Patterico's Pontifications

9/4/2006

Is Greg Miller Serious?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:28 pm

I love this comment by Greg Miller on jury nullification:

I just don’t see a problem with jury nullification. It’s ridiculous to let evidence, argument, and jury instructions be the basis for rendering a decision, when my conscience knows better. I think I would know whether or not a person is guilty, or whether the law is equipped to render justice, irrespective of what the prosecution or defense presents or the judge says. A juror should compensate for the perceived competence of each side, and be free to fill in evidence that was probably excluded (for one side or the other) by arcane rules of evidence. (Figuring that out would give my wandering mind something to while the witnesses and attorneys drone on.)

I know that both sides cheat, so it’s better that I trust my judgment instead of the faulty system that is currently in place. And where the hell [d]o judges get off giving jury instructions? I think my conscience can figure out the proper outcome without the meddling of a know-it-all.

What better way to celebrate freedom and individuality, than for me to follow my gut feelings? That’s much better than following overly detailed laws, which are laughably offered up as the democratically expressed will of society. Every one knows that legislatures and legal system are composed of idiots, and corrupt idiots at that.

Whether it’s some outsiders agitatin’ about voter rights–and getting their just reward–or a repressed member of my race
“evenin’ up the score” by killing someone who probably deserved it, it’s better for me to render true justice than be bound by inflexible laws and jury instructions.

Those advocating jury nullification would want to have me on the jury in their trials. I would do everything possible to ensure that they received the verdict that my conscience dictates. What more could they want?

What I like best about it is this: I don’t know whether he is serious or not.

Is it a deadpan mocking of some of the silliest arguments by those who support jury nullification?

Or is he completely serious?

Having read dozens (perhaps hundreds) of comments on the issue over the past several days, I just don’t know for sure. The penultimate paragraph suggests sarcasm, so I’m guessing deadpan sarcasm.

If that’s what it is, it’s really, really deadpan. Because I just don’t know for sure whether he means it or not.

That worries me. But it also amuses me.

It Is Your Religious Duty to Try to Scare Airline Passengers

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:51 pm

See Dubya has an interesting post about Muslims who have been encouraged by their religious leaders to make a ruckus on planes and get people upset.

Another Question for Supporters of Jury Nullification

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:56 pm

This one is simple and straightforward.

Assume you’re a juror in a criminal case where you think the defendant is clearly guilty beyond a reasonable doubt — but you also believe that a conviction would be unjust. Maybe you disagree with the law on its face; maybe you just disagree with its application in this particular case. For whatever reason, a conviction is clearly the legally correct thing to do, but it might bother your conscience.

Would you ever convict in such a situation?

In other words, if you perceived a conflict between the demands of the rule of law and the demands of your conscience, would you always go with your conscience? Or can you imagine a situation where you decide that the consistent application of the rule of law is more important than your conscience?

If so, how would you decide when to apply the rule of law instead of your conscience?

I use words like “ever” and “always” in this post because I am trying to find out how absolute people’s views on this issue are.

FOLLOW-UP QUESTION: If your answer is that you would never convict in such a situation, then what would you do if faced with a choice between your conscience and the rule of law? Would you simply vote to acquit? Or would you tell the judge that you shouldn’t be a juror any more, because the law is telling you to do one thing, but your heart is telling you to do something else?

I’m going somewhere with this, but I want to see the comments before I continue. I’ll have a follow-up post tomorrow; leave a comment and then stay tuned.

R.I.P. Steve Irwin

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:25 am

Dafydd ab Hugh notes that Steve Irwin, that Australian guy who was always sticking his head in crocodiles’ mouths, has died — of a sting from a venomous sting ray.

I remember going to Sting Ray City in the Caymans and chuckling when one of my sisters was freaked out by the sting rays. I don’t know if they were venomous or not, but I confess I never really thought of sting rays as fatal to humans. I know better now.


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