, 11:41 AM
The whole process disgusts me every time I go through it. The idea that somehow a "fair trial" can only been had if the attorneys are allowed to "cross-cherry-pick" juries is an offense to anyone with a mind uncorrupted by law school.

What's more disgusting is the idea that one might need years of legal education and training to "understand" the law.

"Did the defendant cause any tort or injury to another?" is the only question that should matter. If no, end of story. If yes, move on to the redress phase. When they make their victim whole, they may rejoin society. Since a murderer or rapist may never make their victim whole, they go to prison for life. If they stole money or property they cannot replace, they go to prison for life. If they injured another physically, then I can see having some procedure to assign a dollar amount to that injury, and if/when they pay that amount, they may rejoin society. Otherwise... life in prison.

Do that, and we'll run out of criminals pretty quickly.

doubledgarage
02-10-2011, 11:56 AM
Haha. I see. It's so hard to tell over the internet especially when I can easily see someone being offended by what (s)he said. Not me personally, but people are so sensitive about racial comments in this country...

Anyways...back on topic...

In some ways, that "racially insensitive comment" was also a complement to Asians. :D

amd64
02-10-2011, 12:55 PM
Just about everyone of my college professors never serves jury duty, they all get asked to leave once they find out their education. Smart minds are harder to mold.

+1, based on observations of the jury selection panels I've been through.

fiddletown
02-10-2011, 5:30 PM
What's more disgusting is the idea that one might need years of legal education and training to "understand" the law....Then I guess we can infer that if you ever have any legal problems, you'll happily forgo educated counsel and attend to matters yourself. Some of my colleagues have made fortunes sorting out messes for folks who didn't know what they didn't know, and thought they knew what they were doing.

...Do that, and we'll run out of criminals pretty quickly. Let us all know when you get the legal system sorted out along the lines you describe. In the meantime, we'll just have to muddle along with what we have.

...The whole point of juries in the first place is to put a check on the state's power to unjustly prosecute and crush citizens for things that perhaps shouldn't even be crimes or prosecuted in the first place....No, actually the whole point of a jury is to decide what happened when the facts are in dispute. Juries have been around for a long time, going back to even before our republic was founded. And juries are used in civil as well as criminal matters -- to decide the facts.

stix213
02-10-2011, 5:44 PM
The "lawyers all want jurors who are ..." comments are certainly off. Obviously different lawyers look for different things in their jurors, and probably base some of their decisions on past experience and others on what would work for or against this specific defendant.

Saying all lawyers want dumb jurors, or want geniuses, etc, implies there is a half page check list they all follow together, which isn't the case.

masameet
02-10-2011, 7:04 PM
I've always wondered...can you legally refuse to answer/plead the 5th for any questions?

In my previous voir dire experience the judge explained why juries are an important and integral part of the American legal system and how it is our right and duty as American citizens to serve as jurors. Then after asking a particular potential juror to stand up, he said to that man specifically: You did not fill out the juror questionnaire. So I'm going to ask you these questions right now.

scarville
02-10-2011, 9:52 PM
I guess computer programmers fall in the same category as engineers. :TFH:
Not all of them...

Fate
02-10-2011, 10:44 PM
In my previous voir dire experience the judge explained why juries are an important and integral part of the American legal system and how it is our right and duty as American citizens to serve as jurors. Then after asking a particular potential juror to stand up, he said to that man specifically: You did not fill out the juror questionnaire. So I'm going to ask you these questions right now.

Ok, so your judge used the bully pulpit to preach and then bullied the juror into answering. It still doesn't answer my question. If you refused to answer the questions, by what legal justification can a judge compel you to answer if you stick to your guns and plead the 5th?

fiddletown
02-10-2011, 11:06 PM
...If you refused to answer the questions, by what legal justification can a judge compel you to answer if you stick to your guns and plead the 5th?(1) The 5th Amendment protects you only from being compelled to give evidence against yourself in connection with a possible crime. It reads in pertinent part, "No person shall ...be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself...."

(2) So I suspect that if someone absolutely refused to answer questions during voire dire, the judge could order him to show cause why he should not be held in civil contempt of court and fined.

Trojan Bayonet
02-10-2011, 11:37 PM
Most lawyers do not want me on a jury. In fact, I come off as someone who isn't very malleable because a) I have advanced degrees b) I work in law enforcement c) I work in a joint d) I've been told that I have a "strident" personality.

Most lawyers probably conclude from those snippets that I am very analytical, see through "smoke screens", "read" people through their statements and body language in detail, and I take a very hard line against what I perceive to be "bovine scatology".

masameet
02-10-2011, 11:54 PM
... If you refused to answer the questions, by what legal justification can a judge compel you to answer if you stick to your guns and plead the 5th?

Oh, if I recall correctly, the guy didn't refuse to answer. He just wasn't all that keen about looking through the paperwork we were given while in the jury assembly room.

[Shrug]

Some people are good at listening to instructions and then following through. Some aren't. Interestingly because of the questionnaire, the judge was able to determine that one of the potential jurors was enfeebled. He was very gentle with her and it was very sad indeed to listen to her attempt to give him answers.

And I like fiddletown's answers. He's probably right. Don't remember if that juror was ultimately excused. Out of a pool of 60 or so people, only 14 were needed anyway. And it may be hard to consider it, but a courtroom is a solemn place, where excuses sound amazingly hollow when uttered in near silence.

Ron-Solo
02-10-2011, 11:56 PM
Oh for **** sake ... :rolleyes:

OJ was charged with murder. That's a little different than, say, someone charged with a felony because their 10-round AR magazine was defective and he accidentally jammed 11 rounds into it before loading it into his unconstitutionally-crippled not-an-assault-weapon.

The whole point of juries in the first place is to put a check on the state's power to unjustly prosecute and crush citizens for things that perhaps shouldn't even be crimes or prosecuted in the first place.

If factual analysis of the law and evidence was the idealized goal, we'd have panels of professional highly-trained state-employed legal-expert "juries" not ordinary citizens.

Hopefully the rush of air as this concept went over your head didn't mess up your hair. :rolleyes:

dantodd
02-11-2011, 12:06 AM
(2) So I suspect that if someone absolutely refused to answer questions during voire dire, the judge could order him to show cause why he should not be held in civil contempt of court and fined.

^^^ This.

In my very limited experience judges have very little patience with people trying to beg out of jury duty.

One of my fellow jurors was an engineer with an advanced degree who owned a tech company that was being sold (it was big enough to be in the SJ Merc etc. not just the trades) The judge wouldn't excuse him even though the transaction closed during the trial. Poor guy spent every break on his phone and laptop trying to keep up with the sale and transition.

Had some jurors who clearly didn't want to be there and he was pretty merciless for those who didn't have a true hardship. Humorously he did beat up one attorney who was in the pool because he was a family law sole practitioner and didn't use the appropriate excuse. (something about the potential of having to appear ex-parte in conflict with his duty)

wildhawker
02-11-2011, 12:13 AM
My eyes aren't what they used to be. I sincerely meant "fair" jury.

I know you did (and I hope everyone else did, too). :D

-BC

johnthomas
02-11-2011, 12:39 AM
I ended up on a jury for robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, attempted murder.
As I am a Violent Crime Victim, I was sure I would be thrown off the jury when the questions started.
None of the jurors were asked if they were a VCV.
After the attornies were done with their questions, the Judge then asked all jurors to raise their hands if they were a VCV.
I was very surprised, over half the jurors raised ther hands.
We were then asked if we could judge the case on its own facts, without prejudice.
Everyone said they could, and we all stayed on the jury.

The courts are desperate for quality jurors.

Did you convict? Kind of like paying back the person that caused you grief by proxy.

Theseus
02-11-2011, 7:35 AM
I don't find that to be true at all. The People (prosecutor) bears the burden in a criminal case. If they don't prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, the defense has to do nothing. While every case is different, I generally want people on the jury who can analyze the People's evidence and see the holes and come to the conclusion that there are reasonable explanations, even if unlikely, that the prosecutor has not eliminated in their mind and thus "not guilty." I only need one of these thinking people on my jury to hang it up. The more the better.

I wish it were that true. I have a feeling that, as in my case, that "well, the jury obviously found you guilty, so there must have been enough evidence".

The burden is no longer reasonable doubt. At least not in my experience. I would almost like to see the statistics, but I am willing to wager that most juries convict.

fiddletown
02-11-2011, 8:10 AM
... I would almost like to see the statistics, but I am willing to wager that most juries convict.I'm pretty sure that in criminal cases most juries do convict, simply because (1) most prosecutors know what they are doing; and (2) a competent prosecutor isn't going to take a case to trial unless he believes that he has a good chance of getting a conviction. Most juries probably convict in criminal cases not because of vagaries of juries, but rather because of front end case selection.

snobord99
02-11-2011, 8:29 AM
I'm pretty sure that in criminal cases most juries do convict, simply because (1) most prosecutors know what they are doing; and (2) a competent prosecutor isn't going to take a case to trial unless he believes that he has a good chance of getting a conviction. Most juries probably convict in criminal cases not because of vagaries of juries, but rather because of front end case selection.

Beat me to it.

GrizzlyGuy
02-11-2011, 8:56 AM
I wish it were that true. I have a feeling that, as in my case, that "well, the jury obviously found you guilty, so there must have been enough evidence".

The burden is no longer reasonable doubt. At least not in my experience. I would almost like to see the statistics, but I am willing to wager that most juries convict.

Your case (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=238828) is one of the best examples I can think of that demonstrate how important it is for jurors to retain and sometimes exercise their right to judge the law, as our founders and framers intended, and not limit themselves to the facts of the case, as judges would like.

Your judge chose to redefine the simple English term "private property" in the way most unfavorable to you, without precedence for doing so in that particular statute. At least one of the jurors should have asked (during deliberations) 'hey guys, would we still convict if we used our plain understanding of that term or redefined it in the way most favorable to the defendant?'. If anyone answers no, then you should have walked. You would have walked had I been on your jury.

snobord99
02-11-2011, 9:49 AM
Your case (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=238828) is one of the best examples I can think of that demonstrate how important it is for jurors to retain and sometimes exercise their right to judge the law, as our founders and framers intended, and not limit themselves to the facts of the case, as judges would like.

The problem is, not everyone agrees on what the founders and framers intended. I mean, what if you end up with 12 jurors who believe that 2A was only meant for militia or military and decide that he is guilty because he has a firearm and he's not militia or military regardless of whether the law says he's allowed to have the firearm? Forget the fact that it may very well be overturned on appeal; how would you like to even have to go to appeal in the first place because 12 antis decided jury nullification was the way to go?

Your judge chose to redefine the simple English term "private property" in the way most unfavorable to you, without precedence for doing so in that particular statute. At least one of the jurors should have asked (during deliberations) 'hey guys, would we still convict if we used our plain understanding of that term or redefined it in the way most favorable to the defendant?'. If anyone answers no, then you should have walked. You would have walked had I been on your jury.

I don't agree there was no precedent, but that's neither here nor there. I'm pretty sure that this issue never even made it to the jury. Even if they would have asked "what does private property mean," they didn't because they were never told that it was an issue. Also, it's never been the case that a term has to be defined in a way most favorable to the defendant at trial.

fiddletown
02-11-2011, 10:39 AM
Your case (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=238828) is one of the best examples I can think of that demonstrate how important it is for jurors to retain and sometimes exercise their right to judge the law,...And of course, as a practical matter they do, especially in the case of a verdict of acquittal in a criminal trial. In a criminal trial a verdict of acquittal is inviolable -- it can't be touched by the judge nor can it be appealed. So a jury can effectively ignore the judge's instructions and acquit someone who is guilty under the evidence and the law.

Of course, a judge will not instruct a jury on jury nullification, nor will a judge allow the defense lawyer to argue to the jury for jury nullification. So it's something the jury will need to think up on its own.

Which may be just as well. We've certainly seen perversion of jury nullification -- at times when no White jury would convict a White man of a crime against a Black (or Native American or Asian or Hispanic) no matter what the law or the facts were.

So maybe jury nullification is best reserved for situations in which all members of the jury would agree on their own initiative that applying the law as instructed by the judge would result in a truly monstrous injustice -- so monstrous that contemplation of it would overcome any resistance the jurors might have to ignoring the judges instructions.

...as our founders and framers intended, and not limit themselves to the facts of the case, as judges would like....And do you have any evidence of our founder's intent in that regard? After all, many of the Founding Fathers were lawyers, well schooled in the Common Law, as is the foundation of our legal system and in which the jury is the trier of fact.

dantodd
02-11-2011, 11:04 AM
The only case of jury nullification which I am aware of is a case in which a friend of mine was the primary investigator. It was a mail bombing case in either TN or KY. In post-trial interviews the jurors said that the prosecution had proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt but they didn't convict the bomber because the victim was gay and deserved it.

GrizzlyGuy
02-11-2011, 11:21 AM
The problem is, not everyone agrees on what the founders and framers intended. I mean, what if you end up with 12 jurors who believe that 2A was only meant for militia or military and decide that he is guilty because he has a firearm and he's not militia or military regardless of whether the law says he's allowed to have the firearm? Forget the fact that it may very well be overturned on appeal; how would you like to even have to go to appeal in the first place because 12 antis decided jury nullification was the way to go?

That's the flip-side of the coin and certainly possible, but I would hope that the citizenry would choose to exercise their right to judge the law only in ways that are favorable to a defendant. If the government wants to deprive a person of life, liberty or property, then the benefit of the doubt needs to go to the defendant.

I don't agree there was no precedent, but that's neither here nor there. I'm pretty sure that this issue never even made it to the jury. Even if they would have asked "what does private property mean," they didn't because they were never told that it was an issue. Also, it's never been the case that a term has to be defined in a way most favorable to the defendant at trial.

I meant no precedent specifically related to the GFSZ law. The judge seems to have borrowed the concept of publicly accessible private property from People v. Overturf (http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/index.php/Unlicensed_Concealed_Carry#People_v._Overturf), People v. Strider (http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/index.php/Unlicensed_Concealed_Carry#People_v._Strider) and other cases that did not specifically relate to our 626.9 (http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/626.9.html) GFSZ law that Theseus was convicted of violating.

Of course, a judge will not instruct a jury on jury nullification, nor will a judge allow the defense lawyer to argue to the jury for jury nullification. So it's something the jury will need to think up on its own.

That's right, and that's why organizations like the Fully Informed Jury Association (http://fija.org/) exist. Keep in mind that only 1 out of the 12 jurors needs to know their rights, the other 11 can be taught or influenced by that one person. If done properly with care, nullification can be accomplished without anyone on the jury actually knowing that the process is going on.

For example, if I wanted to nullify and didn't think I had many fellow libertarians on the jury with me, I'd lead the rest of them down a path of critical analysis and increased scrutiny of the government's evidence. They would (hopefully) end up believing that the government simply hadn't met its burden of proof. I can hang the jury all by myself, but I'd be playing for a full acquittal.

So maybe jury nullification is best reserved for situations in which all members of the jury would agree on their own initiative that applying the law as instructed by the judge would result in a truly monstrous injustice -- so monstrous that contemplation of it would overcome any resistance the jurors might have to ignoring the judges instructions.

See above, denying a person of life, liberty or property when he made a good faith attempt to abide by the actual language and plain meaning of the law seems like a monstrous injustice to me.

And do you have any evidence of our founder's intent in that regard? After all, many of the Founding Fathers were lawyers, well schooled in the Common Law, as is the foundation of our legal system and in which the jury is the trier of fact.

Yes, lots. Here are a few quotes (from here (http://www.friesian.com/jury.htm)), and if you Google a bit you'll find a lot more evidence:

It is not only [the juror's] right, but his duty...to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court. - John Adams, 1771

.....it is usual for the jurors to decide the fact, and to refer the law arising on it to the decision of the judges. But this division of the subject lies with their discretion only. And if the question relate to any point of public liberty, or if it be one of those in which the judges may be suspected of bias, the jury undertake to decide both law and fact. - Thomas Jefferson, "Notes on Virginia," 1782

Jurors should acquit, even against the judge's instruction...if exercising their judgement with discretion and honesty they have a clear conviction that the charge of the court is wrong. - Alexander Hamilton, 1804

It is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that courts are the best judges of law. But still both objects are within your power of decision.....you have a right to take it upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy. - Chief Justice John Jay, Georgia v. Brailsford, 1794

fiddletown
02-11-2011, 12:43 PM
...If the government wants to deprive a person of life, liberty or property, then the benefit of the doubt needs to go to the defendant....Which is why, in the ancient tradition of the Common Law, the prosecution has the burden of proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

...I meant no precedent specifically related to the GFSZ law. The judge seems to have borrowed the concept of publicly accessible private property from People v. Overturf (http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/index.php/Unlicensed_Concealed_Carry#People_v._Overturf), People v. Strider (http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/index.php/Unlicensed_Concealed_Carry#People_v._Strider) and other cases that did not specifically relate to our 626.9 (http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/626.9.html) GFSZ law that Theseus was convicted of violating....But that is common and may be entirely proper. Why should a word or concept in connection with one statute have a meaning different from that in connection with another statute or court decision? And if the Legislature intended a common word or concept to be applied in a unique way in connection with a particular statute, why wasn't that specified?

In any case, the court of appeals will decide.

...denying a person of life, liberty or property when he made a good faith attempt to abide by the actual language and plain meaning of the law seems like a monstrous injustice to me....But I guess not to the jury in Theseus' case. And isn't that decision properly the province of the jury under your model?

Did that jury return a guilty verdict because it conscientiously felt constrained to in reliance on the judge's instructions as to the law (which may or may not have been erroneous -- a matter to be decided by the court of appeals), or did the jury find him guilty because it didn't like what he did and felt he ought to be punished for it -- no matter what the law or facts may be?

...Yes, lots. Here are a few quotes ...Whether those quotes reflect intent or a recognition of reality is in the eye of the beholder.

GrizzlyGuy
02-11-2011, 1:45 PM
Which is why, in the ancient tradition of the Common Law, the prosecution has the burden of proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

If the law itself is unreasonable or unclear, it doesn't matter whether the prosecution proves its case or not. To truly provide the defendant with the benefit of the doubt, the jury may need to assess the reasonableness and clarity of that law, and how the judge is choosing to interpret and describe the law to the jury.

But that is common and may be entirely proper. Why should a word or concept in connection with one statute have a meaning different from that in connection with another statute or court decision? And if the Legislature intended a common word or concept to be applied in a unique way in connection with a particular statute, why wasn't that specified?

It is common but not entirely proper because the judiciary sometimes overrides (rather than properly interpreting) legislative intent. The legislature need not, and did not, specify a particular meaning for the plain language term "private property". If they meant it to mean "private property not accessible to the general public" they could have said so in the statute. The absence of special definition or reference to usage in some other statute would lead a reasonable lay person (e.g., the defendant) to conclude that the words mean exactly what they say.

But I guess not to the jury in Theseus' case. And isn't that decision properly the province of the jury under your model?

Did that jury return a guilty verdict because it conscientiously felt constrained to in reliance on the judge's instructions as to the law (which may or may not have been erroneous -- a matter to be decided by the court of appeals), or did the jury find him guilty because it didn't like what he did and felt he ought to be punished for it -- no matter what the law or facts may be?

I wasn't on the jury or privy to their deliberations so I have no idea why they reached the verdict they did. However, I can reasonably deduce that the judge's actions and instructions related to "private property" played no small part. I can also surmise that there were no fellow radical libertarians on that jury who would have researched the law on their own during the evening, and generally taken all of the judge's various instructions and admonishments as suggestions.

Whether those quotes reflect intent or a recognition of reality is in the eye of the beholder.

I think intent is pretty obvious, here is one more quote:

I consider trial by jury as the only anchor, ever yet imagined by man, by
which a Government can be held to the principles of itís constitution. - Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson was a pretty big believer in sovereign citizens acting to hold their government to the principles of it's constitution. Jefferson was also one of the guys who wrote the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions which advocated outright nullification of the Alien and Sedition Acts, not just jury nullification after some unfortunate individual was charged with violating them. The other author of those resolutions was Madison, the father of our Bill of Rights.

I imagine it really bugs you trial attorneys to know that you aren't in charge, and the judge isn't even in charge. We the sovereign citizens and jury members are in charge and there is nothing that anyone can do to change that. :D

WReyth
02-11-2011, 3:28 PM
I am an attorney and I have done about 12 jury trials. In a general sense, attorneys want jurors they can persuade, and the more educated or analytical a juror is, the belief is they are more likely to come to their own conclusion rather than the one we want them to accept. One of the attorneys that trained me in jury selection always sought to excuse engineers and asians. He believed they were more analytical.

Hopefully this isn't wandering too far off topic, but one thing about jury selection that I don't understand: if you are selected, can the outcome of the trial be used against you later?

When I went through selection process a few years ago, the judge noted that in our group there were many people with engineering or technical backgrounds, and if we were able to refrain from our own assessments and stick to the facts presented. It got me thinking: If I did so, disregarding contrary information that I have access to personally, could my participation in the verdict be used against me later?

For example, if the case was concerning IT security and I was systems administrator, and there was testimony/evidence that I know was misleading or false. The opposing attorney does not bring it up for whatever reason, and I am compelled to ignore what I know. Fast forward and now I'm under investigation or on trial. Could someone go back to that trial and use that to state that I'm incompetent?

snobord99
02-11-2011, 5:10 PM
It is common but not entirely proper because the judiciary sometimes overrides (rather than properly interpreting) legislative intent. The legislature need not, and did not, specify a particular meaning for the plain language term "private property". If they meant it to mean "private property not accessible to the general public" they could have said so in the statute. The absence of special definition or reference to usage in some other statute would lead a reasonable lay person (e.g., the defendant) to conclude that the words mean exactly what they say.

So I guess it's entirely proper to leave it up to you to determine what's a proper interpretation and what's an improper overriding?

I assume the fact that the legislative history of the statute says "[w]ithin 1,000 feet of a school, as defined above, means any public area or business establishment where minors are legally permitted to conduct business" won't convince you that, maybe, just maybe, the court got it right?

The fact that you think "private property" in this case needed to read "private property not accessible to the general public" kind of indicates that you agree that there's more than one possible interpretation to "private property." All you're saying is that they need to clarify which interpretation they meant.

snobord99
02-11-2011, 5:16 PM
That's the flip-side of the coin and certainly possible, but I would hope that the citizenry would choose to exercise their right to judge the law only in ways that are favorable to a defendant. If the government wants to deprive a person of life, liberty or property, then the benefit of the doubt needs to go to the defendant.

Is that "hope" enough that you'd be happy with leaving your freedom in the hands of 12 San Franciscans who have no problem with jury nullification over a gun charge?

I meant no precedent specifically related to the GFSZ law. The judge seems to have borrowed the concept of publicly accessible private property from People v. Overturf (http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/index.php/Unlicensed_Concealed_Carry#People_v._Overturf), People v. Strider (http://wiki.calgunsfoundation.org/index.php/Unlicensed_Concealed_Carry#People_v._Strider) and other cases that did not specifically relate to our 626.9 (http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/626.9.html) GFSZ law that Theseus was convicted of violating.

Again, I think the precedent was there. I just don't think you like the way the precedent was used.

For example, if I wanted to nullify and didn't think I had many fellow libertarians on the jury with me, I'd lead the rest of them down a path of critical analysis and increased scrutiny of the government's evidence. They would (hopefully) end up believing that the government simply hadn't met its burden of proof. I can hang the jury all by myself, but I'd be playing for a full acquittal.

You know that getting the other jurors to carefully scrutinize the evidence isn't jury nullification right?

fiddletown
02-11-2011, 5:18 PM
If the law itself is unreasonable or unclear, it doesn't matter whether the prosecution proves its case or not. To truly provide the defendant with the benefit of the doubt, the jury may need to assess the reasonableness and clarity of that law, and how the judge is choosing to interpret and describe the law to the jury.... Maybe and maybe not, and that's the rub.

Reasonableness is often in the eye of the beholder. Whether a particular person sees a law, or the interpretation of the law, as reasonable will be strongly influenced by his education, social standing, cultural background, values, etc. Since the members of a jury won't necessarily share those attributes with each other, the members of a jury are likely to bring varied perspectives to the question of whether a law is or is not reasonable.

Now if all the members of the jury agree to not follow the law and acquit someone who has actually committed the acts for which he is on trial, it is most likely that the application of the law in his case would truly produce a grossly unacceptable result. In other words, the application of the law would be unreasonable in the clearest possible terms when considered from a broad range of values and perspectives. But on the other hand, there may be the situations in which from a shared cultural perspective members of a jury agree that it would be plainly unjust for a man to be punished for murdering a [insert another race/political party/religion/uneducated/educated, etc.] man.

And encouraging a jury to independently decide whether or not a law is reasonable doesn't necessarily give the defendant the benefit of the doubt. For example, let's imagine that a jury in a self defense case consists largely of people who believe that it's not right for anyone to use force and injure another, even in self defense. And yes, such attitudes exist, and among mainstream, apparently normal, ordinary, or even prominent, people. For one discussion of this phenomenon, see [I]Armed by Gary Kleck and Don Kates (Prometheus Books, 2001), pages 116 - 121. (And of course, the jury selection process should help weed such folks out, but some people don't much like the jury selection process.)

In any case, were such persons, while on a jury, to consider the reasonableness of the laws relating to the justified use of force in self defense from their unique cultural and values perspective, they might well either ignore the right to self defense or at least hold the defendant to an especially high standard. That's hardly giving the defendant the benefit of the doubt.

So while you might...hope that the citizenry would choose to exercise their right to judge the law only in ways that are favorable to a defendant...they in fact might not.

...It is common but not entirely proper because the judiciary sometimes overrides (rather than properly interpreting) legislative intent.....And of course, that is the question for the court of appeals.

...I wasn't on the jury or privy to their deliberations so I have no idea why they reached the verdict they did...However, since they did reach a verdict of guilty, it may be inferred that they didn't see anything unreasonable or grossly unjust about that result.

...I can also surmise that there were no fellow radical libertarians on that jury who would have researched the law on their own during the evening, and generally taken all of the judge's various instructions and admonishments as suggestions....And I have no reason to surmise that such radical libertarian's conclusion regarding the law would be correct, while the judge's was not. And while the judge's conclusion was made stated publicly, recorded and is subject to scrutiny by the court of appeals, the radical libertarian's conclusion was stated behind closed doors and not subject to independent examination.

... imagine it really bugs you trial attorneys to know that you aren't in charge, and the judge isn't even in charge....Actually, no, not at all. Good lawyers are strongly committed to the process. We play our roles, but the end is always the confluences of various forces and considerations. I must zealously and to the best of my ability represent the interests of my client, even though he's unpopular, I don't personally agree with him, or perhaps like him much, and his prospects are dim -- nonetheless, I must work hard and diligently in his interest. I submit that one doesn't do that unless he has a deep and abiding commitment to the process. And one doesn't do that and remain sane if he feels he must control the outcome.

snobord99
02-11-2011, 5:37 PM
Actually, no, not at all. Good lawyers are strongly committed to the process. We play our roles, but the end is always the confluences of various forces and considerations. I must zealously and to the best of my ability represent the interests of my client, even though he's unpopular, I don't personally agree with him, or perhaps like him much, and his prospects are dim -- nonetheless, I must work hard and diligently in his interest. I submit that one doesn't do that unless he has a deep and abiding commitment to the process. And one doesn't do that and remain sane if he feels he must control the outcome.

+100000000000

snobord99
02-11-2011, 5:38 PM
Hopefully this isn't wandering too far off topic, but one thing about jury selection that I don't understand: if you are selected, can the outcome of the trial be used against you later?

When I went through selection process a few years ago, the judge noted that in our group there were many people with engineering or technical backgrounds, and if we were able to refrain from our own assessments and stick to the facts presented. It got me thinking: If I did so, disregarding contrary information that I have access to personally, could my participation in the verdict be used against me later?

For example, if the case was concerning IT security and I was systems administrator, and there was testimony/evidence that I know was misleading or false. The opposing attorney does not bring it up for whatever reason, and I am compelled to ignore what I know. Fast forward and now I'm under investigation or on trial. Could someone go back to that trial and use that to state that I'm incompetent?

No. The jury room is like Vegas. What happens in the jury room, stays in the jury room (with few exceptions).

Theseus
02-11-2011, 5:55 PM
The problem is, not everyone agrees on what the founders and framers intended. I mean, what if you end up with 12 jurors who believe that 2A was only meant for militia or military and decide that he is guilty because he has a firearm and he's not militia or military regardless of whether the law says he's allowed to have the firearm? Forget the fact that it may very well be overturned on appeal; how would you like to even have to go to appeal in the first place because 12 antis decided jury nullification was the way to go?



I don't agree there was no precedent, but that's neither here nor there. I'm pretty sure that this issue never even made it to the jury. Even if they would have asked "what does private property mean," they didn't because they were never told that it was an issue. Also, it's never been the case that a term has to be defined in a way most favorable to the defendant at trial.

I didn't wish to turn this into a debate on the merits of my case in any means as it contributed to the thread topic.

I don't know if it is considered thread jacked, but I suspect that some would think so.

Snowboard and I have gone back and forth on this and respectfully and fully disagree on the concept of precedent in my case.

But, as far as it goes to my jury, I have no doubt in my mind that my case had more to do with the idea that we didn't present a defense and that it went to the jury on a Friday afternoon early enough that a quick verdict would get them home for dinner.

GrizzlyGuy
02-11-2011, 6:01 PM
So I guess it's entirely proper to leave it up to you to determine what's a proper interpretation and what's an improper overriding?

I assume the fact that the legislative history of the statute says "[w]ithin 1,000 feet of a school, as defined above, means any public area or business establishment where minors are legally permitted to conduct business" won't convince you that, maybe, just maybe, the court got it right?

The fact that you think "private property" in this case needed to read "private property not accessible to the general public" kind of indicates that you agree that there's more than one possible interpretation to "private property." All you're saying is that they need to clarify which interpretation they meant.

No, Iím saying that the average citizen can't be required or expected to peruse legislative intent documents, study case law, or have supernatural powers that would allow them to know in advance how a judge might decide to redefine a simple term like "private property" when going about their daily activities and trying their best to comply with the myriad of laws. If someone makes a good faith attempt to abide by the laws as written and as interpreted in plain English, and ends up getting ensnared in the government's legal word games, then as a juror it would be my duty to protect them from the government and ensure that they retain all of their life, liberty and property. In such a case I'd do everything in my power as a juror to accomplish that mission. The founders would expect nothing less and my personal moral code would allow for nothing less.

Is that "hope" enough that you'd be happy with leaving your freedom in the hands of 12 San Franciscans who have no problem with jury nullification over a gun charge?

I wouldn't be dumb enough to enter that hell-hole of a city with a gun in the first place. :D

You know that getting the other jurors to carefully scrutinize the evidence isn't jury nullification right?

Of course, and that's why I'd try to accomplish my mission (see above) as I described (attacking the prosecution's evidence and buttressing the defense's evidence). If I came out and said "hey guys, this guy is getting the shaft and we need to nullify!", some other juror might rat me out to the judge, the judge tosses me from the jury, and my mission fails immediately.

KDOFisch
02-11-2011, 6:04 PM
Good lawyers are strongly committed to the process. We play our roles, but the end is always the confluences of various forces and considerations. I must zealously and to the best of my ability represent the interests of my client, even though he's unpopular, I don't personally agree with him, or perhaps like him much, and his prospects are dim -- nonetheless, I must work hard and diligently in his interest. I submit that one doesn't do that unless he has a deep and abiding commitment to the process. And one doesn't do that and remain sane if he feels he must control the outcome.

Well and see that's what it really comes down to- how you present your client's case, be your client a defendant or the People.

Last May, I served on a jury for a criminal trial here in LA. The charge was PC 314.1 Indecent Exposure. What a treat that was. I have never heard the word 'masturbated' uttered that often in my life. During the voire dire process I was astonished how many people on the jury were reasonably educated (seven had college degrees) and also how diverse we were split regarding socioeconomic backgrounds and careers. The only part all of us were confused by was how this actually got to become a jury trial in the first place. The witness testimony, police testimony and the general explanation of the facts by the ADA were rock solid. The PD who defended the guy gave us some weak sauce and frankly presented a scattered and unconvincing argument. The hard part with that particular section of (chuckle) Penal Code is that the ADA had to prove intent along with action. That's tough to do and he did it. Smart guy.

Theseus
02-11-2011, 6:11 PM
No, Iím saying that the average citizen can't be required or expected to peruse legislative intent documents, study case law, or have supernatural powers that would allow them to know in advance how a judge might decide to redefine a simple term like "private property" when going about their daily activities and trying their best to comply with the myriad of laws. If someone makes a good faith attempt to abide by the laws as written and as interpreted in plain English, and ends up getting ensnared in the government's legal word games, then as a juror it would be my duty to protect them from the government and ensure that they retain all of their life, liberty and property. In such a case I'd do everything in my power as a juror to accomplish that mission. The founders would expect nothing less and my personal moral code would allow for nothing less.

We are required to avail ourselves of the legislative history, intent, case law and the like. We are not required to avail ourselves or predict the future judicial rulings, and that is part of the heart of my case. But, instead of discuss it here, there is a perfectly good thread by which to do so.

ojisan
02-11-2011, 6:23 PM
Did you convict? Kind of like paying back the person that caused you grief by proxy.


Ahhh....American justice...

We very strictly decided on the merits of the case.
Let's see...
He was caught on foot three blocks away and about 5 minutes later....lived cross town and did not work in the area.
Hot summer evening, he was wearing several layers of clothing including a heavy jacket, a knit hat pulled down low over his head, sun glasses after dusk and gloves in his pocket (matched the victim's description of what he was wearing).
He also had the store keys in his pocket (he locked the store and put out the "Closed" sign before he left).
(He claimed he found the keys).
(He had slammed the victim (small woman) into a counter and then to the floor, stabbed the victim about ten times in the chest, neck and lower back, then as she played dead, he beat her head in with the cash register. He left her for dead as he locked up the store).
He had the correct amount of cash on him that matched the store's sales that day.
He had a cut on his hand from breaking open the cash register in the alley behind the store. (Blood on the cash register was not DNA'd because it was not thought necessary).
The victim identified him as the one who did it.
Quite a few other facts and evidence.

Ten of us, quite fairly based on the evidence, voted to convict.

However:

One voted innocent because she was mad about Bush and Gitmo.
Said she could not convict anyone of anything under our system.

One seemed to go brain dead and would not understand any evidence or listen to any discussion.
Without DNA proof, she would not convict.
I have to call it as it is, racial bias towards one of her own.

Both of these people should have been eliminated during the pre-jury questioning.

The result was a dangerous man was set free, and he got away with this vicious assault.

And that's how it goes...

fiddletown
02-11-2011, 6:46 PM
.... Ten of us, quite fairly based on the evidence, voted to convict.

However:

One voted innocent because she was mad about Bush and Gitmo.
Said she could not convict anyone of anything under our system.

One seemed to go brain dead and would not understand any evidence or listen to any discussion.
Without DNA proof, she would not convict.
I have to call it as it is, racial bias towards one of her own.... A fine example of jurors using their power to judge the reasonableness of the law from their unique cultural perspectives.

The bottom line is that the power of the jury to ignore the judge's instructions as to the law is a tool -- a highly specialized one. It's use may seldom be warranted. And like any tool, it may be used at the wrong time in the wrong way resulting in a badly bollixed up job. But once in a while it may be badly needed and used adroitly, leading to the proper result.

Hunt
02-11-2011, 6:55 PM
Just about everyone of my college professors never serves jury duty, they all get asked to leave once they find out their education. Smart minds are harder to mold.

lol

aileron
02-11-2011, 7:19 PM
I was also the only one that had a Master's Degree (not sure if that mattered), and I also have young children.

So, is it normal for potential jurors to be asked if they own firearms?

Me thinks you have critical thinking skills and they dropped you because of it. Happens to the engineers at work all the time.

GrizzlyGuy
02-11-2011, 7:36 PM
Reasonableness is often in the eye of the beholder. Whether a particular person sees a law, or the interpretation of the law, as reasonable will be strongly influenced by his education, social standing, cultural background, values, etc. Since the members of a jury won't necessarily share those attributes with each other, the members of a jury are likely to bring varied perspectives to the question of whether a law is or is not reasonable.

Now if all the members of the jury agree to not follow the law and acquit someone who has actually committed the acts for which he is on trial, it is most likely that the application of the law in his case would truly produce a grossly unacceptable result. In other words, the application of the law would be unreasonable in the clearest possible terms when considered from a broad range of values and perspectives. But on the other hand, there may be the situations in which from a shared cultural perspective members of a jury agree that it would be plainly unjust for a man to be punished for murdering a [insert another race/political party/religion/uneducated/educated, etc.] man.

And encouraging a jury to independently decide whether or not a law is reasonable doesn't necessarily give the defendant the benefit of the doubt. For example, let's imagine that a jury in a self defense case consists largely of people who believe that it's not right for anyone to use force and injure another, even in self defense. And yes, such attitudes exist, and among mainstream, apparently normal, ordinary, or even prominent, people. For one discussion of this phenomenon, see [I]Armed by Gary Kleck and Don Kates (Prometheus Books, 2001), pages 116 - 121. (And of course, the jury selection process should help weed such folks out, but some people don't much like the jury selection process.)

In any case, were such persons, while on a jury, to consider the reasonableness of the laws relating to the justified use of force in self defense from their unique cultural and values perspective, they might well either ignore the right to self defense or at least hold the defendant to an especially high standard. That's hardly giving the defendant the benefit of the doubt.

So while you mightthey in fact might not.

I agree completely, welcome to human nature. Ain't liberty a beach? :D

However, since they did reach a verdict of guilty, it may be inferred that they didn't see anything unreasonable or grossly unjust about that result.

And I have no reason to surmise that such radical libertarian's conclusion regarding the law would be correct, while the judge's was not. And while the judge's conclusion was made stated publicly, recorded and is subject to scrutiny by the court of appeals, the radical libertarian's conclusion was stated behind closed doors and not subject to independent examination.

Oh well, nothing is certain in life and everyone walking the planet at this time are moral, fallible beings with all kinds of different backgrounds (what you said above). Once again: ain't liberty a beach?

Actually, no, not at all. Good lawyers are strongly committed to the process. We play our roles, but the end is always the confluences of various forces and considerations. I must zealously and to the best of my ability represent the interests of my client, even though he's unpopular, I don't personally agree with him, or perhaps like him much, and his prospects are dim -- nonetheless, I must work hard and diligently in his interest. I submit that one doesn't do that unless he has a deep and abiding commitment to the process. And one doesn't do that and remain sane if he feels he must control the outcome.

Sounds good to me that's how the game is supposed to be played. The wildcard is the jury, and if 12 of us are in the box there are going to be 12 different sets of perspectives, understandings of our roles and responsibilities, etc. That's what our founders intended and may justice be served.

P.S. - I guess you guys know that we're onto your game, we've studied it, and we mean to get into your game and influence the outcome in the best interest of liberty. See here: Surviving Voir Dire ~ How to Get on The Jury (http://fija.org/download/BR_YYYY_surviving_voir_dire.pdf) We're coming counselor, right under your radar, we're coming... ;)

freespool
02-11-2011, 8:08 PM
No need for a system of laws, not men, so long as the right men put themselves in charge. Justice will be best served by regular proselytizing for everyone to just make up their own laws - after having boned up a bit of course. And so long as it's just the right ones doing it, I mean.

Can hardly think of anything that rings less true to the ethic of this land.

masameet
02-11-2011, 8:58 PM
Hopefully this isn't wandering too far off topic, but one thing about jury selection that I don't understand: if you are selected, can the outcome of the trial be used against you later?

When I went through selection process a few years ago, the judge noted that in our group there were many people with engineering or technical backgrounds, and if we were able to refrain from our own assessments and stick to the facts presented. It got me thinking: If I did so, disregarding contrary information that I have access to personally, could my participation in the verdict be used against me later?

For example, if the case was concerning IT security and I was systems administrator, and there was testimony/evidence that I know was misleading or false. The opposing attorney does not bring it up for whatever reason, and I am compelled to ignore what I know. Fast forward and now I'm under investigation or on trial. Could someone go back to that trial and use that to state that I'm incompetent?

I believe, but am not completely sure, that words spoken by potential jurors during voir dire in superior court matters are not recorded by the court stenographer. None of the jury decision-making towards a verdict is recorded either.

For your competence as a witness to be challenged and impeached, I believe you would have to have given testimony in court or in deposition, or spoken out-of-hand to law enforcement, a jailhouse snitch, friend/family member (not spouse), or the news media.

HiveDR.
02-11-2011, 9:21 PM
When it comes to answering questions about gun ownership, residency, education, employment a good response is:

With all due respect your Honor, I do not fell comfortable answering that questions with this criminal sitting in the court room.

While saying this, make sure you motion or look toward at the defendant/criminal.

Shows you already made your mind up about the guilt of the suspect but does not refuse the judges question. Granted, the judge may correct you by saying the defendant has not been found guilty and therefore not a criminal. But by this time the DA or DEFENCE has written you off.

I have found this more effective than telling the court I'm a ret. police office which one would think to be an automatic dismissal but it's not. Like sure after 20+ years I can be fair and balanced.

fiddletown
02-11-2011, 9:34 PM
I agree completely, welcome to human nature. Ain't liberty a beach?... And don't presume to teach me about human nature. After practicing law for over thirty years, I've learned a bit about it all by myself.

...The wildcard is the jury,...That's what our founders intended and may justice be served...Our Founders didn't invent the jury. The jury as wild card pre-dates our Founders by a quite a few years.

...We're coming counselor, right under your radar, we're coming... ;)Take your best shot. I'm not worried.

RandyD
02-12-2011, 7:46 AM
I'm probably a prosecutor's worse nightmare in a city who's laws I don't agree with. If I didn't think the defendant hurt anyone then I would probably purposefully hang the jury and let the guy go. We have the right to vote our conscience and hang the jury if we disagree with the law.

This is the oath jurors take; "Do you, and each of you, understand and agree that you will well and truly try the cause now pending before this court, and a true verdict render according only to the evidence presented to you and to the instructions of the court?" See http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/jury/step1.htm

If you vote your conscience and it does not comport with the evidence or instructions of the court, you have violated the oath you took.

RandyD
02-12-2011, 7:56 AM
I've always wondered...can you legally refuse to answer/plead the 5th for any questions?

Your question prompted me to do some research and this is what I found at http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/jury/step1.htm It appears that prospective jurors take an oath to answer all questions before they even know what questions will be asked.

Prospective jurors are first required to swear that they will truthfully answer all questions asked about their qualifications to serve as jurors in the case.

The perjury admonishment, which basically requires potential jurors to tell the truth when answering the questions, is read as follows:

"Do you, and each of you, understand and agree that you will accurately and truthfully answer, under penalty of perjury, all questions propounded to you concerning your qualifications and competency to serve as a trial juror in the matter pending before this court, and that failure to do so may subject you to criminal prosecution?"

RandyD
02-12-2011, 8:11 AM
Hopefully this isn't wandering too far off topic, but one thing about jury selection that I don't understand: if you are selected, can the outcome of the trial be used against you later?

When I went through selection process a few years ago, the judge noted that in our group there were many people with engineering or technical backgrounds, and if we were able to refrain from our own assessments and stick to the facts presented. It got me thinking: If I did so, disregarding contrary information that I have access to personally, could my participation in the verdict be used against me later?

For example, if the case was concerning IT security and I was systems administrator, and there was testimony/evidence that I know was misleading or false. The opposing attorney does not bring it up for whatever reason, and I am compelled to ignore what I know. Fast forward and now I'm under investigation or on trial. Could someone go back to that trial and use that to state that I'm incompetent?

Jurors are immune from civil liability regarding their verdicts, so you will never find yourself on trial for the verdict you rendered. Jury deliberations are conducted in private, and only the jurors know what was said behind those closed doors. Jurors are expected to draw upon and use their life experiences in reaching a verdict. Jurors are not expected to ignore what they know.

DParker
02-12-2011, 10:05 AM
I've been on multiple juries over the years and have been foreman twice. I have also helped pick juries several times as the corporate defense representative in civil trials back when I was in management.

In my experience, juries do 'think for themselves' and nullifications do happen regardless of the law.

On one case where I was a juror, key material testimony of the defendant was known by myself and a couple of the other jurors to be a lie due to our local knowledge. Corrective testimony or evidence was never presented by the prosecution. In deliberations we pointed out the significant lie and one of the jurors correctly pointed out that we were only supposed to consider evidence presented at trial. We smiled and nodded 'yeah'...and then we all promptly voted to convict.

In another trial, where I was foreman, it was a drug charge. The actions of the cops were just so far over the line that enough of us in the jury were sufficiently offended at their actions that we turned the jury from an initial majority vote to convict to an ultimate unanimous vote to acquit. I still remember how shocked that kid was to hear the 'not guilty' verdict.

And, btw, I do remember when picking a jury for a civil trial, our attorney excusing an Asian farmer. He explained that for our purposes, 'farmer' and 'Asian' were too groups statistically favored to oppose us. I also remember us excusing jurors that were simply very unhappy to be there for various reasons. We didn't want anyone that viewed the trial as a major difficulty.