Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Of course, your opinion may differ

We had jury duty today and though we were de-selected once we made it to the box, we always find the instructions offered by the presiding judge and the line of questioning employed by both the prosecution and defense in order to select the jury to be informative.

Without getting into too much of the details, the case that was to be tried was the allegation that a woman with a history of mental problems (assumed) had committed fraud in illegally obtaining Social Security money.

We have appeared for jury duty probably half a dozen times and though we haven’t yet served in the jury box, the judges opening instructions, though pro forma, are entirely necessary. And this time the judge was no different as he asked us to be impartial jurors and to not let the gender, race, religion or sexual orientation of the defendant, the witnesses or that of the prosecution or defense bias our thinking either in favor or against.

“Is there anyone here, that will not be able to do this? I see no hands raised.”

The attorneys also asked individual jurors (those who had previous experiences with trying to obtain disability or social security, for example) if they could indeed remain impartial throughout the trial if they themselves had a negative experience in attempting to obtain the same.

The judge then introduced a term we had not heard before. It was jury nullification. It goes hand in hand with the requested impartiality but we suppose because of this case where (again, we are assuming) the defendant suffers from some mental health issues, the judge wanted to make sure that our emotions did not get the better of us. The judge illustrated the concept of jury nullification as being where a juror or jurors, regardless of the facts presented before them would move to acquit a defendant in protest of the applicable law(s) or the set of circumstances inherent to the case.

We’re proud we have the justice system as we do. We’re glad the judge takes what seems like an eternity to lay out the simple ground rules for executing a fair trial and that any biases and prejudices are weeded out as best as possible for as fair a trial as possible. And we are glad the lawyers for both the prosecution and defense assist in this effort.

It appears to by a system that is steeped in trying to obtain the highest of standards by demanding the best in mankind’s nature. These high standards which are un-swayed by emotion or prejudice but rather informed by the rule of law. And we think we can all agree that this is the best way to do this.

“You do what you think is right and let the law catch up”.
- Thurgood Marshall


Anonymous said...

Wow, knock me over with a feather. I didn't see that Justice Marshall quote coming from this blog! Damn "activist judge", Thurgood.

- Mongo Assumes He is Still Suffering From Effects of High Altitude

Dean said...

Maybe it was the altitude because it sure as hell wasn't the irony.

Road Dawg said...

Weed out the competent thinkers. Knock Mr Lloyd over with some common sense.

Mr. Lloyd is still only suffering from liberal retartation.

Road (kill) 'Dawg

Thanks again Mongo!

Anonymous said...


And the hits just keep on comin'!!

- Mongo Finds This Funny on So Many Levels...

Anonymous said...

I always leave one in there for you too get distracted Mr. Lloyd! You're such a tuna, always bite!