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http://www.boston.com/news/local/new_ha ... wn/?page=1
Three and a half years ago, in a profanity-laced tirade, Bird warned a stranger who said she was lost to get off his land, 60 mountainside acres that are off the grid and plastered with “No Trespassing,’’ “Keep Out,’’ and “Private Property’’ signs. After his arrest, Christine Harris, then of Salem, N.H., testified that Bird waved a gun at her. He said the Sig-Sauer .45-caliber handgun remained in his holster. There were no witnesses to the confrontation at the home Bird shares with his wife, Virginia, and their four children.
The woman has a criminal background (2002 felony conviction for writing a bad check & a conviction on five counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty) yet her testimony alone was used to convict Bird. Bird was convicted of criminal threatening which carries a mandatory term of three to six years. The judge says he wanted to reduce the sentence but couldn't due to the sentencing guidelines. New Hampshire House Speaker William O'Brien and more than 100 House members have signed a petition asking Gov. John Lynch to pardon Ward Bird.

http://freewardbird.org/
 

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They threw the DA out of office! :shock:
Last month, facing her first serious election challenge since 1998, Gordon lost to Republican Thomas E. Dewhurst III. Moultonborough voted nearly 2 to 1 against her. “We got her out of there,’’ said Robert Holopainen, a Bird supporter who helps run the Irving service station. “That woman didn’t like two things: men and guns.’’
:lol:
 

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Since he did not testify, the jurors had only the accuser's testimony on which to base their decision.

I am not normally a criminal defense lawyer, but refusing to testify in his own defense may have been a bad decision, since nobody witnessed the incident, and there is no other evidence of what happened.

What do you do as a juror?

  • Accuser: "He did such and such."

    Defendant: [Crickets].

Does not leave much of a choice.
 

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Malum Prohibitum said:
Since he did not testify, the jurors had only the accuser's testimony on which to base their decision.

I am not normally a criminal defense lawyer, but refusing to testify in his own defense may have been a bad decision, since nobody witnessed the incident, and there is no other evidence of what happened.

What do you do as a juror?

  • Accuser: "He did such and such."

    Defendant: [Crickets].

Does not leave much of a choice.
So... this 'innocent until proven guilty' really means, 'innocent unless a convicted criminal and known lier says you're guilty'. Right?
 

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groats said:
Malum Prohibitum said:
Since he did not testify, the jurors had only the accuser's testimony on which to base their decision.

I am not normally a criminal defense lawyer, but refusing to testify in his own defense may have been a bad decision, since nobody witnessed the incident, and there is no other evidence of what happened.

What do you do as a juror?

  • Accuser: "He did such and such."

    Defendant: [Crickets].

Does not leave much of a choice.
So... this 'innocent until proven guilty' really means, 'innocent unless a convicted criminal and known lier says you're guilty'. Right?
The jury most likely was not told about her record. He wouldn't have known about it at the time of the incident and it would be considered prejudicial to the jury.
 

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Malum Prohibitum said:
Since he did not testify, the jurors had only the accuser's testimony on which to base their decision.

I am not normally a criminal defense lawyer, but refusing to testify in his own defense may have been a bad decision, since nobody witnessed the incident, and there is no other evidence of what happened.

What do you do as a juror?

  • Accuser: "He did such and such."

    Defendant: [Crickets].

Does not leave much of a choice.
Most of the time you dont want your client to testify b/c they could incriminate themselves. However, sometimes, you have to make a judgment call. In a case where it's he-said-she-said, it's probably a good idea to have your client testify when there are no other witnesses for him. There are exceptions (ie client's horrible record or similars, v/w's horrible record and history of lying or caught lying on stand b/4 client testifies). Ultimately, it is up to the client if they want to testify. I have a client right now with a similar situation and it appears it is going to trial (even though I worked out an awesome plea (felony to misd with no fine) :screwy: Should this go to trial, he will testify.
 

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groats said:
Malum Prohibitum said:
Since he did not testify, the jurors had only the accuser's testimony on which to base their decision.

I am not normally a criminal defense lawyer, but refusing to testify in his own defense may have been a bad decision, since nobody witnessed the incident, and there is no other evidence of what happened.

What do you do as a juror?

  • Accuser: "He did such and such."

    Defendant: [Crickets].

Does not leave much of a choice.
So... this 'innocent until proven guilty' really means, 'innocent unless a convicted criminal and known lier says you're guilty'. Right?
More like 'innocent until the evidence is presented and the jury feels you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt'
If you do not offer the jury any reason to doubt then what are they supposed to do?
 

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Priest said:
I say jury nullification!
Most jurors (which are sheep, in addition to being ignorant about the law), are not aware they have this power. They lap up whatever the prosecution and judge feeds them. Then, if one does hold out on voting guilty, he eventually caves just so he can go home and not be inconvenienced anymore.

I've got a feeling they don't quote the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (John Jay) too much, if at all, in public schools these days. He championed the right of jurors to judge not only the facts of the case, but the law itself as well.
 

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A witness (including the accuser, the alleged victim) can be "impeached" with evidence of a prior felony crime, especially a crime involving inherent dishonesty or lying or fraud. (For example, burglary is not such a crime, since lying/ fraud is not part of it. But passing stolen and forged checks would be. )
Some states limit the use of "impeachment" evidence from prior convictions. For example, only convictions in the last 10 years.
But it's up to the JURY to choose to believe or not believe the witness. Even if the opposing counsel "successfully" impeaches her, the jury will still be allowed to give great weight to her testimony of they want to. Ball's in their court.
 

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groats said:
So... this 'innocent until proven guilty' really means, 'innocent unless a convicted criminal and known lier says you're guilty'. Right?
So once a person has been convicted of a crime, they can never be a crime victim? The jury was faced with her sworn testimony of what happened. They had no other evidence contradicting it to consider. How could they possibly come to any conclusion other than guilty?
 

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wouldn't defense attorney CX play a part? after all the defense attorney would have heard the defendant's side of the story.
 

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Priest said:
I say jury nullification!
What exactly happens with jury nullification? Its just a hung jury and the trial has to be done all over again, right? Do Georgia civil & criminal trials require unanimous verdicts, or do super-majority votes cut it?
 

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Ok, I've been doing a bunch of reading and my initial understanding was mistaken in the intent/execution of jury nullification. I was under the impression that it was something an individual on the jury (or part of the jury) would do. Which would result in a hung jury. In actuality jury nullification is the entire jury returning a "not guilty" verdict in spite of evidence to the contrary due to some reason (most likely the disagreement with a given law).
 

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HydroAuto said:
Priest said:
I say jury nullification!
What exactly happens with jury nullification? Its just a hung jury and the trial has to be done all over again, right? Do Georgia civil & criminal trials require unanimous verdicts, or do super-majority votes cut it?
Jury nullification is the most power you can ever hold as a citizen....even over voting. Jury nullification allows the jury to nullify a law because they feel it is being wrongly used. The jury has the RIGHT TO INTERPRET THE LAW THEMSELVES. The jury is an all powerful entity in itself. The judge has no power over the jury.

Some legal eagle will better explain than I as I don't know specifics... but it goes back to an old old old court case where somewhere some government made it illegal to preach outside. Some dude preached outside and was arrested and tried. The jury felt the law was unjust and refused to indict him. The guy walked.
 

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jlcnuke said:
I vote he was either guilty or had a stupid lawyer..
This.

This has been an ongoing story in several northern papers. Still hard to figure out what happened. Made me think if this was just a trespass, not self defense, it would be better to call the police to deal with it.
 

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JiG said:
... but it goes back to an old old old court case where somewhere some government made it illegal to preach outside. Some dude preached outside and was arrested and tried. The jury felt the law was unjust and refused to indict him. The guy walked.
I think you're referring to the Bushell's case. The judge tried to coerce the jury into returning a guilty verdict.
The jury was then subsequently kept for three days without "meat, drink, fire and tobacco" to force them to bring in a guilty verdict and when they failed to do so the judge ended the trial. As punishment the judge ordered the jurors imprisoned until they paid a fine to the court. Four jurors refused to pay the fine and after several months, Edward Bushell sought a writ of habeas corpus. Chief Justice Vaughan, sitting on the Court of Common Pleas, discharged the writ, released them, called the power to punish a jury "absurd" and forbade judges from punishing jurors for returning a verdict the judge disagreed with.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_nullification
 
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