DEBATE UPDATE: TAKE BIDEN - 14.5. Yes, two touchdowns is a lot of points to give up. But this is like the Redskins playing FIU. One of them doesn't belong in the arena (hint: she's from Alaska.)
The Miami Herald has the story of three federal jurors who were "intimidated" into a guilty verdict on the gun counts.
The title to the post links to the herald story.
The jurors, who read the Herald the next day and were shocked to find that the Defendant was facing life in prison immediately regretted their decision. The jurors interviewed want to retract their guilty verdict. The jurors relate stories about another juror who banged the table and shouted and berated them until they agreed to vote guilty on the gun charges.
Just another shining example of the greatest justice system on earth. Boy can we all be proud of the verdict in this case.
As an aside, State Prosecutor Abe Laeser recently in voire dire told a panel that the young defendant he was prosecuting faced mandatory life in prison if the jury voted guilty on the first degree murder charge. Mr. Laeser had the facts on his side, and the jury, fully cognizant of the impact of their decision, voted guilty. It is an awesome responsibility to seek the lifetime incarceration of an individual. Certainly some crimes require lifetime incarceration. Although as an aside we believe in the chance for redemption and thus parole. But that's for another day. The point is that if Mr. Laeser can convict a defendant who committed a crime while a juvenile where the jurors knew the penalty was life in prison without the possibility of parole, then
jurors can convict in cases where they are aware of the consequences of their actions.
Doesn't justice and fairness dictate that jurors know the penalty in cases they are deciding, especially where there is a minimum mandatory sentence and the judge does not have any discretion?
The flip side to this argument is that reasonable doubt is reasonable doubt and guilt is guilt. Jurors should decide cases on the facts and nothing else. However, as is readily apparent from the Joe Cool jurors - jurors DO NOT decide cases in a vacuum and penalty matters to their view of the evidence. In reading the juror interviews a reasonable case can be made that they convicted the defendant on evidence that was less than beyond a reasonable doubt because they mistakenly believed that the counts were not serious. Therefore, while in theory jurors should decide cases just on the facts, the reality is that they attempt to discern which counts are more serious than others and are more wiling to convict a defendant on what they perceive to be a less serious count in a close case.
We should not turn a blind eye to what jurors are doing. It would and mostly like already has resulted in a miscarriage of justice. At least three jurors in the Joe Cool case would never have found proof beyond a reasonable doubt if they were aware of the penalty for the crimes they convicted the defendant of.
See You In Court.
PS. Written and posted right under your noses in the REGJB.