In spite of all we have said about this, it is still a very tough call. Or it seems so to us with the time to think about it. What about the disabled guy in the window with the rifle? He has no time to think about it.
He must act or watch the victim die.
I was wondering why nobody has asked what the old man would beg a bystander to do, with his life slipping away. 911 response times vary from about 3 min. to as much or more than 15 min. Try counting out those times in seconds before you respond. And try to put yourself in the old man's place.
I know. There are two things going on.
Knowing right from wrong and acting upon it.
Being second guessed to death by some jury that has no idea.
snip>"Being second guessed to death by some jury that has no idea."<snip
It is not legally permissible for a prosecutor or defense attorney to lead a witness while testifying on the stand; but it is their legal, indeed, their ethical obligation to lead the jury to the facts in the case, and subsequently to a just decision. There should not, must not be any second guessing by an enlightened jury. The judge is charged with the responsibility to ensure that this happens in every case; if he fails to carry out these obligations, he will be reprimanded upon appeal.
It is legally permissible for a jury to find a defendant guilty or not guilty as long as there is enough evidence there either way. They do what they see fit and they do not always follow their instructions from the judge, i.e. they do not always decide cases based on the elements of the crime charged and the law itself.
There is second guessing by an enlightened jury all the time and i have seen it hundreds of times. They let guilty people go, they convict innocent people. I myself have witnessed this time and again to the point where I cannot think of anything scarier than being tried by six or twelve jurors.
The other day the presiding justice was shocked by a guilty verdict, where everyone in the courtroom thought the guy was not guilty. She brushed aside arguments from both sides on sentencing and gave the guy some really light probation and on her own reduced the probation fee from 65 to 21 a month without being asked.
On being escorted back to chambers she remarked, there goes another ---- County jury for you!
In my state you cannot just appeal. Never on the facts. Just on the law. I.e. something went wrong with the judge's instructions, the evidence should have been excluded etc but you can never just say I appeal, just because the jury came back Guilty and you thought they would say Not Guilty. Appeals are on matters of law only. Absent anything untoward or improper in the trial itself? Too bad. The reviewing authorities are not going to revisit the facts of the case and decide that you are now not guilty. The Guilty verdict is in that sense very very final. Not a matter of law on appeal? Then you cannot appeal.
For the benefit of the younger people on this forum and those who might not be aware, it should be known that the quote in your signature line was made by Colonel Puller in 1950 while leading his regiment down a frozen mountain road from the Chosin reservoir to the port of Inchon. They were being fired upon by Chinese army soldiers in front of them and behind them on the road and on the mountain slopes to both sides. The "retrograde attack" was successful and they made it out to the port of Inchon. All of this was accomplished in temperatures of minus 30 degrees. Semper Fi.
Exactly-----I can't think of anyone who would have even thought it, much less said it. And for those non-Marines, Chesty Puller is THE legend in Corps history. They taught us that at Parris Island before they talked about the M-14 :) You gave me a good idea, to go in and modify the signature to explain just a little without making it into a long closing argument------Semper Fi to you also, my friend.
And there are so many variations on that quote that I changed it a bit to be more readable.
This is mind numbing! Is this unique to Mass., or is it common practice in the U.S.? It sounds like the judges have abdicated their responsibilities, individually and as a group.
Originally Posted by dcb188
Well, I think it is across the board, Curmudgeons. The jury decides guilt or innocence, the judge does not except in a judge-alone trial, a bench trial, as they call it.
The jury may disbelieve or believe witnesses entirely, partially, in some areas but not others etc They can completely disbelieve any witness or witnesses including the defendant. The judges are not in charge of deciding guilt or innocence. They are responsibile for seeing that the trial is conducted fairly and legally and responsibly, i.e. all rules of evidence are obeyed, they rule on objections, they exclude or allow evidence, they decide motions to the court etc but they never decide guilt or innocence except when the jury could not legally have found defendant guilty because legally there was insufficient evidence. The judge can then overrule them and declare the D not guilty. Or the judge can instruct the jury to FIND the defendant Not Guilty.
Sorry to drag out this message but I want to explain a little.
The case being tried is not the judge's case, but it is his or her courtroom. The assistant district attorney decides what to prosecute and represents the state in the courtroom. But their obligation is just to present THEIR VIEW OF THE CASE ONLY. There is no seeking after the "truth" from the jury. It is a matter of two sides asking the jury to see it their way. There is no search for the actual objective truth of what did or did not happen, if this makes any sense. The jury is concerned or should be concerned with one thing and one thing only. DID THE PROSECUTION PROVE ITS CASE BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. Not beyond any imaginary doubt or beyond all doubt, for nothing is certain in life. But this is the question.
Now, the judge makes sure this is done in accordance with the Rules of Criminal Procedure etc. and makes rulings of all kinds. Legal rulings.
The jury is told outright that if they still have a reasonable doubt, they MUST find the defendant NOT GUILTY. Those are the judge's exact words here in Massachusetts trials. They go on and on to say that it is not enough to suspect, to think, to this or that. They have to be convinced to a moral certainty that D is guilty.
That's enough for now, I guess, but nationwide it is this way as far as I know. This is why the jury wields tremendous power. The jurors I have seen do the right thing for the most part but certainly not always. Certainly I see it as the most scary thing in the world of criminal law, to have six or twelve people say they swear to do the right thing, then do the wrong thing.
But, this is the way they see it, what their verdict reflects. They can believe witnesses, disbelieve them, partially believe them etc they can disregard this and that if it is foolishness to them. They decide. Verdict=veredicto. To speak the truth. They do not always do that.
And as long as they are within their bounds, i.e. there was enough evidence to convict, legally speaking, e.g. so and so saw D throw a rock at V, and they believe V and disbelieve D, then they can convict D without a problem. They choose whom to believe, they weigh all the evidence and they decide.
In some areas and counties and states, juries are known for their unpredicatability more than in other areas and states.
In Boston they are known for being completely and utterly unpredictable.
I tell defendants that I literally would not send a juror across the street for a tuna sandwich because they might come back with a pizza.
OK, you've covered it very well. I guess that's what the scholars mean when they say "It's not a perfect system,but......"
And here's the thing also. I am not sure that the jury SHOULD be looking for "the truth" since no one knows what that is in a fact situation and people are seeing the truth from three or four sides.
To expect a jury to accurately reconstruct the complete truth of what happened would be to place a burden upon them that no one could sustain.
That is why the best they can do is address the single question.
Are we convinced to a moral certainty that this defendant did it? Not figuring out every little detail etc that they would not possibly have access to, but just answering that one question. No one can completely reconstruct something after it has happened.
Now all this may seem like an idle discussion of juries. But it has a bearing on ALL these scenarios, if a jury is trying you for a supposed crime, this is what goes on and this is what you are up against. The reality of having your whole life decided by six or twelve strangers, deciding if you did right or wrong. Scary to be in that position. Yet another reason, perhaps the main reason, to try not to use a gun unless we have to but to try to de-escalate, avoid etc instead of just saying ah what the h..., I am gonna open up on these criminals......
Originally Posted by GovtMule
I saw a trial where I work that was for murder. Defendant was accused of beating a woman to death with a hammer. He was indicted for the murder and unlawful possession of a weapon. Jury hung on the murder charge but found defendant not guilty on the weapon charge. :confused: IMO, one charge follows the other, I.E. if he didn't possess the hammer for an unlawful purpose, he couldn't have murdered the woman. If he did murder the woman, he did unlawfully possess the weapon.
Originally Posted by dcb188
Hi again mulle46 and Semper Fi as always......that is a prime example of what a jury is capable of. I had one guy once, fighting two guys. He was found Guilty of assault and battery only on ONE OF THE GUYS.....
No license needed to be a juror. When I say it is scary, I mean scary, to have them deciding, and the thing about it is this, one jury can say Guilty, then you could have six more come and and hear the same evidence and they might say Not Guilty and then six more say Guilty.
So your future is riding on the fact that we count on folks to do the right thing. And when they do not, i.e. juries, there isn't much we can say. They decided. Such an awesome responsibility yet you see some sleeping, shuffling along like they GAF. You remember that Marine Corps term, mulle46, I hope :)