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View Poll Results: What would you do if you receive a Federal Court jury summons?
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons
Old 01-12-2007, 05:27 PM   #21
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons

Weeellll...its a little different...i'm talking about someone uncomfortable with the sentence, not the crime.

If half the potential jury pool is uncomfortable with the death sentence vs life in prison, shouldnt that be reflected in the jury itself? Isnt it usually that the death sentence is a sentencing option, and not the expected default (except for 'special' cases where its mandated).

With this argument, bear in mind that i'm far more interested in seeing someone convicted of a serious violent crime get the death sentence rather than eat my tax dollars for 40 years.
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons
Old 01-12-2007, 05:36 PM   #22
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex
5 months? sorry, there's just no way I could do it. The summons would get tossed, and I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.

IMHO, Jury duty is really for government workers and retiree's. People like me need to keep working so we can pay taxes.

Other quote:
Bullsh*t! I've served everytime I have been called upon for regular jury duty and have never complained. But five months would mean financial hardship for me and just about anyone else who isn't either retired or works for the gov't.
YOUR QUOTE... the sentences are exclusive... so don't come back and make a statement that it was ONLY for this 5 month trial.... OR, write better.. I am not the only one who read it this way...
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons
Old 01-12-2007, 06:04 PM   #23
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons

Well, the first two words in my original post were : 5 months?
It's no sweat off my nose.

BTW, I have a strict no-insult policy on forums. You should try it.

NEXT!!!!
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons
Old 01-12-2007, 06:11 PM   #24
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas
I can't believe a judge with any experience would ask such an open ended question. Usually it's all yes-no stuff "Could you consider the death penalty?"
Maybe it was, Leonidas. It was awhile back that he related this story to me.

I am morally opposed to the death penalty, yet I agree that as long as it remains
a legal penalty, it is reasonable to exclude persons (like myself) who find it
reprehensible from the jury.

As far as the courtroom being empty, I thought it was pretty standard procedure
to have a whole "panel" of potential jurors present and question them one by one.
Then again, I've never been in court (knock on wood), having been called for jury
duty twice but both times told I didn't need to report when I called that morning.

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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons
Old 01-12-2007, 07:05 PM   #25
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons

Quote:
I've never heard of a jury summons indicating how long the expected service is. There are always more than one trial going on and nobody knows what court you will be sent to until after you are sitting in the assembly room.
The jury summons I've received (city and county) have always been for a specific case and have given an estimate of the time (usually a week or two).

Most settled before trial; the one that was not, they had a full panel before they got to me.
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons
Old 01-12-2007, 11:51 PM   #26
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Guapo
Weeellll...its a little different...i'm talking about someone uncomfortable with the sentence, not the crime.
The point I was trying to make was that the juror has to be impartial. I used the pedophile thing to just make an easy illustration, but while that deals with a juror's partiality about a crime the question of punishment also deals with partiality because both the crime and the punishment are written in the law. Just as no juror can be seated who has already decided, before hearing the evidence, that a particular act should not be illegal, neither could a juror be seated who cannot consider the full range of punishment that the law allows.

The Supremes said that capital punishment is in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, provided that the jury is given sufficient guidance as to the circumstances under which they can decide to impose it. In other words, not only does the prosecution have to prove that the defendant committed a crime and win a guilty verdict, but then, if they are asking for death, they have to come back and met a second set of standards that would allow the jury to even consider death. Capital punishment is not the only possible punishment in capital cases - it is just one of at least two alternatives that can be sought from the jury.

If the jury deliberates and decides that the state did not meet the standard for the death penalty then it is removed from the table as a possible punishment. In fact, in Texas, since the only other possible sentence is life in prison, the jury is done. They come back and say the prosecution failed to meet the burden by proving to them that the required set of special circumstances were present in this case for them to consider death as a punishment. But, if they decide that yes, the special circumstances are present, then they have to decide what they think is the appropriate punishment - death or life imprisonment.

Any juror who is not willing to make a decision considering all the possible alternatives allowed under the law (i.e. guilty or not guilty, punishment from minimum to maximum) would not be making a valid decision because they had arbitrarily taken something off the table that was supposed to be there.

In your earlier post you used the word "bias" as opposed to "uncomfortable" in the more recent post. Either, when expressed by a potential juror, would mean that their views would be explored more fully. But only to determine their ability to consider death as a possibility. If by saying "I'm biased againt the death penalty" a potential juror means "I wouldn't vote for it no matter what the facts of this case are", that person is not qualified because of their prejudice. If by saying "I'm uncomfortable with the death penalty" a potential juror means "I'm not necessarily against the death penalty, I just don't know that I could vote for it no matter what the facts are", then that person is also not qualified to sit on the jury.
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons
Old 01-13-2007, 01:07 AM   #27
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex
Well, the first two words in my original post were : 5 months?
It's no sweat off my nose.

BTW, I have a strict no-insult policy on forums. You should try it.

NEXT!!!!
Quote:
IMHO, Jury duty is really for government workers and retiree's. People like me need to keep working so we can pay taxes. Smiley
I was insulted by your post..... You insulsted people who go to jury duty AND government workers and retirees... you insinuate that people that go to jury duty don't work 'like you'.... I still read the sentences as separate... so I guess you don't follow your strict no-insult policy...

PS.... I didn't insult you... I stated that your post made you look like you were more important than others... and I said nobody is that important... if you take that as an insult I am sorry... but I stand by my statement...
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons
Old 01-13-2007, 06:45 AM   #28
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons

I've only made it to one jury panel in my entire life but I've been summoned many times. On the civil jury panel one of the lawyers described the case which was based on the death of the woman's husband in an industrial accident. When asked about my opinion of the case, I quoted the OSHA reference and said if they company violated this statute why isn't this a criminal case? I was ejected after being asked if I had said anything to any other potential juror. There are ways to get out of jury duty even if you don't try.
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons
Old 01-13-2007, 09:09 AM   #29
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud
I am surprised there was anybody in the court room... I was interviewed with only the lawyers and judge present... (with the other court people also).. no spectators allowed...
I know that differences from state to state exist, but here we have differences within the same state. Of course Texas is huge...Anyway, I've never seen jurors questioned in a closed court. Sometimes the judge might ask some questions of the group and then turn it over to the two attorneys. Most of the time the questions are asked of the entire panel "Is there anyone here who has ever been the victim of a crime?" Then they will ask anyone answering in the affirmative some additional questions regarding how their experience would affect their impartiality.
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons
Old 01-13-2007, 10:01 AM   #30
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Guapo
With this argument, bear in mind that i'm far more interested in seeing someone convicted of a serious violent crime get the death sentence rather than eat my tax dollars for 40 years.
It'd be interesting to see which is more expensive-- the "life" sentence or the death sentence.

Interesting financial "solution" to a moral problem, too.
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons
Old 01-13-2007, 10:34 AM   #31
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons

I believe I read something about what the costs are for both somewhere Nords. I just don't remember which was more expensive.
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons
Old 01-13-2007, 11:00 AM   #32
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons

With the endless automatic appeals and the length of the death penalty process, its often more expensive to put someone on death row.

I suppose theres a lot to be said for the "better to let 100 murderers go free than execute an innocent man" theory, and its eyebrow raising to see the number of people set free from prison due to new evidence and DNA testing, but its drops in a bucket.

Leonidas...well formed arguments but the point I was trying to make remains. If you exclude people from a jury for a particular opinion, you're creating a preexisting bias. I feel that many people who arent altogether excited about the death penalty might change their minds when faced with the evidence, crimes and presence of a true monster that should be wiped from society. If they are not swayed and cannot be convinced by 10 or 11 other reasonable people, then perhaps their opinion should be heard.

Again, remember that i'm for the death penalty and think in many cases we should shorten (and cheapen) the process considerably. Seems to me the jury process overall tends to eliminate many people with strong opinions, knowledge of the situation, etc. I think thats unfortunate. Perhaps a little more extensive and possibly heated deliberation between less easily swayed people up would result in improved judicial results.
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons
Old 01-13-2007, 11:02 AM   #33
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
It'd be interesting to see which is more expensive-- the "life" sentence or the death sentence.

Interesting financial "solution" to a moral problem, too.
Everybody has a budget. The decision to seek the death penalty in many jurisdictions is not made solely on a moral basis (if anybody deserved the death sentence it's this defendant), but a financial basis (if anybody deserved the death sentence it's this defendant, but we don't have $100,000 in the budget to spend building a capital case so let's plead him out).

Social scientists looking at why crime goes up or down are, to my way of thinking, a little like economists trying to decipher why the economy zigged or zagged. They have great ideas that sound logical, but put them all in a room and they could never come to a consensus. So I look at this based solely on my experiences. There was a time here when the PD was incredibly understaffed with low morale and a thin budget. At the same time the prisons were in a similar situation and defendants were serving a low fraction of their true sentence. Receiving a month's credit for a day served was the common case. Crime was rampant in this city and I remember that we were in double digit homicides most weekends. I personally investigated a few homicides as a patrol officer because every homicide detective in the city was already working a scene.

Move forward a few years and a new mayor found some very creative (and controversial) sources of funding that pumped tens of millions of dollars into law enforcement. We got our first raise in a decade, started hiring cops again, and we had access to overtime funds and the equipment we needed. He also, along with the general public, put pressure on the state to fix the prisons. A massive expansion of prison capacity followed and created a situation where people actually served what a jury had handed out.

PBS did a documentary on it and had to conclude, even though the obviously struggled with it, that crime was reduced here far in excess of what could be explained by any changes in demographics.

I won't even step off into my opinions of the death penalty, and I do believe that society has at times put the cart in front of the horse on ways to prevent crime as opposed to punishing it, but I do know that removing criminals from society reduces crime.
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons
Old 01-13-2007, 12:15 PM   #34
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons

FYI...


The Risks of Death: Why Erroneous Convictions Are Common in Capital Cases by Samuel Gross, 44 Buffalo L. Rev. 469, 494 (1996)

Page 494:

Death Qualification. In capital cases, juries decide the sentence as well as determine guilt or innocence. As a result, the jury selection process includes a unique procedure, "death qualification," that is designed to ensure that the jury is qualified for the sentence phase. Most jurors who are strongly opposed to the death penalty, and some who are strongly in favor, are excluded at the outset. fn 108 Many studies have shown that these exclusions make the jury more likely to convict. In addition, the process of questioning jurors about their willingness to impose the death penalty before the defendant has been convicted tends to create the impression that guilt is a foregone conclusion, and the only real issue is punishment. fn 110

fn 109 (some studies)

Claudia L. Cowan et al., The Effects of Death Qualification on Jurors' Predisposition to Convict and on the Quality of Deliberation, 8 LAW & HUM. BEHAV. 53 (1984);

Robert Fitzgerald & Phoebe C. Ellsworth, Due Process v. Crime Control: Death Qualification and Jury Attitudes, 8 LAW & HUM. BEHAV. 31 (1984).

See generally Hovey v. Superior Court, 616 P.2d 1301, 1315-1341 (Cal. 1980) and studies cited therein;

see also Grigsby v. Mabry, 569 F. Supp. 1273 (E.D. Ark. 1983), aff'd 758 F.2d 226 (8th Cir. 1985) (en banc), rev'd sub nom Lockhart v. McCree, 476 U.S. 162 (1986).
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons
Old 01-13-2007, 12:23 PM   #35
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Guapo
Leonidas...well formed arguments but the point I was trying to make remains. If you exclude people from a jury for a particular opinion, you're creating a preexisting bias. I feel that many people who arent altogether excited about the death penalty might change their minds when faced with the evidence, crimes and presence of a true monster that should be wiped from society.
I think we're actually nearly in agreement. Let me add this to see if it makes it any clearer:

Jurors can have opinions, but it cannot reach the level of bias that would preclude them from even considering the death penalty. They can be a hard sell, but they have to be willing to listen to the opposing argument and give it a fair shot. If they say 'No" before ever hearing the argument then they cannot be a fair juror.

If a potential juror expresses reservation about the death penalty, but agrees to consider it in the deliberations, the judge will not allow that person to be struck from the panel for cause. The legal standard is only that a juror has to agree to be held to the law and consider the entire range of potential punishment if the defendant is found guilty. The Supremes cleared that up under the old death penalty laws when they said mere reservations about the death penalty are not sufficient to strike a person from the juror.

But, after all the potential jurors have been examined during voire dire, and some stricken for cause, there is another process to go through before the final members of the jury are sworn in and the rest of the panel sent home. During voire dire, each attorney is sizing up every juror member based on their responses and a whole plethora of other considerations that range from the scientific to gut reactions. The question in their mind during this process is simple "will this guy/gal be likely to see things my way?" After all the for cause strikes have been made, each attorney takes the list of remaining potential jurors (called veniremen) and decides who he wants to strike from the jury. No explanation to the judge or the other attorney is required - each side just passes their list to the clerk who then strikes from the panel anyone that either attorney has struck from their list, and that person will not sit on the jury.

So, legally, the juror you envision could sit on the jury as long as he/she agreed to follow the law and include the death penalty as a possible verdict. But practically, if the prosecutor thought that he would have a harder time convincing that particular juror to vote for guilt or in the affirmative for capital punishment, he would mark a red X through the juror's name and within a short time they would be on their way home. It works for the other side as well because the defense attorney is going to be busily striking anyone he/she thinks might be easily swayed to vote for guilt or death.

Each side only gets a limited number of the second kind of strikes, so there is some strategy involved. They have to prioritize their strikes and go after the people they are most concerned with while trying to intuit who the other side is going to strike.

What happens, partly by design and partly by chance, is almost always that the empaneled jury has people sitting on it that both sides feel good about and are afraid of. It generally winds up that it is a body of people who represent a spectrum of opinions about a lot of things, including the death penalty. There may be a juror that everyone recognizes might need a lot of persuading before he/she will vote a certain way. When it comes time to vote that juror may reach the conclusion that he/she has not been persuaded and will be the one juror that sways the decision. And that's where the defense has an advantage, it only takes one juror saying "no" to make it go their way.

Each side is supposed to face a jury that will contain all of those different attitudes about the issues the trial will bring up, but who will be able to render a fair decision. That's why the defense will always ask potential jurors "Would you believe the testimony of a Officer/Agent over that of some other person just because they are police officers?" Anybody who answered yes to that question would not find themselves on the jury because they would present an insurmountable barrier that would go against the defense. They had already made up their mind about what to believe before they heard the first word of testimony.

It's a fundamental principle embodied in our justice system and one I hope never changes. Someone who says "I'm going to be hard to convince but I'll reserve my judgement" will always be welcome on a jury. It's the people who say "No way - I would never do it and I can't be convinced otherwise" that should be sent home.
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons
Old 01-13-2007, 02:40 PM   #36
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas
I know that differences from state to state exist, but here we have differences within the same state. Of course Texas is huge...Anyway, I've never seen jurors questioned in a closed court. Sometimes the judge might ask some questions of the group and then turn it over to the two attorneys. Most of the time the questions are asked of the entire panel "Is there anyone here who has ever been the victim of a crime?" Then they will ask anyone answering in the affirmative some additional questions regarding how their experience would affect their impartiality.
We had the full panel of 120 people where they did the normal questioning by the Judge and attorneys... some of us were let go after the Judge talked... then more after the attorneys... in the end there were only a few left... we were told to come back the next few day for a one on one... this is the time were they ask us specific questions and we told what we thought... it was not yes and no questions... maybe the court was 'open', but nobody was in the court for any of the potential jurors I talked with...
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons
Old 01-13-2007, 03:44 PM   #37
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas
I think we're actually nearly in agreement. Let me add this to see if it makes it any clearer:

Jurors can have opinions, but it cannot reach the level of bias that would preclude them from even considering the death penalty.
Correctamundo, we're in agreement. However as you note, someone who merely seems uncomfortable with the death penalty will usually be excused for that reason by the DA, leading to the situation Caroline has been good enough to provide data regarding.
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons
Old 01-13-2007, 04:42 PM   #38
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute 'n Fuzzy Bunny
However as you note, someone who merely seems uncomfortable with the death penalty will usually be excused for that reason by the DA,…
As does the defense practice of striking people who they think are too comfortable with the death penalty. If you want to include someone who has a problem with the death penalty then you would have to include the guy who says “hang him – what did he do anyhow?”

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute 'n Fuzzy Bunny
…leading to the situation Caroline has been good enough to provide data regarding.
And many thanks to Caroline, and no offense to her, but I feel compelled to point out some problems I have with that information. The excerpt she posted only gives us a glance at the underlying data and does not paint the complete picture. In fact, and I know my progressive friends here hate it when I do this, there is serious risk that the information was cherry picked long before Caroline ran across it. Not casting any aspersion towards Caroline here, I think she found something interesting and threw it into the pot, but for any of us to actually rely on it without some investigation would be wrong. I do think that the trail of sources that existed before she made that post should be examined for bias in general, as well as Constitutional and scientific validity. But, I’ll return to my opnions on that after I allow the Supreme Court to get their say..

The original studies cited were done in 1984 and were part of a number of studies presented by the defense of a convicted murderer in his appeal before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. The defendant in that case, Ardia McCree, shot and murdered the owner of a combination gift shop and service station in Camden, Arkansas.

During McCree’s trial, the judge at voir dire removed for cause, over defense objections, those prospective jurors who stated that they could not under any circumstances vote for the imposition of the death penalty. The jury found McCree guilty, but during the punishment phase they rejected the prosecution’s request for the death penalty and he was sentenced to life in prison.

When his case came before the 8th circuit, McCree claimed

Quote:
… violated his rights under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to have his guilt or innocence determined by an impartial jury selected from a representative cross section of the community. The District Court ruled that "death qualification" of the jury prior to the guilt phase of the bifurcated trial violated both the fair-cross-section and the impartiality requirements of the Constitution. The Court of Appeals affirmed on the ground that removal for cause of "Witherspoon-excludables" violated respondent's Sixth Amendment right to a jury selected from a fair cross section of the community.
McCree’s appeals was reversed because the Supremes found that his rights had not been violated. They said that none of the social science studies presented “…were adequate to establish that "death qualification" in fact produces juries somewhat more "conviction-prone" than "non-death-qualified" juries.”

But it wasn’t the quality of McCree’s science that doomed him. Rather it was the Constitution. The Supremes said that the right to a jury that fairly represents a cross section of the community means the Grand Jury that indicted him and the veniremen from which his jury was selected.

Quote:
Even if the requirement were extended to petit juries, the essence of a fair-cross-section claim is the systematic exclusion of a "distinctive group" in the community - such as blacks, women, and Mexican-Americans - for reasons completely unrelated to the ability of members of the group to serve as jurors in a particular case. Groups defined solely in terms of shared attitudes that would prevent or substantially impair members of the group from performing one of their duties as jurors, such as the "Witherspoon-excludables" at issue here, are not "distinctive groups" for fair-cross-section purposes. "Death qualification" is carefully designed to serve the State's legitimate interest in obtaining a single jury that can properly and impartially apply the law to the facts of the case at both the guilt and sentencing phases of a capital trial.
Also, they found that…

Quote:
An impartial jury consists of nothing more than jurors who will conscientiously apply the law and find the facts. Respondent's view of jury impartiality is both illogical and impractical. Neither Witherspoon, supra, nor Adams v. Texas, 448 U.S. 38 , supports respondent's contention that a State violates the Constitution whenever it "slants" the jury by excluding a group of individuals more likely than the population at large to favor the defendant. Here, the removal for cause of "Witherspoon-excludables" serves the State's entirely proper interest in obtaining a single jury (as required by Arkansas law) that could impartially decide all of the issues at both the guilt and the penalty phases of respondent's trial.
His claims were denied because they had no basis in the Constitution. They were charitable in reviewing his appeal in light of the social science studies he had put forth before they came back and said they were worthless:

Quote:
Before turning to the legal issues in the case, we are constrained to point out what we believe to be several serious flaws in the evidence upon which the courts below reached the conclusion that "death qualification" produces "conviction-prone" juries. McCree introduced into evidence some 15 social science studies in support of his constitutional claims, but only 6 of the studies even purported to measure the potential effects on the guilt-innocence determination of the removal from the jury of "Witherspoon-excludables." Eight of the remaining nine studies dealt solely with generalized attitudes and beliefs about the death penalty and other aspects of the criminal justice system, and were thus, at best, only marginally relevant to the constitutionality of McCree's conviction. The 15th and final study dealt with the effects on prospective jurors of voir dire questioning about their attitudes toward the death penalty, an issue McCree raised in his brief to this Court but that counsel for McCree admitted at oral argument would not, standing alone, give rise to a constitutional violation.

Of the six studies introduced by McCree that at least purported to deal with the central issue in this case, namely, the potential effects on the determination of guilt or innocence of excluding "Witherspoon-excludables" from the jury, three were also before this Court when it decided Witherspoon. There, this Court reviewed the studies and concluded:

"The data adduced by the petitioner . . . are too tentative and fragmentary to establish that jurors not opposed to the death penalty tend to favor the prosecution in the determination of guilt. We simply cannot conclude, either on the basis of the record now before us or as a matter of judicial notice, that the exclusion of jurors [476 U.S. 162, 171] opposed to capital punishment results in an unrepresentative jury on the issue of guilt or substantially increases the risk of conviction. In light of the presently available information, we are not prepared to announce a per se constitutional rule requiring the reversal of every conviction returned by a jury selected as this one was." 391 U.S. at 517-518 (footnote omitted).

It goes almost without saying that if these studies were "too tentative and fragmentary" to make out a claim of constitutional error in 1968, the same studies, unchanged but for having aged some 18 years, are still insufficient to make out such a claim in this case.
You may note that in the piece that Caroline posted for us that all of the citations involved studies and cases from the 1980’s. The most recent study being 1986, which is the same year that the Supremes heard and decided McCree. The same year that the court said the studies were crap in not so few words. Since that time the folks at Law and Human behavior stopped studying that particular anti-death penalty “science” and have moved on to slightly different approaches.

Which got me curious as to who it was that drug this stuff up 10 years later and made a book of it and who then put it on the internet years later. It looks like Caroline lifted her piece from something called TalkLeft.Com. And as I’m being charitable I’ll just agree (for this one time) that because someone goes to all the trouble to so clearly identify their political beliefs to the world by naming their website talkleft does not necessarily mean they're biased. But who was the middle guy – this Samuel Gross – that wrote the book from which all this came?

A former defense attorney in San Francisco, who received his JD at UCLA Berkley whose list of clients and associations with which he has worked since he became a law professor read like the Who’s Who of the death penalty abolition movement. His research projects all center around finding fault with all things used to invoke the death penalty. Maybe I’m just totally wrong, but to me this sounds like the guy who pretty much made up his mind before he started typing the introductory paragraph. IF there was a guy who knew the secret handshake used by the highest levels of death penalty opponents it would be Sam Gross. So, maybe he's a fervently honest guy whose examined this issue thoroughly and came up with what he thinks is the truth. If that is the case, why use old studies that have been repeatedly discredited and have zero legal value?

Perhaps because it has nothing to do with what the Constitution says or what the rules of science allow. Maybe its just about having an opinion and making up crap until somebody falls for it.
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons
Old 01-13-2007, 06:01 PM   #39
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons

Personally, I do not support the death penalty. I can understand it and see why people may want it as punishment. But we know that juries can convict the innocent. But that aside, I just think it isn't right. Which has nothing to do with science.

One big issue with juries is to get them to not make up their minds before they hear the all the evidence. Tough job.

Leonidas got me interested in reading McCree. I just read the opinion and Marshall's dissent. Needless to say, Marshall comes to a different conclusion about the science and found it far from worthless.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/htm...6_0162_ZD.html

Interestingly, the majority held:

Held: The Constitution does not prohibit the removal for cause, prior to the guilt phase of a bifurcated capital trial, of prospective jurors whose opposition to the death penalty is so strong that it would prevent or substantially impair the performance of their duties as jurors at the sentencing phase of the trial. This is so even assuming, arguendo, that the social science studies introduced in the courts below were adequate to establish that "death qualification" in fact produces juries somewhat more "conviction-prone" than "non-death-qualified" juries. Pp. 173-183.



So even assuming that dealth qualification juries were more conviction prone, the court did not find that unconstitutional.

A bit from Marshall's opinion:

[i]The data strongly suggest that death qualification excludes a significantly large subset -- at least 11% to 17% -- of potential jurors who could be impartial during the guilt phase of trial. [n3] Among the members of this excludable class are a disproportionate number of blacks and women. See id. at 1283, 1293-1294. [p188]

The perspectives on the criminal justice system of jurors who survive death qualification are systematically different from those of the excluded jurors. Death-qualified jurors are, for example, more likely to believe that a defendant's failure to testify is indicative of his guilt, more hostile to the insanity defense, more mistrustful of defense attorneys, and less concerned about the danger of erroneous convictions. Id. at 1283, 1293, 1304. This pro-prosecution bias is reflected in the greater readiness of death-qualified jurors to convict or to convict on more serious charges. Id. at 1294-1302; Grigsby v. Mabry, 758 F.2d 226, 233-236 (CA8 1985). And finally, the very process of death qualification -- which focuses attention on the death penalty before the trial has even begun -- has been found to predispose the jurors that survive it to believe that the defendant is guilty. 569 F.Supp. at 1302-1305; 758 F.2d at 234.

The evidence thus confirms, and is itself corroborated by, the more intuitive judgments of scholars and of so many of the participants in capital trials -- judges, defense attorneys, and prosecutors. See 569 F.Supp. at 1322. [n4] [p189]


Respondent's case would, of course, be even stronger were he able to produce data showing the prejudicial effects of death qualification upon actual trials. Yet, until a State permits two separate juries to deliberate on the same capital case and return simultaneous verdicts, defendants claiming prejudice from death qualification should not be denied recourse to the only available means of proving their case, recreations of the voir dire and trial processes. See Grigsby v. Mabry, supra, at 237 ("t is the courts who have often stood in the way of surveys involving real jurors, and we should not now reject a study because of this deficiency").

The chief strength of respondent's evidence lies in the essential unanimity of the results obtained by researchers using diverse subjects and varied methodologies. Even the Court's haphazard jabs cannot obscure the power of the array. Where studies have identified and corrected apparent flaws in prior investigations, the results of the subsequent work have only corroborated the conclusions drawn in the earlier efforts. Thus, for example, some studies might be faulted for failing to distinguish, within the class of Witherspoon-excludables, between nullifiers (whom respondent concedes may be excluded from the guilt phase) and those who could assess guilt impartially. Yet their results are entirely consistent with those obtained after nullifiers had indeed been excluded. See, e.g., Cowan, Thompson, & Ellsworth, The Effects of Death Qualification on Jurors' Predisposition to Convict and on the Quality of Deliberation, 8 Law & Hum.Behav. 53 (1984). And despite the failure of certain studies to "allow for group deliberations," ante at [p190] 171, n. 10, the value of their results is underscored by the discovery that initial verdict preferences, made prior to group deliberations, are a fair predictor of how a juror will vote when faced with opposition in the jury room. See Cowan, Thompson, & Ellsworth, supra, at 68-69; see also R. Hastie, S. Penrod, & N. Pennington, Inside the Jury 66 (1983); H. Kalven & H. Zeisel, The American Jury 488 (1966).


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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons
Old 01-13-2007, 07:24 PM   #40
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Re: Federal Court Jury Summons

"You have a right to a trial by a jury of your peers" (or words real close to that).

Every jury pool I have been summoned for, sent off to a court room for a specific trial, and then questioned in an open-court fashion, I have been passed over as a jury member. In each case, it was obvious to me that I was not a "peer" of the person in the dock!
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