What would YOU do?--Disabled Witness
This is a discussion on What would YOU do?--Disabled Witness within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; dcb188,
What are a judge's options if he believes the verdict is wrong?...
May 8th, 2008 10:30 PM
What are a judge's options if he believes the verdict is wrong?
May 9th, 2008 02:25 PM
Hi Howard----a judge's options if he believes a verdict is wrong? None, except where the judge can rule that there was legally insufficient evidence to find the defendant guilty.
Then the judge instructs the jury to find D Not Guilty. Tells them to do it and they must find him NG.
Otherwise the verdict stands, unless the case is overturned on appeal and they order a new trial.
A judge, not liking the verdict and disagreeing, has no power to change it.
Likewise, a Not Guilty verdict is final, and what was said above does not apply. The jury findsyou NG, you leave, unless you are held on other matters or have matters or warrants in other courts or are presently serving a sentence. Otherwise you are free to go.
Judges have frequently expressed shock, visibly, from the bench, when a D is found Guilty. But the FACTS OF THE CASE ARE IN THE JURY's HANDS. The judge cannot tell the jury how to decide the case, he or she can only step in if evidence was legally insufficient to convict in the first place.
Example of that: V gets on the stand and testifies. She never says D laid a hand on her. D is convicted of assault and battery. Evidence is there, i.e. V's testimony, but the jury did not have evidence of that crime placed before it for consideration and they find him guilty anyway?
After the close of the prosection's case, the defense would make an oral motion for a directed verdict. Judge, no evidence, or not enough evidence, please tell the jury to find him NG, and the judge would do so. So the jury's verdict would be cancelled.
The grounds for appeal are on matters of law only, not facts. No appeals court is going to second-guess the jury as to what facts they found. This is a tough one, as you cannot just appeal because you wanted the jury to come back Not Guilty (everyone does, if they are a defendant). This is why having a jury trial is like going to a casino.
Every crime has "elements" to it, maybe two, maybe three, maybe five. Each and every element must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict D.
Suppose the jury has heard evidence in a case where three of five elements have been proven but there was not even any evidence at all of elements four and five? The judge, acting upon defense's oral or written motion, would vacate the Guilty finding of the jury and impose a NG finding.
Again, if there was legally sufficient evidence before the jury, the judge cannot step in and say to the jury: you should not have believed witness A and B and C and should have believed witness D etc etc. The jury can believe all or any part, or none of what any particular witnesses testifies to. They can believe D, disbelieve him or her, believe part of what he says, any combination whatsoever. As long as the evidence is there, legally, the elements are there, and the jury believes one witness over another, their verdict is final. But the evidence they have before them must be legally sufficient to convict. If it is not legally sufficient, then no matter who the jury believed or disbelieved, they cannot legally convict because one or more elements is missing. So they COULD NOT HAVE said he was guilty if no evidence of assault and battery was even presented at trial, or one of the elements was missing.
But if all elements of the crime or crimes were presented, then the jury CAN find D Guilty.
Since June of 1979 I have handled 22,000 criminal cases. I have seen juries do everything except one thing-----what you expect them to do :)
Last edited by dcb188; May 9th, 2008 at 08:56 PM.
Surrounded and outnumbered, Marine Col Lewis Puller: "Good! We finally got 'em where we want 'em!" (Korea, 1950)
Right is Wrong and Wrong is Right.
Socrates : "Knowledge is knowing that we know nothing".
May 9th, 2008 11:18 PM
Dcb, Semper Fi. Yep, I remember that Marine Corps term. LOL. I guess your jury didnt think he did enough harm to the other guy to warrant the guilty verdict.
Originally Posted by dcb188
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." . . . You must do the thing you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt
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