Chatter And Banter - Politics In North America

Discussion in 'News & Politics' started by Laks09, Sep 18, 2018.

  1. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Sometimes I am left stupefied at the ways the law and courts work in the U.S.

    In the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, the jury instructions document is 36 pages long. The judge read out the pages to the jury in a droning voice for over an hour, he stopped himself mid-sentence sometimes and did not complete the sentence which added to the confusion. Further, during that reading, both sides continued to discuss what the instructions exactly meant.

    The document contains instructions about the principles of the law that the jury should follow in reaching a verdict. It contains elaborate definitions such as what is self-defense, how a belief held by the defendant can be reasonable even though mistaken, how to decide about intent, how not to confuse intent with motive, description of the charges against the defendant, explanation of how he has plead for each. It contains much more and in mind-numbing depth.

    So, here is what I don't get: In a trial of this proportion, the judge gave the jury one printed copy of the 36 page instructions!!! After some hours of deliberation on day one, the jury requested eleven more copies of the first six pages of the instructions so each juror could have their own copy. Later the same day, the jury requested copies of the remaining pages.

    Seriously!! Isn't it common sense to provide the jurors individual copies of the jury instructions? Why isn't this a requirement? When twelve ordinary citizens are deliberating a matter that is so involved and important, why doesn't each one have their own copy?!

    I watched a snippet of the judge reading the jury instructions. I truly feel sorry for the jurors.

    Rittenhouse jury sends 2 more questions to the court, according to pool reporter
     
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  2. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    General ponder on the jury system:

    I read most of the instructions to this jury. They are quite complicated. The jurors are ordinary people who might or might not be interested in debates and discussions or elaborate rules. Even with the stringent jury selection criteria, I wonder how a set of random twelve people are entrusted with such big impact decisions.

    I was among the eighteen jurors for a really small case and felt overwhelmed at the expectations of me as a juror. More recently, I was following a podcast on cryptocurrency. It was explained in basic terms, I was not looking to invest any money, yet I found parts that I just didn't get. In politics, for a while, I didn't get what woke and cancel culture actually mean.

    I am guessing that the average juror will have similar challenges like those listed above. They could be as young as 18! How then? IMO, a juror needs to have a college education or equivalent, some expertise in critical thinking and some knowledge of cognitive biases.

    How people with possibly zero knowledge of laws and enforcement are expected to understand intricate definitions and apply that understanding to arrive at a verdict that can change lives and the country's history?
     
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  3. Laks09

    Laks09 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    I think it’s based off of the rules of the State and the judge’s own rules for his court. But yes, this clubbed with all of the other antics of the said judge, I do feel horrible for the jurors. I would need to revisit everything again and with my eyesight I don’t know how I feel about not zooming in on the video using the pinch grip!
    I still think the prosecution could have done a better job with the videos. Especially while sharing it with the defense. Imagine telling the defense attorneys that the quality of videos they got is bad because it’s an android phone they got it on! I would think at the minimum emails and encrypted servers would have been used for evidence sharing. Nope. It was from an iPhone.
     
  4. Laks09

    Laks09 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    It is extremely hard for any layperson to put personal biases aside and be a juror. Having seen a few high profile trials around, I see how important it is for all manner of people to be in the jury pool. The system in place for jurors doesn’t help either. For example, in my state, we don’t get PTO for jury duty. We get paid for it. Wait, here’s the best part. We get paid a whopping 6 bucks per day for this important task. And we don’t get let off easily. We don’t have a system to check mark a thing as having to care of a disabled person. We have to show up in person and on the day, if there aren’t enough jurors, you better pray the clerk is empathetic to your situation.
    If you do end up in a high profile case, you better hope you aren’t sequestered. I wouldn’t want to be cut off from everything in the outside world for days on end until everyone is on the same page.

    Despite all of that, I’d say these juries of peers are doing a fabulous job of helping uphold our constitution. Do they make errors in judgement? I’m sure they do. But in the grand scheme of things I think the system is working as designed.

    Just a musing - My plumber didn’t come the other day because he was on jury duty. I didn’t think he has a college degree but he does take his civic duty seriously. I wish I was as diligent. I show up just to give my excused absence reason and leave as fast as possible so that I’m picking my child up from school on time. I always talk about how diversity is needed in juries these days but I seldom find the need to be the diversity candidate because I’m so busy! I wish more different kinds of people showed up and didn’t just go there to waste the clerk’s time. Acting disinterested, looking around, feigning sleep are all things people ask each other to do when called for Jury Duty. It’s such an important responsibility. I hope one day, I will find a suitable way for my kid to be cared for so I can go perform
    this important role.
     
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  5. Minion

    Minion Platinum IL'ite

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    When it is such an important civic duty, the government can not push all the responsibility on an individual and turn a blind eye, for staters you want to pay below minimum wage and expect someone to sacrifice their time to perform their civic duty. The government has taken this quote too far “Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.”

    Texas police made more than $50 million in 2017 from seizing people’s property. Not everyone was guilty of a crime.

    Goverment should use funds like this to fund the jury payment.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2021
  6. Laks09

    Laks09 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Even if the government doesn’t do it, there are willing citizens who go and do what is expected of them. That’s why juries of peers work in this country. You can count on people showing up. Which is the point I was trying to make. Despite all the hardships, people do show up for jury duty. Some of us must go as well to have a diverse jury pool instead of waiting for the government to do something.
     
  7. Agathinai

    Agathinai Gold IL'ite

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  8. Gauri03

    Gauri03 Staff Member Finest Post Winner

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    With a Koch-owned Supreme court, federal courts stacked with right-wing true-believers and the GOP determined to hold on to power at any cost, we are headed for decades of minority rule. Trials like these will soon become the norm. Fascism isn't even creeping anymore. It's roaring back with cheers and applause.
     
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  9. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    The judge's phone rang during cross-examination and the ringtone was God Bless the USA. :facepalm:. He said the victims can be called only rioters or looters, not even "alleged victims." Lord forgive me for saying this.. but he somehow just looks racist in pictures and videos of the trial.

    judgeschroder.jpg

    But going by the opinions of legal experts in almost any news site, looks like the prosecution lost the trial fair and square. The verdict was not a surprise. The jury did their job.
     
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  10. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    The optics of the judge/jury aside, the prosecution was not able to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt once Rittenhouse said he acted in self defense. We see this happen time and again especially in gun-friendly states.
     
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