Archive for the ‘Jury Duty’ Category

WHAT HAPPENED:  After a long trial about a topic that doesn’t matter for purposes of this summary, a civil jury returned with a verdict that was objectively wrong.  The judge, who is tasked with supervising these types of things, only realized the mistake after letting the jury leave the courtroom.  To avoid having to do the trial all over again, the judge brought the jury back in the room, corrected their mistake, made sure they didn’t talk to each other, and then asked them to amend their verdict.

WHY IS THIS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT:  Jurors are preserved in such a way that any nominal form of contamination of the jury process usually results in a mistrial.   Although this judge attempted to fix the problem, the appellant in this case feels like any dismissal should result in a new trial.

WHAT IS THE RULING:  This case is not yet decided.

WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS:  The only thing this case will decide is whether or not a jury can be saved after jury dismissal.  One side feels like it should be a balancing test that considers actual prejudice, whereas the other feels like we should have a bright line rule.  The only people this really affects in a broad way is judges, who both cause this issue and would have to fix this issue.

ROOT FOR DIETZ IF:  you like burning money.

ROOT FOR BOULDIN IF:  you would rather do something wrong once rather than re-do something a second time to make sure its right.

WHAT HAPPENED?
Defendant was convicted of murder and sentenced to the death penalty.  Defendant appealed on the basis that the prosecutors engaged in racial discrimination by purposefully removing any non-white jurors from the trial.
WHY IS THIS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT?
The Equal Protection Doctrine extends to peremptory challenges when selecting juries.  By way of background, lawyers are entitled to strike jurors down for any reason after the Court removes jurors who show evidence of bias.   In Batson v Kentucky, the Court held that attorneys could not use their challenges to specifically remove people based on race; however, the test used by the Court to vet this out isn’t perfect and requires to the Court to (1) infer racial prejudice against the attorney, or (2) have the lawyer admit to being racist on the record.  This case falls somewhere in the middle.
WHAT IS THE RULING
This case is not yet decided.
WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THIS DECISION?
It would be hard to see the Court revamping the Batson challenge all together, as this case really just decides whether or not the facts on the record amount to what the Court feels should result in a violation.  This case could instruct judges to take more deference when finding violations if a Batson challenge is found here, but that holding would have to trickle pretty far down the line to have any real effect.
YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR FOSTER (DEFENDANT) IF YOU:
Believe it is appropriate to make broad accusations of racism based on an hour’s worth of conduct.
YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR THE CHATMAN (STATE) IF YOU:
Don’t see the irony in the fact that the most famous instance of jury deliberations is called TWELVE ANGRY MEN and based on the picture above could be called TWELVE MOSTLY WHITE GUYS WHO ARE ALSO ALL DRESSED IN WHITE.

Stop scoffing at that title.  This week’s episode covers all aspects of the American Jury system, along with the current case of Warger v. Shauers, to help motivate you to celebrate, instead of cringe, when you receive your summons for jury duty.  Brett and Nazim also shed light on the seminal Family Matters episode where Urkel’s persistence in the jury room acquits a man unfairly charged with robbery. Libsyn link

Internet Enhanced Annotations (no endorsement implied):

  • Our Wargers v. Shauers case summary (coming soon).
  • Premium Steap tea store in Philadelphia.
  • Dean & Deluca, an expensive store, which sells coconut macaroons.
  • Expert witnesses in trials.
  • Juror FAQ of a Delaware court. Another one for a Pennsylvania court.
  • Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution.
  • Unanimity.
  • No racism in selecting juries.
  • Acquittal by Richard Gabriel (amazon Smile link).
  • Voir dire procedure in jury selection.
  • The power of jury nullification.
  • Case on which the Allen charge based.
  • Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b):
    • During an Inquiry into the Validity of a Verdict or Indictment.
      (1) Prohibited Testimony or Other Evidence. During an inquiry into the validity of a verdict or indictment, a juror may not testify about any statement made or incident that occurred during the jury’s deliberations; the effect of anything on that juror’s or another juror’s vote; or any juror’s mental processes concerning the verdict or indictment. The court may not receive a juror’s affidavit or evidence of a juror’s statement on these matters.(2) Exceptions. A juror may testify about whether:(A) extraneous prejudicial information was improperly brought to the jury’s attention;
      (B) an outside influence was improperly brought to bear on any juror; or
      (C) a mistake was made in entering the verdict on the verdict form.

Source: Gilbert, W. S. (1920), The Bab Ballads, with which are included Songs of a Savoyard, MacMillan and Co., Limited, London.

Legalization of Marijuana

Posted: January 18, 2015 by Nazim in Federalism, Jury Duty, Public Health, Standing

This week’s episode cover topics that include; but are not limited to, jury duty, learning when you hate your job, why cigarettes are awesome, federalism, standing, Bush v. Gore, and ultimately the legalization of marijuana.  Brett and Nazim talk about the legal issues surrounding this topic and how the decision could find itself before the Supreme Court in the next few years. Libsyn link

Free weed! Marijuana joint giveaway for those 21+ on the Pearl Street Mall today. Seriously.

Source: front page of a Boulder newspaper early 2014.