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I hate it when I'm right about things like this. - Elf M. Sternberg
elfs
elfs
I hate it when I'm right about things like this.
Damn, I hate it when I'm right. August 10th, 2006: Jail guard allegedly accepted offer of sex. August 31st, 2006: Jurors deadlock in jail sex trial. That's what all the negotiating over drugs and addiction was about: they were dealing with knowledge about each other's tactics in the previous trial!

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memegarden From: memegarden Date: May 10th, 2007 06:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm impressed with your figuring out what they were up to.
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: May 10th, 2007 07:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think I could be an unbiased juror in that case. The guard would have to be really conviencing to overcome my inclination to just hang him.
lovingboth From: lovingboth Date: May 10th, 2007 04:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, I'd find it difficult to say that what appears to have been entirely consensual sex between adults should be illegal.

If he did it, fire him, but don't criminalise him.
elfs From: elfs Date: May 10th, 2007 04:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Except that the guard took the job knowing it was a crime. The specific charge is "custodial sexual misconduct." The aspects here are that the guard had, or could give the impression that he had, some authority over the priveleges and punishments of the prisoners; the legislature has said that exchanging or requesting sexual favors between prisoners and guards shall be illegal. If he broke the law after volunteering to abide by it, then I'm with FallenPegasus that I'd have a hard time saying he wasn't guilty.

If you don't like the law, act to change the law. This isn't a civil rights issue since the guard voluntarily took on the burden of responsibility by accepting the job; it's not even an issue of justice, except perhaps for the prisoners from whom advantage might have been taken. It's not an issue about which I feel strongly enough to try and hang or nullify the jury, and when I realized that that was the defense's game, my gut twisted hard enough that I wanted out.

One of the jurors asked if one of the things we did when we sent people to prison was take away their right to have intimate contact during their incarceration. My answer was that, at this point in history, yes.
lovingboth From: lovingboth Date: May 10th, 2007 07:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Jurors here take an oath not to reveal what goes on in the jury room :)
omahas From: omahas Date: May 10th, 2007 02:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I *knew* that I had heard about this case before! See, I was right. ;)
omahas From: omahas Date: May 10th, 2007 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's what all the negotiating over drugs and addiction was about: they were dealing with knowledge about each other's tactics in the previous trial!

Although there doesn't seem to be any comments about drugs and addiction in any of the accounts of the previous trial...unless you are implying that the defense is using drug addiction as their defense for why he would have the sex?
elfs From: elfs Date: May 10th, 2007 04:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
When I was in the jury box, there were lots of questions about addiction, drug use, and so on. Since neither the charge nor the previous accounts cover that detail, I can only assume that it came up as a contentious point during the first trial and both sides were sounding out jurors to make sure that their arguments didn't fall on prejudiced ears this time. Why else bring it up?
omahas From: omahas Date: May 10th, 2007 05:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, what I mean is that maybe what you went through wasn't connected to this first trial. The press coverage did mention that it was one of several similar cases. Maybe it was one of them?
lovingboth From: lovingboth Date: May 10th, 2007 04:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
I do like the comment that they were "stunned when he took them up on it".
lovingboth From: lovingboth Date: May 10th, 2007 04:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and the bit that's really weird from a UK perspective is the way the jury talked afterwards. That'd get them in jail here.
elfs From: elfs Date: May 10th, 2007 05:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Why would that get them into jail? That's an extremely weird thing to hear from a USain point of view: after a trial, the jurors go back to being private and sovereign citizens with the right to speak about whatever they saw and heard.

Attempts by the judicial system to rein in a jury either during or after the procedure have been so destructive to the efficacy of the process that we accept the need to permit our citizens their sovereignty even at the risk of tainting future proceedings. That's why we have such a time-consuming jury selection process; we assume that a large number of jurors (who, by the way, are selected primarily from voting rolls, so they're in that half of the US population that is politically motivated enough to at least vote) are sufficiently well-informed that they have to be excluded from cases based on prior knowledge.
lovingboth From: lovingboth Date: May 10th, 2007 06:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's based on an old bit of Common Law here, which I'm surprised didn't make it across the Atlantic, making any evidence from jury deliberations inadmissible.

When someone went to the European Court complaining it denied him the right to a fair trial (because he couldn't be sure he was convicted for the 'right' reasons, from memory) they told him to get lost: "The rule governing the secrecy of juror deliberations is a crucial and legitimate feature of English trial law which reinforces the jury's role as the ultimate arbiter of fact and guarantees open and frank deliberations among the jurors."

It was most recently reinforced by section 8 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 which makes it an offence to "obtain, disclose or solicit any particulars of statements made, opinions expressed, arguments advanced or votes cast by members of a jury in the course of their deliberations in any legal proceedings."

Allegations of impropriety are supposed to be made to the judge - the classic case involved half a jury using an Ouija Board to determine their verdict (in 1995!) - who can order a retrial. But there are only a handful of such cases, and the basic idea has support of the police, lawyers on both sides, human rights organisations, judges and the media here.

If you were a famous defendant, would you want the jury to decide your fate, in part, based on whether they thought they could get more for their story if you were convicted or acquitted?

If you'd been on the jury, would you want everyone (including the state, the defendant and any victims) to know how you voted and what you said?

We have reporting restrictions limiting what can be published prior to (and during) a trial. Plus a much more basic jury selection process - it's also based on the electoral roll, but everyone should be on that, and without the endless 'can I get the jury I want' challenges.
omahas From: omahas Date: May 10th, 2007 11:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you were a famous defendant, would you want the jury to decide your fate, in part, based on whether they thought they could get more for their story if you were convicted or acquitted?

Instead, apparently, famous or not, you get your fate determined by a Ouija Board rather than the rule of law? Frankly, I'll take the story possibility for $200, Robert. ;)

If you'd been on the jury, would you want everyone (including the state, the defendant and any victims) to know how you voted and what you said?

Because no one, including the state (save for that department that is in charge of the jury pool), the defendant, and any victims, knows the names of the members of the jury, no one does. Unless the juror chooses to open his/her mouth afterwards and tell everyone (in which case it was his/her choice), each juror is Juror #N. So the most another juror could say was that "Juror #43 said such and such." Yeah, I don't think Juror #43 is listed in the White Pages.
kistha From: kistha Date: May 10th, 2007 04:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, well.

Interesting. What a mess. I haven't seen the evidence but if he admits he had sex, then he's guilty - and I'd have sent him to jail guess the defense was right to toss me.

Ugh. Messy, messy trial. I wonder how this one will come out. I didn't see anyone get on the jury that I'd call a deeply involved. I wonder if it will hang again.
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