March 6, 2017

"I think he did it because he’s Mexican, and Mexican men take whatever they want.'

Said the juror in the case the Supreme Court decided today, reported at the NYT as "Jury Secrecy Doesn’t Apply if Marred by Bias, Supreme Court Rules."

101 comments:

Matthew Sablan said...

I... I don't know how I feel about this. On the one hand, making sure that the jurors are deciding things based on the facts of the case is important. But, the jury box's secrecy is almost as sacred as the ballot box's secrecy.

Maybe once I can click through and read the whole story I'll have a more well-formed opinion.

chuck said...

I think the opinion opens the door to all sorts of manipulation, feuding, and leaks to newspapers. Sad!

mockturtle said...

Yes, it might have been revealing to hear the jury deliberations in the OJ trial, for instance. Couldn't have been any racial bias by the black female majority against a white woman victim who had married a black man. Such resentment simply doesn't exist./sarc

Michael K said...

My question is whether the offending juror was also Mexican. He/She would know about Mexican men.

Hagar said...

Yup. They have found a new "right" that can be stretched in all kinds of directions depending on the fashions of the moment.

YoungHegelian said...

This is a Pandora's box all sides will regret got opened.

This will be cheered by white liberals who think that only white people say stupid, racist, & hateful things. This ruling will provide yet more examples that no, that isn't the case.

rhhardin said...

There's bias and then there's Bayesean statistics. One's called irrational and the other is rational.

How out of line is his calculation, is the only real question.

Verdicts are reasonable doubt, not certainty.

Levi Starks said...

"When evidence emerges"
Exactly how does evidence emerge from secret deliberations?
This ruling enlarges the jury of 12 to the jury of the infinite.
This ruling opens every past case up to inspection,
Send out the journalists to interview every juror in every case where the defendant was not a middle aged white man.

Matthew Sablan said...

Hagar: I'm reading this as curtailing a right, not finding a new one (the right jurors normally have to privacy in their deliberation can now be discarded if they use racism/bias.)

Drago said...

YoungHegelian: "This is a Pandora's box all sides will regret got opened.

This will be cheered by white liberals who think that only white people say stupid, racist, & hateful things. This ruling will provide yet more examples that no, that isn't the case."

Agreed. We will be seeing quite a few "unintended consequences" piling up and they will gore many oxen.

Drago said...

Levi Starks: "Exactly how does evidence emerge from secret deliberations?"

Usually from unnamed sources in clandestine services leaking information to left-wing media outlets.

Michael K said...

I was testifying in a med-mal case in New York City when the jury sent out a message to the judge asking that one juror be required to bathe because he smelled so bad they could not stay in the jury room with him. They threatened a mistrial.

That would make a nice NY Post story.

Levi Starks said...

Judges will have to create a new set of jury instructions to cover instances in which jury instructions are not obeyed.

n.n said...

[class] diversity claims two more victims.

John Tuffnell said...

We have a constitutional right to an impartial jury. It says so right in the text of the 6th amendment. There is no constitutional right to jury secrecy. If the two concepts collide, then the constitutional right wins.

So a juror deciding based on ethnicity and nothing else is a form of fraud that should result in a mistrial. The question will be to what extent bias has to play to result in a constitutionally defective result. Did this juror really base the decision on ethnicity and nothing else?

I presume the other interest groups are gearing up to get their place at the table. The likelihood of this exception being limited to race and ethnicity is slim.

LarsPorsena said...

It's great that the SCOTUS has protected me from biased jurors but what protects me from biased judges?

Larvell said...

The only thing we can say with certainty is that this ruling is narrowly applicable to the specific facts, and will not in any way open up a can of worms.

Fernandinande said...

"Miguel Angel Peña Rodriguez worked as a horse keeper at a horse-racing track. In May of 2007, a man sexually harassed two teenage girls in the women’s restroom of the horse-racing track. The girls later identified Peña Rodriguez as the assailant, and he was charged with attempted sexual assault on a child, unlawful sexual contact, and two counts of harassment."
...
After trial, defense counsel spoke to two jurors who revealed that a juror (“Juror H.C.”) expressed bias against Peña Rodriguez and the defense’s witness “because they were Hispanic.” Defense counsel obtained affidavits from the two jurors that recounted Juror H.C.’s comments, including statements that Peña Rodriguez “did it because he’s Mexican and Mexican men take whatever they want” and “nine times out of ten Mexican men were guilty of being aggressive toward women and young girls.” Juror H.C. also allegedly found the defense’s witness to not be credible because “he was ‘an illegal.’”

damikesc said...

This is a really, really bad idea. We've seen, for years, how "bias" has been defined down to "not celebrating something".

This decision just insures that jurors will never again actually discuss a case they are deciding. I guess that is somehow preferable.

So a juror deciding based on ethnicity and nothing else is a form of fraud that should result in a mistrial. The question will be to what extent bias has to play to result in a constitutionally defective result. Did this juror really base the decision on ethnicity and nothing else?

Let's say a case involves a gay married couple. Let's say one of the jurors discusses and argues their view in the chamber completely without ANY semblance of bias...but it, turns out, that they privately oppose gay marriage.

Would THAT be enough to open up the jury chamber? We all know it eventually will.

All this does is make jury trials nearly impossible. As a juror, I'd say "no" to all cases, never explain why, and never change my statement.

damikesc said...

After trial, defense counsel spoke to two jurors who revealed that a juror (“Juror H.C.”) expressed bias against Peña Rodriguez and the defense’s witness “because they were Hispanic.” Defense counsel obtained affidavits from the two jurors that recounted Juror H.C.’s comments, including statements that Peña Rodriguez “did it because he’s Mexican and Mexican men take whatever they want” and “nine times out of ten Mexican men were guilty of being aggressive toward women and young girls.” Juror H.C. also allegedly found the defense’s witness to not be credible because “he was ‘an illegal.’”

There wasn't a recording? It was a claim by two jurors with no evidence behind it? Gee, that won't lead to problems of jurors being bribed to do the same thing in the future...

Fernandinande said...

“[The defendant] did it because he’s Mexican and Mexican men take whatever they want.”

“[The defendant] was guilty because in [Juror H.C.’s] experience as an ex-law enforcement officer, Mexican men had a bravado that caused them to believe they could do whatever they wanted with women.”

“Mexican men [are] physically controlling of women because they have a sense of entitlement and they think they can ‘do whatever they want’ with women.’”

“[W]here [Juror H.C. used to patrol], nine times out of ten Mexican men were guilty of being aggressive toward women and young girls.”

“[T]he alibi witness [wasn’t] credible because, among other things, he was ‘an illegal.’”[15]

chuck said...

"We have a constitutional right to an impartial jury."

Unfortunately, there is no such thing. Add the fact that "impartial" is a term whose meaning depends on individual interpretation, and life becomes complicated. I suspect the original meaning of the term may have been more precise, but this ruling seems to interpret it in a very broad context. A jury of ones peers is more concrete and secrecy is a much simpler rule than impartiality.

The Godfather said...

So 1 bigot and 11 nonbigots agree that the defendant committed 3 misdemeanors. It's a little hard for me to figure out how the defendant was harmed by the bigotry. I suppose he now gets a new trial. Given that the jury hung on the felony, is he retried on that? Or only on the misdemeanors?

mockturtle said...

This kind of pussy bullshit has got to stop. Face it: A jury of one's peers is likely to include a bigot or two. Your attorney will no doubt try to keep them off the jury IF their bigotry is not in your favor. See my previous post re the OJ trial.

Matthew Sablan said...

Is there a method for jurors to raise concerns BEFORE they render a verdict that one of the jurors should be disqualified (like if they find out, somehow, that a juror is actually a close friend of the defendant?)

Unknown said...

So all. Deliberations are no longer secret. Nice, we get to have PC in the deliberation room. When will the juror then be sued in a civil suit?

The left side of the Supreme Court is insane.

Drago said...

mockturtle: "A jury of one's peers is likely to include a bigot or two"

You would be on very safe arguing that every 12 person jury contains at least 12 bigots.

Sebastian said...

Opens up a new prog battlefront. As if we don't have enough.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows. Oh, and also trial court judges--they know, too, after a few questions.
Did you vote guilty? Ok, cool--now explain exactly why you voted that way. We'll hook you up to a lie detector and ask some questions to find out...sure hope it wasn't in any way due to some bias you have.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

You know what courthouses need? Political commissars! Make sure everyone's educated, see, and everyone's ideologically correct. It's the only way to be sure..and if we can't be sure individuals aren't biased then how can any trial be fair?

harrogate said...


"My question is whether the offending juror was also Mexican. He/She would know about Mexican men"

Does anyone have any doubt whether Michael K. would write or agree with this sentence if you replaced "Mexican" with "white" both times?

No, no one has any doubt on that question.

Michael K. is a bigot. Sad!

Michael K said...

harrogate is immune to sarcasm. Good to know.

“[The defendant] was guilty because in [Juror H.C.’s] experience as an ex-law enforcement officer, Mexican men had a bravado that caused them to believe they could do whatever they wanted with women.”

This is what voir dire is supposed to be about.

harrogate missed a great chance at virtue signaling when he/she missed a chance to be on the OJ jury.

David said...

So are jurors who file false affidavits subject to libel claims?

More work for lawyers, however you slice it.

Freeman Hunt said...

Isn't this why you get 12 jurors? Enough for the regular people to overwhelm the kooks.

Mark Jones said...

Juror Foreman: "Okay, Juror 7, what's your opinion."
"I vote to acquit."
JF: "Why?"
J7: "I refuse to say. That's my opinion. That's all you need. That's all you get."
JF: "But why?"
J7: "Because anything I say can and will be used against me in a court of law. I can't say what I think, or why, because someone, somewhere will be offended and accuse me of bias. Therefore, my thinking must remain a 'black box' from which you get the result AND ONLY the result. I vote to acquit."

Rabel said...

An interesting aside is that the majority limited this decision to "racial" bias. In order to apply that to this particular case they had to go on record as identifying "Hispanic" as a racial category.

A brief and tortured explanation of this is on page 5 and 6 of the decision.

boycat said...

What if the juror said, "I think he's innocent, because he's Mexican, and a Mexican would never do such a thing. Only white people do that" Would that be tossed out too?

Todd said...

boycat said...

What if the juror said, "I think he's innocent, because he's Mexican, and a Mexican would never do such a thing. Only white people do that" Would that be tossed out too?

3/6/17, 12:54 PM


LOL! Good one!

Yancey Ward said...

In my opinion, the two jurors failed in their duties by agreeing to the verdicts before letting people know about the third juror's biases.

All in all, I think the case was decided appropriately given the circumstances- it is a basis for mistrial- I think one has to take on faith that the affidavits were truthful, especially given that they also thought the defendant was guilty and decided that way.

Does it open a can worms? I doubt it, though there might be added pressure on former jurors going forward, but I don't think jurors will bend to it unless there is a good and just reason to do so, as I suspect happened in the case at hand.

Yancey Ward said...

boycat said...

"What if the juror said, "I think he's innocent, because he's Mexican, and a Mexican would never do such a thing. Only white people do that" Would that be tossed out too?"

A not guilty verdict would not be tossed, but if the jurors reported the statement before the verdict was issued, such a juror might well be replaced.

AllenS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllenS said...

The last jury I was on was about 4 years ago. I couldn't believe how much hatred 3 or 4 of the jurors had for the police, and I do mean hate. Afterwards, I'm pretty sure that the jury foreman had looked up info on a computer about the defendant. I was home before I realized that he had actually stated that the defendant had a counter-claim against the police in the jury room. The foreman was one of the haters.

mockturtle said...

Juries are scary, anyway. My only experience on one was many years ago and I vowed that, if were ever charged with a crime, I would waive a jury if innocent and confess if guilty.

Achilles said...

Mark Jones said...
Juror Foreman: "Okay, Juror 7, what's your opinion."
"I vote to acquit."
JF: "Why?"
J7: "I refuse to say. That's my opinion. That's all you need. That's all you get."
JF: "But why?"
J7: "Because anything I say can and will be used against me in a court of law. I can't say what I think, or why, because someone, somewhere will be offended and accuse me of bias. Therefore, my thinking must remain a 'black box' from which you get the result AND ONLY the result. I vote to acquit."


Exactly. No conviction will stand for long if jurists actually discuss the case among themselves. Within a year there will be no deliberations allowed.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Mexican is not a race.

People have biases all the time about all sorts of things. The take aways from this article and the Supreme Court ruling are

1. Lie. Keep your mouth shut. Keep a stone face when in the jury pool and do NOT be honest about anything.

Or alternately.

2. Just be up front and admit to bias, whether I have it or not.....and...TA DAH....never have to serve on a jury again. "Gee...I just don't think I can be impartial because. .......Choose one: People who have tattoos are all scum and probably on welfare too! If you are from Mexico, you are probably an illegal alien drug dealer!. Black people are on the left hand side of the Bell Curve, dumber than a bag of hammers and criminals to boot!. Divorced parents? Live on the wrong side of town? Public housing? Wow....the list of potential biases is just endless.

The last time I was selected to be on a jury, I got kicked off because I made fun of the defense attorney for making stupid repetitive statements and asking a general question that was just asking for it. All the other people in the jury pool and in the room laughed. I even made the judge laugh out loud and have to hide his face from everyone with my smart ass remark.

The other time I got kicked was because I told the prosecuting attorney, when asked if I had ever had contact with the DA's office, that they were useless, they refused to contact us when we had a complaint of embezzlement of an employee in a public utility district. We fired the employee and I was on the Board of Directors at the time. The claim was submitted by myself, 2 other board members and several citizens who had evidence. Not only did they wait 6 months to even contact any of us, it allowed the perp to hide the evidence and move away. Useless as tits on a boar. They did NOTHING and took months to do it. So... surprise. He kicked me.

I should have just used the I'm a bigoted deplorable irredeemable Trump voter excuse. It would have been easier. I will in the next time I'm called for jury duty.

mockturtle said...

The problem, DBQ, is that smart, honest people get excused and that leaves...the others.
IMO, most people who want to serve on juries are the same kinds of people who like to answer polls.

William said...

I suppose you could say that the juror's wrong doing involved not his bigotry but his open bigotry. He should have been more subtle in expressing himself...........If bigotry is made some kind of unspeakable vice, like homosexuality used to be, does that serve to eradicate bigotry or simply to make bigots more covert and evasive.

Michael K said...

I was on a jury pool in Newport Beach where half the residents are contractors and developers.

In voir dire, the attorney for the plaintiff asked if anyone had been sued. All the hands went up.

It eventually ended with a mistrial in voir dire.

It was an obviously fraudulent lawsuit with the plaintiff and defendant in cahoots. Insurance scam.

rcocean said...

"I don't understand you people! Look, you know how these people lie! It's born in them! I mean what the heck? I don't even have to tell you. They don't know what the truth is! And, lemme tell you, they don't need any real big reason to kill someone, either! No sir! You know, they get drunk... oh, they're very big drinkers, all of 'em, and bang: someone's lyin' in the gutter. Oh, nobody's blaming them for it. That's how they are! By nature! You know what I mean? VIOLENT! Human life don't mean as much to them as it does to us! Hey! Where are you going? [Beginning to sound desperate] Look, these people're lushing it up and fighting all the time and if somebody gets killed, so somebody gets killed! They don't care! Oh, sure, there are some good things about 'em, too. Look, I'm the first one to say that

Juror 10 - Biased against Democrats.

mockturtle said...

Oh, sure, there are some good things about 'em, too. Look, I'm the first one to say that

I'm still working on that one...

HoodlumDoodlum said...

You know what's really scary, though? Unconscious bias. You all need to THINK DEEPLY about why you feel the way you feel, why you value the things you value, and so on.
Lots of you are extra-super-biased...and you may not even realize it. Most of you, probably.

Well, how can person X get a fair trial when the jurors are so biased?! Sure they may SAY they're impartial and fair and unbiased, and heck, they may even THINK they are...but my sociology professor says everyone here is racist/sexist/homophobic/xenophobic/horribly biased, so any jury made up of you people is definitely packed with biased jurors.

Kinda makes me question the whole justice system, really. Or should I say "justice" system? You people are a menace.

William Chadwick said...

Don't know if that statement about Mexican men taking what they want is true (I try to steer clear of generalities, especially when not backed by some research); but if Mexican men wanted to defend themselves against the charge, they could say, "Well, it's our culture." I've noticed how often whites or anglos will make general statements about people of other cultures, and the statements will be dismissed as mere prejudice. But if the same generalization is made by members of that same, allegedly slandered group, and is followed by "but it's our culture," then it's okay.

A good example was when, in (I think) San Francisco, it was determined that a majority of noise complaints phoned into the police were against people of Hispanic heritage. Spokespeople for Hispanics offered the defense, "That's just our culture;" and some "liberal" nithead of a judge decided the complaint was valid. I don't know what the result of that ruling was: follow up on fewer of the noise complaints? Have a kind of affirmative action policy whereby the number of noise complaints involving Hispanic neighborhoods should equal the number of noise complaints in Anglo neighborhoods? But was interesting to me is that i9f an Anglo said, "Hispanics are noisy--it's their culture," he'd be considered Archie Bunker.

There was also the case of Michael Vick's prosecution for dog fighting. Jamie Foxx said, "It's a cultural thing." Apparently Foxx saw cruelty to animals as endemic to African-American culture. But if a Caucasian said that, there'd be Hell to pay.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

You think you hold libertarian beliefs because you've thought about the issues and your values and you think that ideology fits best with reality, political philosophy, and your own ideals as you understand those things. I mean, maybe some of that's true...but you should admit that part of it must be your own racism, too. People who were the victims of racist beliefs don't agree with much of libertarianism, so they must sense the racist underpinnings of libertarianism and by extension libertarians. That's science.

Even if you think you're not biased, too bad--you're a racist/sexist/bigot. If you admit you are, well, at least you're "woke," but if you protest that you're not that means you're an irredeemable deplorable.

Everyone in America has a right to be tried by a jury of non-deplorables.

Robert Cook said...

"Yes, it might have been revealing to hear the jury deliberations in the OJ trial, for instance. Couldn't have been any racial bias by the black female majority against a white woman victim who had married a black man. Such resentment simply doesn't exist."

There's a distinction: in the Simpson case a probably guilty man was acquitted of a crime. In the case of the Mexican man the defendant was convicted.

If the evidence in the case of the Mexican man was sufficient and compelling to convince the jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that he was guilty, the one juror's remark, however ignorant and indicative of the juror's racism, can and should be disregarded. If the facts were inconclusive and the racist comment somehow influenced the jury's verdict (or exemplified the state of mind of several or many of the jurors), I think the conviction should be vacated and a new trial ordered.

It is always better that a guilty defendant be acquitted than an innocent one be convicted.

Jupiter said...

“Not every offhand comment indicating racial bias or hostility will justify” an investigation into jurors’ deliberations, Justice Kennedy wrote. “For the inquiry to proceed, there must be a showing that one or more jurors made statements exhibiting overt racial bias that cast serious doubt on the fairness and impartiality of the jury’s deliberations and resulting verdict.”

What bullshit. What he means is, "We will no longer accept guilty verdicts when the defendant is a member of a protected class."

You want justice? Get a gun. Get two.

Robert Cook said...

"What if the juror said, 'I think he's innocent, because he's Mexican, and a Mexican would never do such a thing. Only white people do that' Would that be tossed out too?"

No, not if the defendant were acquitted, (even if the comment influenced the acquittal). The scales are properly tipped to the rights of the defendant, and an acquittal of a guilty man cannot be rescinded, while a guilty verdict of an innocent or possibly innocent defendant can be.

DanTheMan said...

Great. Just what we need: Politically correct juries.
People who can't decide who is male and who is female are going to be asked to decide "guilty" or "not guilty".

This will end well.


Robert Cook said...

"Great. Just what we need: Politically correct juries."

It's not about having politically correct juries, but impartial juries. This is why voir dire is an important part of the jury selection process, to weed out those with opinions on the case that are predisposed in one direction or the other.

One biased juror does not an impartial jury make, but there is reason to be concerned if the one openly biased juror reflects the views of several other covertly biased jurors.

Jupiter said...

Robert Cook said...

"No, not if the defendant were acquitted, (even if the comment influenced the acquittal). The scales are properly tipped to the rights of the defendant, and an acquittal of a guilty man cannot be rescinded, while a guilty verdict of an innocent or possibly innocent defendant can be."

"properly"? Nonsense. You are arguing, as those on the Left generally do, as if the courts were an enemy of society, and any defendant snatched from their grasp is a battle won. A court system that cannot protect children from rapists because it is more concerned with protecting Mexicans from racial(?) discrimination is an open invitation to vigilantism. Get a gun. You're going to need it. We all will. The courts have declared impotence. The police have folded their arms. If you want justice, or even just a modicum of safety as you go about your affairs, get a gun.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

This is why voir dire is an important part of the jury selection process, to weed out those with opinions on the case that are predisposed in one direction or the other.

We were involved in this portion of a trial that we were parties to. Selecting the jury. It was quite a fascinating and involved process. Trying to guess which of the prospective jurors would be favorable to our side based on the questions that we were able to ask and those that the opposing side asked. It was like playing a game of strategy, chess or other type of game where you only have so many moves.

As a final question, our attorney would ask.....do you have bumper stickers on your vehicle and what are they? If not, why not? This surprised the prospective jurors and caused some amusement in the courtroom. However, it was the most telling part of the process. What a person chooses to put onto their car to advertise their thoughts or why they don't made a really big part of our decision to keep or kick.

Jupiter said...

Robert Cook said...

"This is why voir dire is an important part of the jury selection process, to weed out those with opinions on the case that are predisposed in one direction or the other."

No, Cookie. They had voir dire, in this case as in every jury case. But one bite at the apple was not enough to get this baby-raper off. So, the Supine Court will require two bites at the apple. Can anyone doubt that more bites will be forthcoming, until the correct result is achieved?

I don't see how Justice Kennedy could have made his instructions any clearer. "Get a gun", he ruled.

DanTheMan said...

>> It's not about having politically correct juries, but impartial juries.

Impartial as defined by..... who? You are trying to define the bounds of what is acceptable deliberation, and what isn't.

This is why we require verdicts to be unanimous. That's protection enough against the occasional bad juror.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"Can't Get Enough"
Bad Company

Well I take whatever I want
And baby I want you
You give me something I need
Now tell me I got something for you

...

boycat said...

Yancie Ward, color me a cynic, but somehow I can't help but believe that with a white person in the dock, with an otherwise obviously guilty case proven against him, if it was later learned a white juror said in deliberations, "I think he's innocent, because he's white, and only blacks and Mexicans do such things," and he was acquitted by the jury, the 4 libtards on SCOTUS would vote to toss that verdict too.

The Cracker Emcee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Achilles said...

Robert Cook said...

No, not if the defendant were acquitted, (even if the comment influenced the acquittal). The scales are properly tipped to the rights of the defendant, and an acquittal of a guilty man cannot be rescinded, while a guilty verdict of an innocent or possibly innocent defendant can be.

I generally side with the accused and against the state.

But what you are talking about is going to lead to vigilantism. If enough people start getting off because of purported racism this will lead to more racial division as well as extrajudicial activity which is also the goal.

Richard said...

Now let me get this straight: In a case where the top charge, a felony, is effectively beaten;
where the guilty verdicts were for misdemeanors, and to boot; where the sentence is a marsmallow---deep breath---SCOTUS is asked its opinion? And gives it!? This case must have had a series of Rabbis all the way along the line from before the trial lawyer even. This was well played. Another Roe perhaps. Oh, and Goddamn Justice Kennedy.

Robert Cook said...

"Impartial as defined by..... who? You are trying to define the bounds of what is acceptable deliberation, and what isn't."

I'm not trying to define anything. This is the goal of the jury system, to try to select impartial jurors, insofar as they can be determined to be impartial, and to weed out those with predisposed opinions.

Robert Cook said...

"This is why we require verdicts to be unanimous. That's protection enough against the occasional bad juror.

Probably and usually so, yes. Although, there have been juries among whom all the jurors were "bad," in that they acquitted known murderers, (as in the Emmett Till case).

Bob Loblaw said...

I've always been fascinated by jury selection. The last time I went in for jury duty I was the first one seated, the prosecution passed a bunch of times on their peremptory challenges, then after the defense ran out of challenges the prosecution booted me. It's not like I wanted to be on the jury, but I really wanted to take the prosecutor out to lunch and have her tell me exactly what she was thinking at each stage of the process. I'll bet she's a great bridge player.

Bob Loblaw said...

Probably and usually so, yes. Although, there have been juries among whom all the jurors were "bad," in that they acquitted known murderers, (as in the Emmett Till case).

I don't think you're going to find that sort of thing except in high-profile cases.

But those are just the sort of cases where jury box secrecy is paramount. Do we really want to be in the situation where jurors are deliberating with an eye to how it's all going to look when what they say becomes public?

Jupiter said...

What this ruling says, is that if you are the attorney for a minority member who is found guilty of a crime, you are licensed to go after the jurors and try to smear them as racists, or, alternatively, get them to smear their fellow jurors as racists. And you can pursue the matter just as far as your client's resources will allow. The courts will stand ready to hear any "evidence" of racism you care to put before them.

Joe said...

"“I think he did it because he’s Mexican, and Mexican men take whatever they want,” a juror said of the defendant, according to sworn statements from other jurors submitted by defense lawyers after the trial was over."

Did the "offending" juror really say precisely what is claimed? Did the other jurors mishear or misunderstand what he said? Did the other jurors hear him make multiple, unrelated comments, only to combine them later?

What if, for example, the juror had said "I'm inclined to think he did it because he's Mexican and in my experience Mexican men take whatever they want." What if the phrase "In addition to the other evidence," was added before this sentence?

Robert Cook said...

"You are arguing, as those on the Left generally do, as if the courts were an enemy of society...."

No, I'm arguing that the state is the enemy of the individual. I'm arguing the point of view of our founders. My "properly" is entirely uncontroversial. The founders created the trial and jury system we have specifically to protect powerless individual citizens against the overwhelming power of the state, hence the notion that the defendant is always to be "presumed innocent until proven guilty." (Historically, defendants at trial have been assumed to be guilty and thus any offense against them by the state could be expected and was accepted. It was their knowledge or experience of this uder the English King that compelled their concern for the rights of the defendant against the power of the state.)

In fact, jurors were expected to determine by their verdicts whether the laws were just or unjust, thus allowing for "jury nullification," in which juries may acquit a defendant--even if the facts show him guilty of the offense with which he's charged--if the jury sees either the law under which the defendant was charged or the application of the law in a particular circumstance to be unjust. They were not expected to be mere "finders of fact," as juries are encouraged (and led to believe that's all they are) today.

(Why is it that so many right-wing "gubmint is always bad" types reflexively cheer the state's tyrannical power at trial and reject the notion that defendants' rights are--or should be--paramount?)

Jupiter said...

Robert Cook said...

"(Why is it that so many right-wing "gubmint is always bad" types reflexively cheer the state's tyrannical power at trial and reject the notion that defendants' rights are--or should be--paramount?)"

I can't speak for all the other right-wing "gubmint is always bad" types, but my own view is that;
1 - The government should confine itself to exercising those limited powers it is assigned by the Constitution, in the pursuit of the limited goals defined therein.
2 - The government should attempt to carry out its few legitimate functions with efficacy and dispatch.

In particular, I believe that the modern tendency of the public to favor the defense over the prosecution is largely due to the tendency of modern legislative bodies to abuse their powers.

Now perhaps you could explain to me how you square your belief in the sanctity of the jury with support for judicial overthrow of lawful jury verdicts.

Note that Sotomayor is not arguing that the juror's statements were prejudicial to the deliberative process;

“There may be cases of juror bias so extreme that, almost by definition, the jury trial right has been abridged,”

What she is saying is that some people cannot legally act as jurors, because they hold opinions with which the Wise Latina disagrees. She must be Mexican, she thinks she can do whatever she wants.

Michael K said...

Oh Oh. Cookie thread.

G'Nite.

cubanbob said...


“There may be cases of juror bias so extreme that, almost by definition, the jury trial right has been abridged,”

Of course unsaid is that jury can be extremely biased by the prosecution when it does not disclose to the jury what it thinks the defendant is really guilty of, the charges and sentence offered in the plea deal (that the defendant rejected in order to get a jury trial). Or the withholding of exonerating evidence or of fraudulent expert witnesses.

Jupiter said...

Michael K said...
"Oh Oh. Cookie thread.

G'Nite."

Cookie has a rather naive view of what is possible, expressed by his constant championing of the perfect over the best that can be hoped for. He seems to have missed the point that if men were angels, they would require no government. But he is no troll, and has earned some respect.

mockturtle said...

Cookie has a rather naive view of what is possible, expressed by his constant championing of the perfect over the best that can be hoped for. He seems to have missed the point that if men were angels, they would require no government. But he is no troll, and has earned some respect.

My sentiments exactly. He is a hopeless idealist. But I like and appreciate him.

Jupiter said...

mockturtle said...

"My sentiments exactly. He is a hopeless idealist. But I like and appreciate him."

Let's not forget that, as a presumed Hillary voter, he is an exemplar of everything that's wrong with America.

Livermoron said...

Bullshit. Cookie is an unrepentant Stalinist. He perverts history and is intellectually dishonest.

His kind is so 1930.

mockturtle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mockturtle said...

Bullshit. Cookie is an unrepentant Stalinist. He perverts history and is intellectually dishonest.

He's certainly more intellectually honest than, say, Moby Chuck.

Unlike the Progs, I can befriend and appreciate those with whom I disagree.

Robert Cook said...

"Now perhaps you could explain to me how you square your belief in the sanctity of the jury with support for judicial overthrow of lawful jury verdicts."

I believe in the protection of the individual against the power of the state. If the jury convicts a defendant but the court throws out the conviction, either to set the defendant free or to retry the defendant, I support it as providing further protection to the defendant against a possibly unjust conviction. Is that so hard to understand?

Our jury system is intended to protect the individual from the power of the state. Our criminal justice system, however, has been perverted by the state to subvert or go around that protection. For example, it has become common practice to pile on multiple charges against a defendant and to pressure him or her to take a plea deal, with the threat that if convicted at trial of all the charges, he or she will face decades or life in prison, (as opposed to a somewhat less onerous sentence if forgoing trial and pleading guilty.) In this way, criminal defendants, typically lacking in the means to hire expert and experienced defense attorneys, have their right to trial essentially taken away from them, in that they are threatened with extra punishment if they choose to exercise that right.

Robert Cook said...

"'My sentiments exactly. He is a hopeless idealist. But I like and appreciate him.'

"Let's not forget that, as a presumed Hillary voter, he is an exemplar of everything that's wrong with America."


I am an idealist and I am also a realist. I know that the real world does not and will never operate according to the ideal. However, we must strive for the ideal so that the corrupt reality can be pushed just that much closer toward the ideal. Accepting the corrupt reality with a shrug, "Well, that's just the way it is!", ensures we will have...corrupt reality.

As for my being a "presumed Hillary voter," no.

I have voted for third party candidates for president for 20 years, (Ralph Nader and Jill Stein).

Robert Cook said...

"Cookie is an unrepentant Stalinist. He perverts history and is intellectually dishonest."

Someone is being intellectually dishonest.

mockturtle said...

Cookie, I happen to think the plea deal is overused. Any thinking criminal will hold back inculpatory information in order to negotiate a deal with the prosecution. Its value to law enforcement has been rendered useless. I've long seen it as laziness on the part of the prosecutor. Unlike you, who seems to think there are many unjust convictions, I tend to see far more cases of inadequate sentencing.

Robert Cook said...

mockturtle,

The plea deal is not about the laziness on the part of the prosecutor, but about ambition and thrift. It's about insuring convictions and spending less of the state's money. Going to trial is very expensive not just for the defendant but also for the state, and there is the chance the defendant may be acquitted. Prosecutors don't like to lose cases, as they are careerists, and the more convictions they can rack up, the better for their future career ambitions, (elective office or a judge's seat). They see their role less about serving justice and and primarily about obtaining convictions.

My concern is not just with unjust convictions. (I do think the majority of criminals are guilty of the crimes for which they're convicted, but the minority who are are not guilty still make up too large a cohort for us to be unconcerned about them. Moreover, even a guilty defendant has the right to a defense at trial, and coercing guilty defendants to take pleas robs them of this right.) I'm also concerned about unjust sentencing. Contrary to you, I believe our sentencing is grossly disproportionate and punitive in many or most cases, especially with the rise in recent decades of mandatory sentencing laws, which remove from the judge his or her capacity to make a judgement as to the proper sentence under the circumstances particular to any given case. Judges now are often simply rubber stamps: if a jury convicts, the judge must often assign a sentence even he or she feels is disproportionate given the circumstances, as per the law.

JAORE said...

"So all. Deliberations are no longer secret. "[sic]

I always laugh when a judge says, this ruling will be applied narrowly. Sure it will.

Why limit it to deliberations?

Search their face Book posts. How is that two year old tweet of outrage about the BLM blocking your way to work looking now? Any "racist" cartoons or comments? I

Hey, let's interview the people that went to school with the juror. Any evidence of bias, even on that spring break bender back in '05?

Do they belong to any groups on the SPLC list, or worse, are they registered Republicans?

What radio programs do they listen to? Television shows watched?

Who have they donated to in the past?

Appeals might be fun.

Static Ping said...

I'm shocked that the defense attorney allowed a former law enforcement officer on the jury. Those are usually the second to go, right after the lawyers.

Kennedy wants to perfect America. Most likely he will destroy it instead.

Robert Cook said...

"I'm shocked that the defense attorney allowed a former law enforcement officer on the jury. Those are usually the second to go, right after the lawyers."

I don't know about other states or cities, but in New York City, in order to open up the jury pool, they now do not automatically exclude police officers or lawyers from juries. Whereas I used to be called every two years for jury duty, it's now going on 7 years since I last served. I won't be surprised if my time to get called again is coming near. (I've been on 5 or 6 juries: criminal, civil and Grand, as well as being called other times and excused after not being picked. I've never gone through the voir dire process and not been selected. I guess I come across as rational and impartial.)

Michael K said...

My lefty daughter who is an FBI agent was picked for a jury a couple of years ago. I was surprised for the same reason static ping mentioned.

She even wound up the foreperson.

mockturtle said...

Cookie responds: Contrary to you, I believe our sentencing is grossly disproportionate and punitive in many or most cases, especially with the rise in recent decades of mandatory sentencing laws, which remove from the judge his or her capacity to make a judgement as to the proper sentence under the circumstances particular to any given case. Judges now are often simply rubber stamps: if a jury convicts, the judge must often assign a sentence even he or she feels is disproportionate given the circumstances, as per the law.

And what percentage of those sentenced actually serve the full term?

Robert Cook said...

"And what percentage of those sentenced actually serve the full term?"

Without doing research on the stats, I can't say. However, given that along with mandatory sentencing laws come many that mandate "life without possibility of parole," it's probably more than used to be case. Also, given that many sentences require the convicted party serve a certain minimum of year before becoming eligible to be considered for parole, many who are are paroled probably serve more years that used to be common.

(One of the more atrocious trends in recent decades is the greater tendency to try juveniles as adults. Science has shown that juveniles do not have the same cognitive maturity, awareness of consequences, or impulse control as adults; they really do have "childish" brains.)

Then, once out, ex-offenders on parole are often so hobbled with restrictions on their freedom of movement and freedom of association, and face such prejudices in hiring--in a world where gainful employment is becoming ever more difficult for everyone--it can be impossible for ex-offenders to support themselves. The terms of parole can make recidivism an almost-certainty for many.

mockturtle said...

(One of the more atrocious trends in recent decades is the greater tendency to try juveniles as adults. Science has shown that juveniles do not have the same cognitive maturity, awareness of consequences, or impulse control as adults; they really do have "childish" brains.)

This is the only part of your response I can agree with. And I also know that there are 'children' who are too dangerous to allow at liberty. But they should not be tried as adults nor incarcerated with adult convicts.

You have an annoying habit of sympathizing with the perpetrators. You probably even believe that the purpose of prison is to rehabilitate what are either career criminals or those who commit heinous crimes. Scarcely does anyone go to prison for a first offense. Most of these felons have long and egregious histories of lawlessness.

Robert Cook said...

It's less that I'm sympathetic to the perpetrators than that I'm concerned with how punitive we are as a society, I'm dismayed at our lack of mercy. I'm appalled that "get tough on crime" rhetoric is simply an opportunistic ploy of those running for office, pandering to voters and playing on their constituents' fears to further their political careers. I'm sympathetic to the reality that most people in prison are not convicted of violent crimes, and, contrary to your statement, many people do go to prison for first offenses, and, under mandatory sentencing laws, sometimes for brutally long sentences. I'm angry at the inequity, that someone of low social stature can sell a couple of ounces of pot or steal some food and face years in prison, while the heads of banks and financial institutions or giant corporations can steal billions or poison our environment and face no personal punishment at all, when their crimes are far more destructive to our society and to all the people in it than street crime.

As I'm sure you've seen stated often, we not only have the greatest percentage per capita of our population in prison of any country in the world, but also the greatest sheer number of our citizens in prison of any country in the world. And yet we claim to be the land of the free, the most just country in the world. I don't see it.

mockturtle said...

Cookie, IMO, we don't have nearly enough people in prison. We need to build more. Lots more. And execute those who have been sentenced to death instead of letting them die of old age after twenty years on death row. Or, in the case of Charles Manson, 43 years. Disgusting. And don't give me the song and dance about executions costing more than incarceration. I would do it for free.

mockturtle said...

Speaking of 'lack of mercy', Cookie, remember in the old movies when a prisoner was on his way to be executed, the judge would say, "And may God have mercy on your soul". It's up to the perp to get right with God before his death. His victim[s] didn't have that opportunity. [I'm quite sure you don't believe in God and that's OK. I'm just making an argument from my POV].

Robert Cook said...

You're right, I don't believe in god, but I find it hard to understand how you can reconcile your belief in god and your belief that we are too merciful, that we don't put enough people in prison, and that we should speed up our rates and increase our numbers of executions.

We don't live in a society where violent crime is a significant danger.

To me, the society you seem to wish for would be an awful place.

mockturtle said...

To me, the society you seem to wish for would be an awful place.

Awful for evildoers, yes.

Are you suggesting non-violent crimes should get a pass?

Robert Cook said...

"'To me, the society you seem to wish for would be an awful place.'

"Awful for evildoers, yes."


Awful for everyone. Also, not everyone who breaks the law is an "evildoer."

"Are you suggesting non-violent crimes should get a pass?"

I'm saying many non-violent crimes should be met with alternative sanctions that do not involve jail or prison time. I'm saying punishment should be more appropriate and proportionate to the crime and its particulars.