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The strength of our jury system

MaggieD

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Prosecution's Job: To convince 12 jury members to vote guilty.

Defense's Job: To convince 1 jury member to vote not guilty.

Barring prosecutorial misconduct, our judicial system couldn't be more fair to defendants.

Agree or disagree.
 

ttwtt78640

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Prosecution's Job: To convince 12 jury members to vote guilty.

Defense's Job: To convince 1 jury member to vote not guilty.

Barring prosecutorial misconduct, our judicial system couldn't be more fair to defendants.

Agree or disagree.

That system (actually having a trial by a jury of one's peers) is the rare exception and not the general rule in the current US "just us" system.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/opinion/sunday/go-to-trial-crash-the-justice-system.html?_r=0

Criminal Courts – What Would Happen if Everyone Arrested Demanded a Trial of their Peers?
 

radcen

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Prosecution's Job: To convince 12 jury members to vote guilty.

Defense's Job: To convince 1 jury member to vote not guilty.

Barring prosecutorial misconduct, our judicial system couldn't be more fair to defendants.

Agree or disagree.

Agree in theory, disagree in practical application.

It sounds great, doesn't it? It sounds like it just oozes with checks and balances and all that other "we want to be super sure" noble stuff.

If it were "one and done", as in one trial, that would be one thing. The reality is that many, if not most, trials that end in a hung jury are declared a mistrial and the defendent is re-tried... and it is not uncommon for this to continue over and over until the prosecution eventually finds the right 12 jurors to gain that desired guilty verdict. That is not the level playing field that errs on the side of caution (presumed innocence) that it is portrayed to be.

Then, add in the fact that many defendants, even if truly and formally acquitted, then get other charges such as federal civil rights abuses thrown at them, and it gets even worse. After the fact, not concurrent, as if it is a purely punitive measure for having the audacity to be acquitted at all. How dare they thwart the prosecutor's need to be righteously pious! (Probably more high profile cases, and not so much routine stuff you never hear about)
 

nota bene

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I have great faith in the judgment of one's peers. I will admit that I don't understand the states such as Florida that require only a 6-person jury in non-capital murder cases, but even in a recent and notorious case, that 6-woman jury did an honorable job, IMO.
 

TiredOfLife

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I have great faith in the judgment of one's peers. I will admit that I don't understand the states such as Florida that require only a 6-person jury in non-capital murder cases, but even in a recent and notorious case, that 6-woman jury did an honorable job, IMO.
Funny, I have no faith in the system. It's the best in the world, and it still sucks. It's why I will never sit on a jury in any case, and they ask more often than you would be believe. On one side you have those saying he's the devil, on the other an angel, and the truth is nearly always in the middle. That part gets left out.
 

radcen

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Funny, I have no faith in the system. It's the best in the world, and it still sucks. It's why I will never sit on a jury in any case, and they ask more often than you would be believe. On one side you have those saying he's the devil, on the other an angel, and the truth is nearly always in the middle. That part gets left out.

So... you think the system sucks, so you refuse to participate and make at least your little corner of the world better.

Stay classy. :roll:
 

TiredOfLife

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So... you think the system sucks, so you refuse to participate and make at least your little corner of the world better.

Stay classy. :roll:
It means I am staying true to my decision after a great deal of thought. It's odd that you would have issues with that? Shouldn't that be the norm?
 

Paschendale

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Our system is a good one, but there's always room for improvement. Preemptive strikes can keep qualified and intelligent people off of a jury because they're less likely to be manipulated. Far too many jurors take the default position of guilt and need to be convinced of innocence. Many crimes are not decided by 12 jurors, and unanimity is not always required. Too often a case can be decided on emotional grounds, rather than the facts. And then there's the way that most criminal cases are just drug offenses and are plead out. There's not a whole lot of justice involved there.

It means I am staying true to my decision after a great deal of thought. It's odd that you would have issues with that? Shouldn't that be the norm?


No, if you disapprove of the way things are, you should try to change them. Don't rely on someone else to do it. If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.
 

radcen

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It means I am staying true to my decision after a great deal of thought. It's odd that you would have issues with that? Shouldn't that be the norm?
I find it interesting that you want other people to sacrifice for the common good when it comes to gay issues and the Olympics, but you are unwilling to make your own individual sacrifice for the common good when it comes to something like jury duty.
 

sawyerloggingon

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The jury I hung didn't give me a lot of faith in the jury system. Everyone but me was saying how the guy was a sleaze bag and deserved to go to jail even though there was no evidence he committed the crime he was accused of. He was a scum bag and did deserve to be in jail but IMO that's not the way a jury should deliberate.
 

Fisher

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In my area if you know you are going to be found gullty of something, you are better off with a bench trial. Our jurors do okay on the guilt/innocence thing but are not merciful when it comes to sentencing.
 

radcen

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The jury I hung didn't give me a lot of faith in the jury system. Everyone but me was saying how the guy was a sleaze bag and deserved to go to jail even though there was no evidence he committed the crime he was accused of. He was a scum bag and did deserve to be in jail but IMO that's not the way a jury should deliberate.
I agree, but somebody needs to have a backbone and stand for reason.

Of course I say that as I have only served on one jury and in that particular case even I was convinced he was guilty as hell, so my backbone never had to be tested.
 

radcen

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In my area if you know you are going to be found gullty of something, you are better off with a bench trial. Our jurors do okay on the guilt/innocence thing but are not merciful when it comes to sentencing.

Just my personal opinion, but I don't think jurors should be in charge of sentencing. At all. Guilt/not guilt only.

I believe this is something that varies from state to state.
 

MaggieD

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It means I am staying true to my decision after a great deal of thought. It's odd that you would have issues with that? Shouldn't that be the norm?

The "norm" should be that everyone is willing to do their civic duty. Because it's inconvenient? Because it's not perfect? Wrong reasons to abdicate one's responsibilities.
 

Fisher

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Just my personal opinion, but I don't think jurors should be in charge of sentencing. At all. Guilt/not guilt only.

I believe this is something that varies from state to state.

Well technically in our state the jury just "recommends" the sentence, but the judges almost never vary from what they "suggest" so it is a distinction with no practical difference. Personally, I think it is two-fold: it is a way for the Courts to discourage people from having jury trials as they are time sucks on the Court's docket; and, they are afraid that they could be creating arguments on appeal related to how the judge exercised his/her discretion during the guilt/innocence phase in light of what they did with altering the sentence.
 

TiredOfLife

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The "norm" should be that everyone is willing to do their civic duty. Because it's inconvenient? Because it's not perfect? Wrong reasons to abdicate one's responsibilities.
I'd like to agree with you but my conscience won't let me. "But I was just doing my duty" is not enough for me if someone is wrongly convicted.
 

TiredOfLife

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I find it interesting that you want other people to sacrifice for the common good when it comes to gay issues and the Olympics, but you are unwilling to make your own individual sacrifice for the common good when it comes to something like jury duty.
Not going to the Olympics is not the same thing as living with the thought for the rest of your life that you convicted an innocent person. One is missing a premiere sporting event, one is going against your conscience. Those are not even in the same league.

What you are asking of gay athletes is put yourself at risk of attest and prosecution in a country where the US cannot protect you, and while you're there please don't be yourself because over there you're a criminal. I'll stick with my way thanks all the same.
 

radcen

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I'd like to agree with you but my conscience won't let me. "But I was just doing my duty" is not enough for me if someone is wrongly convicted.
I get the wrongfully convicted aspect, absolutely. That is one of my Top 3 pet issues.

I prefer, however, to view myself as one of the checks-and-balances to a steamroller justice system. At least as much as I can be, given how my information as a juror might be limited, and so on.


Not going to the Olympics is not the same thing as living with the thought for the rest of your life that you convicted an innocent person. One is missing a premiere sporting event, one is going against your conscience. Those are not even in the same league.

What you are asking of gay athletes is put yourself at risk of attest and prosecution in a country where the US cannot protect you, and while you're there please don't be yourself because over there you're a criminal. I'll stick with my way thanks all the same.
The two issues aren't really the same. One, the athletes do have free will of their own, and can be easily educated regarding the concerns and dangers. If they don't already know.

Two, the Olympics is actually the lesser of the issues. Potential for wrongful conviction is far more important. Yet, you're willing to abdicate your responsibility for the important issue, then subject others to your whims on the lesser issue.
 

TiredOfLife

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I get the wrongfully convicted aspect, absolutely. That is one of my Top 3 pet issues.

I prefer, however, to view myself as one of the checks-and-balances to a steamroller justice system. At least as much as I can be, given how my information as a juror might be limited, and so on.



The two issues aren't really the same. One, the athletes do have free will of their own, and can be easily educated regarding the concerns and dangers. If they don't already know.

Two, the Olympics is actually the lesser of the issues. Potential for wrongful conviction is far more important. Yet, you're willing to abdicate your responsibility for the important issue, then subject others to your whims on the lesser issue.
What you think of yourself doesn't fix an easily corrupted system that has a significant rate of false convictions. And Civil Rights are no lesser issue. Just because the symbol of that is now the Olympic Games doesn't change the fact that in life you often have to take a stand.

You guys keep asking me to see this though the eyes of the athlete, so let's do that with two of them, one gay and one straight, and both have worked and waited for years for this chance. Straight guy, get on the bus just don't break their laws. Gay guy, you'd better stay here because just by being there you are very close to breaking their laws and god forbid you actually show who you are which will very likely get you arrested because they have already said they would do that. Yeah, that sounds fair.

Remember what I said about that, that life is unfair. Well the only fair thing to do is to move the games. After that it's everyone stays home and Russia can play with itself. And after that it's we stay home because we don't allow our athletes to be threaten simply because they are gay. If the rules were no women, no blacks, no Jews, or no Christians I'm quite sure you would be on my side.
 

Thoreau72

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Prosecution's Job: To convince 12 jury members to vote guilty.

Defense's Job: To convince 1 jury member to vote not guilty.

Barring prosecutorial misconduct, our judicial system couldn't be more fair to defendants.

Agree or disagree.

Well no, the job/goal of the defense attorney is to persuade the jury to acquit the defendant, not hang the jury. Though depending upon the case, a hung jury could be a good thing. But the prosecution gets to try again.

If we study the court's words in Berger v. U.S. 295 US 78, the purpose and obligations of our criminal justice system become rational and apparent:

"The US Attorney is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done. As such, he is in a peculiar and very definite sense the servant of the law, the twofold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer."
 

CanadaJohn

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Prosecution's Job: To convince 12 jury members to vote guilty.

Defense's Job: To convince 1 jury member to vote not guilty.

Barring prosecutorial misconduct, our judicial system couldn't be more fair to defendants.

Agree or disagree.

I'm not sure I agree with this entirely Maggie, since in my view the defense's primary job is to convince all 12 jurors to vote not guilty. Without that, the fallback position would be to have a deadlocked jury, but with far more than one vote for not guilty so that the prosecution would have to think long and hard about retrying the case. Just one holdout will surely lead to the defendant being tried again at additional cost to him/her. But then, the defense lawyer(s) may be just fine with that.

I do agree, however, that the balance is tipped in the defendant's favor, as it should be - the government, after all, has the power of the public purse to back it up. Only when the truly rich are on trial are the resource scales somewhat balanced.
 

iliveonramen

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Prosecution's Job: To convince 12 jury members to vote guilty.

Defense's Job: To convince 1 jury member to vote not guilty.

Barring prosecutorial misconduct, our judicial system couldn't be more fair to defendants.

Agree or disagree.

Well for the most part the cards are stacked against defendants. All you ever see on TV is someone being defended by an expensive team of lawyers or pro-bono by an expensive law firm. The majority of time as TTW mentioned it's plea's or public defenders.
 

Dapper Andy

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Agree in theory, disagree in practical application.

It sounds great, doesn't it? It sounds like it just oozes with checks and balances and all that other "we want to be super sure" noble stuff.

If it were "one and done", as in one trial, that would be one thing. The reality is that many, if not most, trials that end in a hung jury are declared a mistrial and the defendent is re-tried... and it is not uncommon for this to continue over and over until the prosecution eventually finds the right 12 jurors to gain that desired guilty verdict. That is not the level playing field that errs on the side of caution (presumed innocence) that it is portrayed to be.

Then, add in the fact that many defendants, even if truly and formally acquitted, then get other charges such as federal civil rights abuses thrown at them, and it gets even worse. After the fact, not concurrent, as if it is a purely punitive measure for having the audacity to be acquitted at all. How dare they thwart the prosecutor's need to be righteously pious! (Probably more high profile cases, and not so much routine stuff you never hear about)

Do you have a source for this?

It's hard for me to believe that could be the case. If so, that's a horrendous abuse of power.
 

Fisher

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Do you have a source for this?

It's hard for me to believe that could be the case. If so, that's a horrendous abuse of power.

The hung jury rate is pretty low. I have never seen stats on the number of cases that go to a second trial, but I have seen some that suggests when there is one in a criminal case, the majority of the jurors were on the side of guilt in the case and that the criminal juries are more likely to be unable to reach unanimous decisions than civil juries, not that it happens often.
 
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