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Friday, September 27, 2013

THE ACCIDENTAL JUROR

It happens more that you might suspect. An excluded  juror with the same or similar surname to an accepted juror sits on the panel hearing the case. Sometimes the mistake is realized after a few moments. More troublesome is when the mistake is realized during opening statements or in this case, after the verdict.  The defendant was convicted but when the mistake was brought to his attention, Judge Will Thomas did not shed a tear or waste a moment in declaring a mistrial. The Herald story by Ovalle is here. 

Your Friday afternoon moment to laugh: Texts from A Cat. 
Read it. You will laugh. 

22 comments:

Secret Judge said...

I well realize that Judge Thomas has a whole lot of support on this Blog for his quest to be appointed to the Federal bench, and deplore that his sexual preference is being used against him, but HIS error that resulted in a verdict being set aside in a rape case is simply inexcusable. Any reasonably competent judge should be aware of the ever-present possibility of this occurring in our multi-cultural community. Every judge, prior to the juror oath and the preliminary instructions, should carefully poll the jury to make sure the right people are seated. Bottom line, his judicial competence is in serious question.

Anonymous said...

Casting is almost complete for the Will Smith producition of "A Matter Of Choice: The Judge Will Thomas Story"
Edward James Almos as Sen Marco Rubio. Jaime Foxx as Will Thomas. Will Farrel as Gov. Scott. Nathan Lane as the crusading angry gay ACLU lawyer who files suit. Katherine Zeta Jones as Kathy Rundle. James Earl jones as Abe Laeser the former prosecutor hauntes by his cases. Ed Norton as Reid Ruben- the grizzled prosecutor handling a guresome case. Martin Short as Joel Denaro the idealistic young lawyer trying to save his client's life. Andrew Dice Clay as the brain damaged defendant. Ricardo Montalban as Fred Moreno, the chief federal judge overworked and understaffed. George Clooney as the juror on the take.
Filming atarts next month.

Abe Laeser said...

James Earl Jones? The last time that I looked like that , I had a summer job as a hotel lifeguard, back in the mid-60's.

I would have chosen Harrison Ford, in a reprise of his role in Presumed Innocent. Or more accurately, Fred Gwynn; except for the fact that he is dead.

Anonymous said...

AND....Jerry Mathers as the Beaver.

Anonymous said...

8:10am - not everyone can be right 100% of the time. As a judge, you should know that ( ie appellate courts). He made a mistake. The bad guy is in prison. Like all humans he will learn from it. It's a real broad statement to call in question someone's intelligence or ability to serve on the beach because one Acosta came back as opposed to another.

We all know he is an excellent jurist. Please don't define a man bc of an inadvertent mistake. Under most circumstances if a judge makes a terrible mistake we have appeals courts to review them.

Thomas is by far the most qualified on that list of four. To err is human. Try examining your own life; have you made a mistake as a judge. If so, by your logic you should have serious questions about YOUR ability to sit on the bench.

Fortunately this was a minor error, the bad guy is in prison, and the victim doesn't have to be put through this ordeal again.

What would truly be interesting would be to see a list of judges names and how many times they get reversed each year and on what issue. Seems like a great research task for an intern...

Peace

Anonymous said...

Secret Judge, if Thomas has one fault, is that he is always in a rush. I adore the man and support him without a doubt. But he does rush too much and that is his one fault. Regardless, his fitness for the federal bench is not in question. Ask yourself that if your name got nominated for the federal bench if prosecutors, the PBA, and the defense bar will raise up in arms in your defense. If you can't answer that question in the affirmative, then you are not even in the same league as William Thomas.

Anonymous said...

8:10am - not everyone can be right 100% of the time. As a judge, you should know that ( ie appellate courts). He made a mistake. The bad guy is in prison. Like all humans he will learn from it. It's a real broad statement to call in question someone's intelligence or ability to serve on the beach because one Acosta came back as opposed to another.

We all know he is an excellent jurist. Please don't define a man bc of an inadvertent mistake. Under most circumstances if a judge makes a terrible mistake we have appeals courts to review them.

Thomas is by far the most qualified on that list of four. To err is human. Try examining your own life; have you made a mistake as a judge. If so, by your logic you should have serious questions about YOUR ability to sit on the bench.

Fortunately this was a minor error, the bad guy is in prison, and the victim doesn't have to be put through this ordeal again.

What would truly be interesting would be to see a list of judges names and how many times they get reversed each year and on what issue. Seems like a great research task for an intern...

Peace

Anonymous said...

Rump, perhaps you need an "Accidental Editorr"?

8:10 pm, you're such an asshole

Anonymous said...

The movie will have a surprising tear-jerker grand finale where Rubio proposes to Thomas on the steps of the REG Building while the hot dog ladies cheer on and then they start hustling lawyers and defendants exiting the building for bus fare money to go to New York to get married.

Anonymous said...

To 8:10: by your logic, the two seasoned state attorneys who prosecuted this important rape case and also failed to notice the error are inexcusable as well. Shouldn't any reasonably competent attorney know that the person that they spoke to and accepted as a juror in this important case was not the actually seated juror. Were they not seated in the same courtroom, participating in the same proceeding? Unfortunately this is not the first time that this has happened in that courthouse. It happened several months ago and recently another judge sat a juror and unknowingly sat her brother as an alternate. The last time I checked we are all human, capable of making mistakes. I do, however, agree with you that Judge Thomas needs to slow down a bit and give both sides the opportunity to do their very best when they appear before him. However, I choose to believe that this situation was meant to happen & meant to be spotlighted to act as a lesson for every Judge, ASA and defense attorney ever reminding us of the diverse society in which we live and ever reminding us that part of the beauty of being human is that we will continue to make mistakes and continue to be taught by them.

Anonymous said...

Judge Thomas' work ethic and willingness to go to trial are to be commended. But he races though cases so fast, neither side gets a good trial. A mistake like this was inevitable. He lacks patience and maturity, and this case proves it. Perhaps he will learn an important lesson in taking the time to do things right. I hope so, as he does have many qualities of a fine judge.

Sy's Ghost said...

Thought it was Mary Barzee that the Supremes reversed on the Jury selection issue

Pay attention!!! said...

How in the fu k do you, as a defense lawyer, not realize the wrong Acosta is seated in your jury? When I pick a jury, during THAT part of the trial, I am focused on every single member of the venire. That's ALL on the defense lawyer right there.

Anonymous said...

....or did the defense know the wrong juror was there and decided they had built-in reversible error if the jury came back guilty?

Anonymous said...

Anyone who blames the attorneys for this has clearly never tried a case in front of Judge Thomas. Even the most serious trials run at such lightning speed that it is impossible for even the best attorneys to fully process what is happening. I really like the man and think he would be a great federal judge, but he needs to slow down.

Anonymous said...

11:44: you CHOOSE to believe that this phuk up was destined to happen? What kind of idiot are you? The judge rushed through jury selection so fast that no one not the clerk, the prosecutors, the defense attorney and certainly not the judge himself, realized the error. Trying to slow Thomas down is like trying to slow a freight train. He will roll right over you. He should slow down, be more respectful of the parties and give them time to do their jobs right.

Anonymous said...

lets not forget that thomas was reversed in the caraballo on the 2nd phase.

maybe abe can explain since we know he checks the blog.

Anonymous said...

Leonard Nimoy as Abe Laeser

Anonymous said...

How long has Thomas been on the bench? Has this ever happened in his courtroom before? This is the first time i'm hearing of something like this happening with Thomas...am i wrong?

Anonymous said...

Notwithstanding this incident...Thomas' jury selection is probably the best in REGJB.

Kissimmee Kid said...

Secret Judge is an asshole. Judges are stupid, you can't trust them to pay attention. It was the fault of the lawyer who struck the juror.

Anonymous said...

8:42: wrong casting choice for Will Thomas. Should be Carl Lewis instead of Jaime Foxx.