Jury Nullification

Discussion in 'Off-topic' started by gunsmoker, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    In the news this week, the state legislature is considering allowing juries who have already convicted somebody of murder (by unanimous verdict, long a state law requirement) to recommend death by LESS THAN a unanimous decision, to allow for the situtation when a couple of jurors simply do not agree with capital punishment and will not impose it no matter how brutal the crime. (And these jurors were not open and honest about their opinions during voir dire / jury selection, otherwise they wouldn't have been allowed on the jury).

    Since we gun-rights people talk about jury nullification a lot, in the context of citizens simply refusing to convict somebody for violating what we think is an unconstitutional or just plain idiotic gun control law, I was wondering what y'all think about allowing criminal convictions based on a less than unanimous verdict-- maybe 9, 10, or 11 out of 12, instead of all 12 of them voting "guilty"?

    Here's why I think it might be a good idea. What's the point of allowing legislators to be elected with a bare majority vote, and those legislators passing laws with a bare majority vote, if those laws cannot be enforced against violators if only 9% of the people disagree with the law?

    Ideally, even those people who disagree with a law would recognize that their side lost and that the law IS the law, which must be followed and enforced, but many people these days figure that it's OK to do whatever they want to push their personal agenda, or they simply can't bring themselves to honor their oath as jurors to uphold the law.

    Now, however you feel about this, remember it would apply equally to all instances of jury nullification. Gun owners would have less chance of escaping punishment thanks to one or two fellow citizens who were strong Second Amendment supporters. But people of certain races and ethnic backgrounds would stand a greater chance of getting the punishment they deserve, rather than being "given a break" by jurors of the same race or ethnicity who feel a strong kinship for "one of their own." And fewer criminals would escape punishment because one or two idiot jurors (I mean literally stupid and moronic, low IQ, borderline retarded) simply cannot understand the evidence-- they think DNA is a bunch of hocus-pocus, they can't follow a timeline of events, they have no powers of logic or deductive reasoning, etc.

    It's not like we have a major problem with lots of criminals going free when they are obviously guilty, due to juror nullification. I think it's still rare. But when it DOES happen, it sure is painful to watch. And allowing even a handful of criminals to escape the proper punishment makes our society a bit less safe.
     
  2. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    I support it. The lady who is pushing this bill is a friend of mine. Her daughter and toddler granddaughter were kidnapped at gunpoint from Panhandle Park in Clayton County (a park which has a "no guns" ordinance) and taken to another park in Gwinnett County (which is currently reconsidering, reluctantly, its gun ban under pressure from GCO) and shot and then burned in the trunk. One or the other of course watched the other murdered.

    There was no doubt as to this man's guilt.

    And yet two people on the jury refused to vote for the death penalty.
     

  3. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Why would you want to carry a gun in a park?

    I think it is important to remember their names, too. Jordan and Whitney Land.
    [​IMG]

    Jordan
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    And this bill is not talking about less than unanimous verdicts for guilt. So this part of your post just is not true.

    [-(
     
  5. Adam5

    Adam5 Atlanta Overwatch

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    I feel that the death penalty should be given with a simple majority vote among the jurors. If a simple majority is enough to elect our legislators who make our laws, it should be enough to administer corporal punishment to those who murder our fellow citizens.

    On a personal note, I'm sorry to hear about what happened to you friends.
     
  6. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    I did not know them. The grandmother is a friend, and it was her daughter and granddaughter who were the victims, but thank you.
     
  7. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

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    I disagree.

    Putting someone to death is a VERY big decision to make; one that ought not be made lightly.
     
  8. Adam5

    Adam5 Atlanta Overwatch

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    The problem with the death penalty in the US is the way it's carried out. I don't mean the method either.

    Here's how it goes:

    1) A suspect is found guilty in a court of law by a jury of his/her peers.
    2) The convicted person is sentenced to death.
    3) Spends the next 25 years filing appeal after appeal.
    4) Appears on TV a few times talking about how he/she is wrongly accused.
    5) Writes a few books about it.
    6) Eats up millions of dollars of taxpayer money durring stpes 3-5.
    7) Appeals to US Supreme Court.
    8 ) Asks the Gov. of his state for clemency.
    9) Asks the President for clemency.
    10) Gets out out of our misery.

    Here's how I think It should go:

    1) A suspect is found guilty in a court of law by a jury of his/her peers.
    2) The convicted person is sentenced to death.
    3) The death row inmate has 1 year to get his/her 1 appeal filed.
    4) He/she has 1 more year for appeal to be tried.
    5) If the appeal fails............ BANG within 24 hours.
     
  9. slabertooch

    slabertooch New Member

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    Personally, I like the way they do it in Iraq. My father is over there right now and he tells me that hangings are a very public event, and frequent.

    If your found guilty of a crime that rates the death penalty, upon conviction, when your 1 appeal is exhausted (if a judge feels you warrant an appeal) it's of to the gallows no later than 30 days.
     
  10. Adam5

    Adam5 Atlanta Overwatch

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    The next time you hear from your father, thank him for his service, for me. :righton:

    I just don't understand this 30 years on death row at taxpayer expense thing. If you want to cut down on the number capitol crimes, you need to have swift, strong consequences for comitting them. If someone who is found guilty of a capitiol crime is hanged or executed by firing squad shortly after being found guilty, people will start to think twice about comitting those crimes.
     
  11. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

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    Adam5, I disagree.

    I think that while it does take a long time, and is at considerable expense to tax payers it is necessary.

    I would much rather house/feed/etc death row inmates for decades then execute an innocent person.

    Witnesses make mistakes, police make mistakes, prosecutors make mistakes, juries make mistakes, judges make mistakes.

    Look at some of the rape cases that are being overturned twenty some years later. New DNA technology helps set people free from crimes they did not commit.

    While yes, the appeals process takes a long time, I think that is a better alternative than murdering the wrong person. But don't get me wrong, I am all for the death penalty and all for putting bad people to death. I would just want to make sure that I am 100% in the right before I do something that is irreversible.
     
  12. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Who said anything about making the decision lightly? If I were king, :wink: , there would be no penalty available for murder but death. Therefore, there would be no punishment phase to the trial at all. If the jury unanimously found the murderer guilty, then his punishment is death.

    A unanimous guilt decision has already been made.

    Frankly, I do not understand the viewpoint of a person that can look at that child and think her murderer deserving to live.
     
  13. Adam5

    Adam5 Atlanta Overwatch

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    ALL HAIL KING MP!!! :bowdown:
     
  14. Macktee

    Macktee New Member

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    I don't like the death penalty the way it's used in this country.

    Look at the Brian Nichols fiasco. $1.2 million and he hasn't even gone to trial yet!

    If he got life without parole the end result would be the same, he'd die in prison.

    It would save us a lot of money to do it that way. By the time all of his appeals are exhausted, we will have spent far more money than it would take to lock him up until he dies of old age.

    Each time he files an appeal, it costs us. AND, he gets to go to court which gives him another opportunity to escape.

    By the time all of the appeals have ended, he'll be an old man. Hell! He may well die of old age before that happens.

    Save the money! Throw his ass in a cell and throw away the key!!!

    A very good friend was a Louisville cop and one hell of a nice guy. He and his partner were shot to death while sitting in their car in a high crime area. The killers were caught and sentenced to death.

    The appeals dragged on for years and years. Eventually, the sentences were commuted to life. One of them came up for parole about 20 or 25 years after he killed my buddy.

    He was a completely different person from the punk who pulled the trigger. The board granted him parole.

    At first I was pissed. Then I realized, if Wilbur had been alive to have his say in the matter, I know he would have agreed with the parole board. He was that kind of guy...

    So, my opinion is, unless there is absolutely no doubt of guilt, the death penalty should be carried out almost immediately. Otherwise, I think it should be abolished.
     
  15. mzmtg

    mzmtg Active Member

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    I've been slowly making the transition from pro- to anti- regarding the death penalty.

    Our goverment (and its judicial system) screws up almost everything it touches. I think the stakes are too high to let them hold anyone's life directly in their hands.

    That's the short, forum-friendly version of my current thoughts on the issue.

    Following that reasoning, I would oppose the new bill.
     
  16. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    Two Comments

    1-- My post is about the idea of allowing less than unanimous CONVICTIONS. The current legislation that would allow for less than unanimous death sentences is just part of it, and what inspired my post. But keep in mind that it's not written in stone that jury verdicts have to be unanimous. That's tradition, but so far it's not a federal constitutional requirement.

    If 80% of the population strongly supports a law, and 10% don't really care one way or the other, and 10% hate the law and strongly oppose it, our current system allows the 10% to prevent anybody from getting convicted for violating the law that they disagree with. Because in each jury of 12, you are likely to have one person who can refuse to vote in agreement with the others.

    2-- The problem with imposing the death penalty on all persons convicted of "murder" is that sometimes the evidence is not overwhelming and there is room for reasonable doubt. Jury trials may be the "best" way of determining guilt or innocence that our society has been able to come up with to date, but it's still an imperfect process. Lots of evidence that is clearly relevant is kept out, and while most of the time it is the State's evidence that is excluded, sometimes the defendant is forbidden from telling the jury all the information he thinks the jury should know about the case.

    And there's the thing about innocent victims. Not all murder victims are innocent. Some of them are criminals killed by fellow criminals. There is no honor among theives. Some murder victims are bad people who make enemies wherever they go, and are hated my many people.

    Remember, any law you pass as you think about the cold-blooded thug that murders the young mother and her beautiful little daughter in the park will also have to be applied to the case where Man "A" sells Man "B" what he says is a kilo of powder cocaine for $10,000 when in fact it is baking soda, and Man "B" finds this out later and, after 72 hours of searching, finds Man "A" and beats him to a bloody pulp with his bare hands and feet, and Man "A" who normally would have survived such a beating ends up dying in the hospital because an inexperienced nursing assistant put the wrong dose of painkiller into his I.V. drip bag.

    They're both murder. Right now, the minimum possible sentence for each case is "life in prison." Let's not pass another law saying both cases are equally worthy of the death penalty.
     
  17. Macktee

    Macktee New Member

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    Well GS, I like your thoughts on this.

    I do not believe all human life is sacred and that a human life is a life is a life. Some people do not deserve to die just as some do not deserve to live.

    As stated above, I do not believe in the death penalty as it is handled in this country. In the case of some thug taking the life of a child or a normal person vs. one thug killing another, I would pause before voting for death. Given the choice, I'd go for life without the possibility of parole.

    In the first case, if I was convinced of thug's guilt, I'd vote for death. Yeah, it goes against what I just said, but there's no chance of parole from a death sentence.

    In the second case, if I was convinced... etc., I'd probably vote for death as well. As a thug in the general prison population, he'd be in his element and still be a thug. So, waste his ass!

    For some people, like the nut case who blew up the OK federal building, life in prison would have been the worst penalty to give him. He gladly went to his death thinking it would start the revolution. How much better and more cruel to let him wither away forgotten by the world.

    But, the way the penalty is handled, I would probably never vote to put anyone to death if life without the possibility of parole is an option.
    It's cheaper to keep them locked up than pay for the appeals. If that's not an option, then maybe I'd do it in some cases.

    Like I said, there's no possibility of parole from Death Row...and very few executions. Well, very few outside of Texas, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China,
    Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand, Belarus, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Afghanistan and probably a few other bastions of freedom and democracy I forgot to include!

    Someday, I'll have to tell you about the jury I was on that was a murder trial and the state was asking for death. Someday...




    .
     
  18. SigmanSauer

    SigmanSauer New Member

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    Terminate the Maggots on a Majority Only

    Wow, kind of weird to see some of the gun owners in the forum opposing a less than Unanimous decision to execute child murderers and the like. Ok, I have to ask, as you carry your firearm on a daily basis (you strongly agree you should have that right correct?) you encounter a “car jacker†that points his pistol at you and your children. He then tells you and your children to get in the trunk. You feel the cold steel of your pistol pressing against your side under your coat and realize you better make a decision to either comply with the magotts whims and place your children’s lives in this maggots hands or to quickly draw and place two rounds in his cranial vault. You decide to place those rounds and throw an extra one in for good measure to his chest. Maybe you should have stopped and asked the opinions of a few people before you did this. You don't have a unanimous agreement to kill this poor, innocent, misguided, abused as a child lad before you send him on his way, where he should be sent.

    I too am a friend of Jordan and Whitney's family and I can tell you they have been put through HELL with this case. This maggot looked at a 2 year old child as she sat in her car seat then shot her once in the chest and as she was crying and drowning from her chest wound he then shot her again in her face. The juror that held out against the death penalty in the sentencing phase sited a racial reason for holding out by the way. This should have been brought up by her that she couldn’t rule for the death penalty due to her racial opinions and she would have then been struck from the jury by prosecution. Instead she committed perjury and in my strong opinion should be arrested and put in prison for it. The jury convicted this maggot Harris of being guilty of the actual crime unanimously in less than 15 minutes by the way. All this crap about DNA freeing innocent rapists that the news is siting is a bunch of horse squeeze. It has nothing to do with cases like this one. Totally different situations. The news likes to air these cases over and over to appeal to the liberals and does not give near the attention to the family of a 2 year old toddler and her 22 year old mother who were murdered in absolute cold blood for a damned car and purse!! I am happy innocent people are being freed of there rape charges, if they are in deed innocent but this is different do not confuse them. Who's fighting for Jordan and Whitney's justice?

    I support this bill and everyone should know it was introduced because of the heinous crimes committed against Jordan and Whitney and the terrible way the family was treated by the justice system. The bill is in honor of them. The family endured 6 years of agonizing mistrials and delays some of them based on the Hispanic make up of the jury pool and other lame technicalities such as attorneys not being prepared for trial, only to end with a decision 6 years later that seems to subliminally say that this maggot Wesley Harris' life means more to everyone than the law abiding innocent victims who were mother and child only trying to enjoy a day out at a park in the toddlers new dress. Once maggots capable of crimes like this are convicted of said heinous crimes, they should be transported to a firing squad immediately and terminated then thrown in the local dump to be incinerated.

    Please support this bill. This could have been any of our families and we can’t let criminals capable of these types of atrocities keep getting away with them. Jordan and Whitney’s lives were stolen away from them as Harris gets to wake up and see the sun and skies when he gets his mandatory outside time. This is not justice! God Bless Jordan and Whitney both, lets not let there death be in vain. Call your representatives right now and support this bill.
     
  19. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

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    SigmanSauer,

    You do not need a majority opinion to defend yourself or your family. Your scenario is apples to oranges because we are talking about a court of law.

    My heart goes out to Jordan and Whitney's family. But you cannot let emotions cloud your judgment. And creating law from emotion is one of the worst things I can think of. It is how we end up with laws that prohibit certain types of guns after a lone madman shoots up a mall, how we can only have ten round magazines after a madman shoots another person with a revolver. Making laws from emotion is what anti gun people do. I for one do not want laws made from emotion.

    With all due respect you are dead wrong about people being freed from wrongful convictions being "a bunch of horse squeeze." And while yes, it has nothing to do with murder cases, it just goes to show that there are mistakes made.

    If every case was as clear cut as Jordan and Whitney's then it would be different. But the simple fact is not every case will be so clear cut. I just believe that before any man is deprived life, liberty, or property (no matter who they are) that every step has been put in place to guard against their rights being taken away. Make no mistake, the law that can be applied to the most horrible person can also be applied to anyone else.
     
  20. ICP_Juggalo

    ICP_Juggalo Active Member

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    I'm with Malum and Sigman on this one. If someone has already been found guilty of a crime, then why does it require another jury trial to determine the sentence? Isn't that what the purpose of a having judge is for? For him to judge the severity of the crime and apply an appropriate sentence as allowed by law?

    I remember hearing about this case on the news several times and just now recalling some of the vivid details as provided by Sigman. How can anyone feel that Wesley Harris is fit to live after this? IMHO those 2 jurors that held out from executing him are no better than he is. He is not a human, he is a monster and should be treated as such. His method of execution should be the same he applied to the baby. His ass should be strapped down in a chair and then shot once in the chest. Then let him sit there and gurgle and start to drown on his own bodily fluids and just before he starts to pass out, constanty show him pictures of his victims and remind him that he is going through exactly what he put his victims through. Then right before he passes out from lack of oxygen, slap him in the face a few times to get his attention and then have him look over at the person pointing a gun at him and then squezze the trigger - that way he can see it coming and then lights out.

    All I can say is that if I am ever put in the situation that this family has been put through, then the maggot had better pray that the authorities get to him before I do, cause I'll be coming for him and hell will be coming with me....

    For anyone who can't understand that, then may I direct your attention to my signature - it contains the measure of my resolve in a situation like this...