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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

TWELVE STUPID MEN (and or women)


TWELVE STUPID MEN (and or women)
This may not be my best post.  I never know what people will like, but I'm guessing this one ain't going viral.  Tuesday seems to be a slow blogging day so it might be a good day to slip by some losers. I've been sitting on this post for a while along with some other crappy posts, so I decided to start a new tradition. 
 
Welcome to the very first:
 
Cranky Crappy Post Tuesday 

I have served on jury duty several times.  Some people feel jury duty is an inconvenience, I never minded serving.  In fact, my problem with juries is that so many people feel they are above jury duty and manage to get out of it. 

Lots of really smart people never serve on a jury.  Policemen are almost always excluded, lawyers tend to be dismissed, teachers can opt out and doctors can prejudice many cases.  Defense lawyers like to summarily dismiss smart people as smart people tend to see through their smoke screen defenses.  Our system says that the accused will be tried by a jury of his peers.  Unless the accused is stupid he is seldom judged by his peers.

In addition to the general watered down intelligence of most jury pools, there is the “Twelve Angry Men” syndrome.  This was the famous movie where Henry Fonda saves an innocent man by systematically convincing eleven other jurors that there was reasonable doubt in the defendant’s guilt.

Because of this movie the concept of innocent beyond reasonable doubt has been interpreted as innocent beyond any possible shadow of doubt.

I once sat on a jury where the defendant was charged with a stabbing.  The defendant was seen arguing with the victim.   He left the scene and returned fifteen minutes later and was seen with a large knife.  The man that he was seen arguing with was stabbed.  The defendant was stopped and searched.  He was carrying a knife.  The knife had the victim’s blood on it.  The victim’s wound matched the knife size.

The accused claimed he was taking the knife to show to his cousin; the victim saw the knife and asked to see it and  while he was looking at it he accidentally cut his thumb (which matched a defensive wound on the victim.)  The accused then left for his cousins house (who wasn’t home) and how or who stabbed the victim he didn’t know.

The victim identified the accused as his assailant.

Two brain dead jurors insisted that lots of people could have matched the defendant’s description and the victim could be mistaken.  They thought the story of showing the knife and the victim accidentally cutting himself could possibly be true.

“Look, it’s not impossible that the victim made a bad identification and he forgot about the accidental cut after the trauma of being stabbed, I just don’t think we can convict as long as there is a shadow of doubt.”

Thanks Henry.

We finally did convict, but it took about twelve hours.

I was on another case where a person was assaulted and hurt at a skating rink.  He was suing the owner of the rink for damages.  I argued that the assault was in the parking lot after the rink was closed and it was a sudden and unpredictably event.  Surely you could not hold the rink owner responsible.

One juror genius argued that his neighbor was sued because someone slipped on his wet grass and that the law says, “If someone is hurt on your property regardless of how it happened, the property owner is liable for damages.”

“That’s not the law, that’s just ridiculous.”

“That’s the law, happened to my neighbor…besides he is probably covered by insurance.”

“Suppose he is covered for $100,000 and the injured is awarded $200,000 (we were to assign only guilt or innocence, not a cash award),  this guy could lose everything and there was no way for him to prevent the assault.”

“Well, that is the law!  He is liable.”

I sent a question out to the judge much to the objection of this juror.

“If a person is injured in any way, is the owner of the property where he was injured automatically liable?”

Two hours later we were called out of deliberation and told by the judge, “You are not to make any determination as to the owner’s liability in this case.”

I think my question made a determination of liability against the owner subject to a mistrial and the judge did not want to deal with that prospect.

I would not want to live in a country with another system of judging a person’s innocence or guilt, but the system could be even better if the juror pool was not so watered down by numbskulls.

“I object!”

“Objection over-ruled…OJ.”


I received the following in an email from my Fraternity brother Fast Freddy J.  

 The Jury





In a criminal justice system based on 12 individuals not smart enough to get out of jury duty, here is a jury to be proud of .. . .
A defendant was on trial for murder. There was strong evidence indicating guilt, but there was no corpse.

In the defenses closing statement, the lawyer, knowing that the accused would probably be convicted, gave a sly smile to his client then resorted to a trick.

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have a big surprise for you all," the lawyer said as he looked at his watch.

"Within one minute, the person presumed dead in this case will walk into this courtroom." He looked toward the courtroom door. The jurors, somewhat stunned, all looked on eagerly.

A minute passed. Nothing happened.

Finally the lawyer said, "Actually, I made up the previous statement but you all looked on with anticipation. I, therefore, put it to you that you have a reasonable doubt in this case as to whether anyone was killed, thus I have no doubt that you must return a verdict of not guilty."

The jury retired to deliberate.

A short while later, the jury returned and pronounced a verdict of guilty.

"But why?" inquired the lawyer.
"You must have had some doubt; I saw all of you stare at the door."

The jury foreman replied:

"Yes, WE did all look, BUT YOUR CLIENT DIDN'T!!
    


             

15 comments:

  1. Not at all crappy. :)

    I served on a jury just once.. something very similar to what you described with the knife attack. It lasted nearly two weeks and was thrown in the end because of the stupid behaviour of the THREE accused. So one crown attorney for the idiot victim and three defence attorneys. Plus one interpreter so everything took twice as long. I was beginning to wish they had succeeded in doing the (not at all nice) guy in.

    That joke was used in an old episode (that I just saw recently) of Homicide: Life on the Street. It might have been Law and Order.. it was a crossover episode.

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  2. We don't use the jury system here but I've had my fair share of dealing with the legal system. It is very ambiguous and absolutely nothing makes sense.

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  3. You need to think of a new name. I didn't find this Cranky Crappy Post Tuesday crappy at all!!

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  4. I'm with fishducky. Nothing crappy at all with this post. Well said, and your frat brother's anecdote was awesome.

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  5. i've been picked for a panel but never a jury. i dread the day i am as i take that duty very seriously. yikes!

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  6. If it makes ya think it's a good post.

    I served on two juries (and have been called more times than I care to think about),
    At the first trial we acquitted the defendant of the first charge (for which he was arrested) but found him guilty of all of the subsequent charges, including resisting.
    Stupid defendant.
    At the second trial we went all the way to deliberation, but were called out before we even elected a foreperson because the defendant accepted a plea.
    Probably a smart defendant (he was guilty as sin).
    The system is far from perfect, but it looks better than what anyone else has.

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  7. Out here we have reached a point here where, even when a jury convicts, there's no place for the guilty party until some other miscreant is released


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  8. I don't think it's a crappy post at all. I believe it is a duty of citizenship. Although I had an automatic exemption, I served anyway and was glad I did.

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  9. Not a crappy post in my opinion, but then my opinion rarely counts for much so take it as it is.

    I like the frat brothers story. Makes you wonder about the defense attorneys sometimes. And attorneys in general as far as that goes.

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  10. I was a juror once . . . it was a personal injury case. A car accident. The plaintiff was his own attorney. Big mistake. Talk about an idiot. Needless to say, he went home empty handed.

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  11. I agree with the others...not a crappy post at all.

    I've served on many juries, including one murder trial. I found them all very interesting, and often very frustrating. Like you pointed out, there are some real losers sitting on juries. But considering the other options, I still think we have the best system out there.

    S

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  12. I always get eliminated based on my profession in medicine. I wouldnt mind serving since everybody always accuses me of trying to get out of jury duty. Not my fault I swear. And Im sure by now someone has told you it was Henry Fonda not Jimmy Stewart. :)

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  13. I am a teacher, and could not get out of jury duty. The case was eminent domain, with a Columbo-like attorney for the State of Missouri. He was a crafty fellow. I have no doubt that his shiny, too-small suit was selected especially for that case. We country bumpkins were not impressed with the fancy city lawyer for the plaintiff.

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  14. I've been on jury duty a couple times, too, and although the sitting around in the crowd until you get picked is a little boring, I thought that actual trial and deliberations were fascinating. And now you're telling me I had that opportunity because I'm too dumb to get out of it? Pbbbbt!

    Oh, and this wasn't crappy at all. You're gonna have to try harder.

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  15. Agreed, if you want to write a crappy post then you will have to try harder!

    I've never been asked to do jury service but I hope that if i were then I would spend a little less time trying to be 'clever' than some do and actually listen to the evidence and base my decision on that.

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