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Posted: 1/13/2002 2:48:27 AM EST
Wife had jury duty the other day. During questioning the prospective jurors were asked if they or any family were members of gun groups or if they or friends owned guns. My question is what happens if you refuse to answer these questions simply on the grounds it isn't any of their business. By the way, they were asked in the presence of the guy being charged with armed robbery during a "home invasion".
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 3:05:48 AM EST
What you are asking about is called "Voir Dire." IIRC it basically is jury stacking, IANAL so the best place to find information on this subject would be at [url]www.fija.org[/url]it is the third question on the FAQ page. From said page: "It depends. Most jurisdictions will allow you to answer a question privately, in front of the judge and lawyers only, if you feel uncomfortable about answering it in front of everyone else in the courtroom. And if you object to answering a question because you feel it's too personal, you should let the judge know." Also: "Questions like these are most often asked by prosecutors, sometimes by judges, and are used to disqualify people from serving if they appear to understand their power as jurors, or are aware that the jury has a political role. This makes it easier for the government to get convictions, especially under laws of questionable value and spotty public support-- precisely the kinds of laws which our nation's founders wanted juries to question." Hope this helps. Remember juries aren't just trying the case but also the validity of the law.
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 3:11:00 AM EST
Thank you SDavid. Wasn't sure how to answer when and if my time comes. This helps a lot.
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 3:25:26 AM EST
In the words of the Buddhist monk from [i]The Golden Child[/i] “He thinks I helped him” [:)] There are a lot of moral questions to ask yourself when you go to answer the questions. I’m going on the 12th of Feb, fifth time I’ve been called, three times I was excused due to military service, and twice I didn’t have to show. Let us know how this works. Good luck Your welcome,
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 5:44:19 AM EST
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 6:18:49 AM EST
Aimless, What if I were to respond with "Yes, a shotgun, a .22, and a deer rifle." So my question is: How close to perjury would this answer be? I told the truth, just not the "whole" truth because I do own more than three guns. It seems to satisfy their question without divulging what I truely own.
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 7:01:15 AM EST
Aimless, What about jury nullification. The purpose of a jury was also a check to bad laws. If a jury thinks that yes a person did violate the law but the law should not be a law they are supposed to issue a "not Guilty" verdict.
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 7:06:15 AM EST
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 7:18:13 AM EST
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 7:18:47 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/13/2002 7:20:40 AM EST by SF]
Originally Posted By Aimless: However I disagree with SDavid's statement that jurors try the validity of the law. That just is not true. Jurors only get to try the facts of the case. You will be asked if you will decide the case on the law as the judge presents it, even if you do not agree with it and you will probably be asked to state something like that under oath.
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Aimless: I follow all of your post except the above. I am surprised that you would deny the existance of jury nullification, as ADTECHARMS pointed out. On the other hand, I am aware that attorneys bringing up the concept of jury nullification in front of a jury are subject to censure. I suspect that any juror discussing jury nullification with other jurors is likely going to be removed and replaced. What is your feeling? Otherwise, thanks for the professional opinion! Edited to add: Guess you just answered that question!
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 7:20:07 AM EST
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 7:20:18 AM EST
My mom was called for jury duty last week and this very issue came up. The jury she was seated for was to hear a case involving possession of a firearm by a convicted felon as well as a host of other charges relating to that. The judge asked the MEN if they had served in the military and if they had they were excused. He again asked the MEN if they owned firearms and if they responded in the affirmative then they were excused. He then asked the WOMEN if they or anyone in their household owned any firearms and if so, how many and what type. There weren't any excused for that regardless of the answer, which begs WHY ASK THE FRIGGIN' QUESTION IN THE FIRST PLACE?!!!!! My mom just said, yes there were firearms in the house, but they were not hers and she had no idea of any of the particulars. The jury was then seated and a mistrial was promptly declared after a moron police officer proceeded to tell of the indictee's pre-Miranda statements even AFTER he was told not to do so. That's another story.
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 7:28:59 AM EST
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 7:35:57 AM EST
Originally Posted By Aimless: Yes say too much about "Jury Nullification" and I would guess that would get thrown off the jury "For Cause," meaning none of the attorneys has to use a preemptory challenge. The judge would probably say-"Whether you agree with the law as I am going to instruct you or not, you must promise to follow the law. If you don't agree with it you must petition the legislature to change it" That said I admit that I would leave a gun rights activist on if I were defending someone with only a possession type charge, hoping for just that result. I can't advocate for it, but I want you on the jury. A felon with a firearm tho, no way. I would think that most gun owners are going to clobber the guy.
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Thanks for the professional advice. In my case, at least, your assumptions about my tendencies to convict/acquit (all other things being equal) would be correct. Good to see a decent attorney here to contradict all of those ugly stereotypes!
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 7:39:54 AM EST
Aimless Don't you think one of the reasons that the legal system doesn't like jury nullification is the fact that if it was practiced as it should alot of our laws would not exist and they would lose control of us? just a couple of quotes on the subject: "The jury has a RIGHT to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy" John Jay, 1st Cheif Justice US Supreme Court 1789 "The jury has the RIGHT to determine both the law and the facts" Samual Chase, US Supreme Court Justice, 1796 "The jury has the power to bring a verdict in the teeth of both law and fact" Oliver Wendall Holmes, US Supreme Court Justice 1902 "The law itself is on trial quite as much as the cause which is to be decided" Harlan F. Stone, 12th Cheif Justice US Supreme Court BTW My opinions are one reason I will probably never sit on a jury. Las ttime I was called they specifically asked if I would convict of a law I disagreed with (it was a gambling case) and I honestly answered I would not. This drew an intersting response from the defense.
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 8:16:18 AM EST
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 8:28:55 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/13/2002 8:30:49 AM EST by Aimless]
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 8:35:31 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/13/2002 8:36:29 AM EST by ECS]
I was juror in a federal criminal trial last year. During the selection process you were expected to answer the questions posed. There were no gun or drug questions. They did want to know if you were law enforcement. There were some goofballs in the jury pool who expressed 'concern' about minimum mandatory sentenancing. When the Judge explained the case had nothing to do with this, they still said thay had 'issues'. The Judge finally dismissed these idiots. Personally I'm glad he did because I would hate to have to deal with them as a peer juror [whacko]
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 8:46:39 AM EST
Aimless, Some more quotes for you. "May a 1000 guilty men go free so one innocent man never spends a day in jail" When exactly did this get reversed? "The law has nothing to do with justice" from "Law and Order:SVU" Yes if someone I knew got hurt I don't know how my feelings would change. I rarley change my opinions due to personal experiances. An example of this is I don't believe in welfare. I am also qualified for money from the Govt (VA disability) and I don't take it because I believe it is wrong.
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 10:49:45 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/13/2002 11:27:29 AM EST by Francisco_dAnconia]
Originally Posted By Aimless: However I disagree with SDavid's statement that jurors try the validity of the law. That just is not true. Jurors only get to try the facts of the case. You will be asked if you will decide the case on the law as the judge presents it, even if you do not agree with it and you will probably be asked to state something like that under oath. Certainly some jurors ignore that. Whether one is willing to commit perjury and go back on one's word because of one's political beliefs is something no one else can answer; but that isn't how the system is supposed to work.
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My opinion on the subject is that the judge's instruction to the jury is not binding and the judge has no right to ask the jury to take an oath to follow his instructions, hence any oath for this purpose is null and void (i.e. not perjury.) Francisco [Edited for clarity and because my opinion was stated too strongly the first time.]
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 11:10:30 AM EST
Just last year the kalidiot state supreme kourt ruled that jury nullification is not legal. Good for them.
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 1:35:21 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 2:05:46 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 2:09:20 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 2:49:44 PM EST
Originally Posted By Aimless: "Jury Nullification" is not an "accepted" legal principle, as far as I know. The judge will instruct you on the law i.e. if you find that the defendant possessed a magazine with a a capacity for holding more than 10 rounds manufactured after such and such a date you must find him guilty. You don't get to say, "Gee Judge that's stupidest law I ever heard of, cut the defendant loose."
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What role does the jury serve in our courts? The judge, who is far more knowledgeable about the law should be able to determine from the facts presented if the defendant is guilty or not. If that's not good enough, why not a professional jury that was experienced in the legal system? What purpose is served by picking a dozen random yahoos off the street? If their purpose is to listen to the case and follow the directions given by the judge, they're going to do a mediocre job at best. I believe the purpose of the jury is to allow society at large to thumb their nose at the system when it is outright wrong. Otherwise, it makes more sense to leave that band of amateurs out of the procedure.
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 3:02:20 PM EST
What role does the jury serve in our courts? The judge, who is far more knowledgeable about the law should be able to determine from the facts presented if the defendant is guilty or not. If that's not good enough, why not a professional jury that was experienced in the legal system? What purpose is served by picking a dozen random yahoos off the street? If their purpose is to listen to the case and follow the directions given by the judge, they're going to do a mediocre job at best. I believe the purpose of the jury is to allow society at large to thumb their nose at the system when it is outright wrong. Otherwise, it makes more sense to leave that band of amateurs out of the procedure.
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Actually, you have the option of a bench trial (proceeeding before only a judge) if you're not confident of the jury pool.
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 3:05:51 PM EST
Originally Posted By Jim_Dandy: Actually, you have the option of a bench trial (proceeeding before only a judge) if you're not confident of the jury pool.
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You do have that option, but I'm curious what the presumed role of the jury is, if it's not to judge the law with the circumstances and facts of the case.
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 3:27:55 PM EST
I have absolutely no idea. In Oklahoma all it takes to be considered is a valid Oklahoma driver's license. You're in there with all kinds of lowlifes ("Can I be excused on Thursday?" "Why?" "Because I have to appear in court for shoplifting."). Attorneys generally prefer uneducated jurors who can be led along to believe a certain version of facts. What a joke.
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 3:28:49 PM EST
Jurry Nullification is the entire point of having a jury in the first place. Without it, the entire concept of a jury is pointless. [url]http://www.anotherpundit.com/cgi/viewnews.cgi?newsid987058609,32922,[/url] (old article, but good.)
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 3:32:54 PM EST
A jury is a marvelous way to keep the "authorities" in line. We are all entitled to trial by a jury of our peers. Our neighbors are best suited to determine, from the facts presented, whether we screwed the pooch. It sometimes seems strange but most often, IMHO, the jury comes to a good decision in criminal matters. In civil cases, I sometimes wonder. All in all, the jury system helps protect us from the government. I have sat on several juries. I think every one should do so at least once. Any attorney should have to sit once before he gets his license! When that jury closes the door, what they decide is pretty much up to their own consence (sp). Remember a trial that included a CCW charge against a woman because ANOTHER woman had a gun in her purse when they were arrested! Weren't even both in the vehicle at time of arrest. We felt charge was idiotic - you know what is in your WIFE's purse? It was state stacking charges against her and it pissed the jury off so we found her innocent of ALL charges. Some years later, I discussed it with the prosecuter in a casual conversation. He was kinda surprised. It was same case that got our then local judge awarded Hustler's "asshole of the month"!!
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 3:45:42 PM EST
Yeah, what the Mouse said. The Man can say whatever he wants in an effort to cannalize/control/predetermine how you vote, but if it's my say, then it's my say. When I go into that jury room, I will By God vote my conscience.
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 4:20:34 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 4:38:16 PM EST
Originally Posted By Aimless: Then the jury is given a jury verdict sheet with questions that are sort of a flow chart. for example 1.Did the defendant hit the victim if yes go to 2 2. Did that cause serious injury if yes go to 3 3. Did the defendant strike the victim because he was feared that the victim was going to attack him-if yes to to 4 if no return guilty verdict 4. would a reasonable person in the same situation think that the victim was going to attack him if yes return not guilty verdit if no return guilty verdict
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This is why I think jury nullification is the unwritten part of the purpose behind having a jury. This role could be performed by a computer or a judge much better than a group of inexperienced people. I don't dispute that this is how it works, and that's the official party line. However, it doesn't make any sense to have the jury at all if they're basically supposed to return the verdict the judge has informed them is the desired one, based on the instructions given.
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