552) Jurors can't function effectively if they don't understand from the start what laws have allegedly been broken, the meaning of key terminology, and how witnesses' testimony is intended to relate to the charge. Yet court procedures dictate that juror's won't be briefed on these issues, if at all, until after the evidence is in. [...] No law anywhere in the nation prevents judges from [providing legal instructions at the start of trial]. [...] [Legal instructions] also have to make sense. Frequently they do not. When jurors can't understand their marching orders, it doesn't matter when they receive them; there's little chance that justice will prevail. [...] The fear of getting reversed on appeal ... naturally deters judges from getting too creative with jury instructions. To enable all jury instructions to be made understandable to nearly all jurors, appeals courts, too, will have to change. Appellate judges will have to cease demanding that the precise wording of court decisions will be parroted by a trial judge's instructions. The new question will have to be merely whether the instructions were faithful to the law in spirit and meaning and whether they made sense to the jury.
Stephen J. Adler The Jury (1994)
[Note: Other reforms advocated by Adler: allowing jurors to ask questions through the trial judge; shortening trials by dealing with likely procedural and legal disputes in advance, by setting time limits for witnesses and by discouraging repetitious testimony; allowing jurors to take notes and to bring written copies of legal instructions into the jury room during deliberations; and allowing "mini-summations" during the course of long and complicated trials]
553) In a justice system structured to seek the truth by letting opposing parties clash, what's wrong with strengthening the weapons at the adversaries' disposal? That's all [jury consultants] say they're doing: replacing stereotypes and myths with scientific data.
But one obvious consequence is that the jury system loses much of its moral authority. Why should we defer to the decision of a group of individuals who have been selected for their likely partisanship and then persuaded by many of the same techniques that sell soap and breakfast cereal? When verdicts come to seem moremanipulated then majestic, one thinks of Brave New World more readily that 12 Angry Men.
Stephen J. Adler The Jury (1994)
554) The affluent people and the corporations can buy ["scientific" jury selection], the poor radicals get it free, and everybody in between is at a disadvantage. And that's not the kind of system we want.
Amitai Etzioni sociologist quoted by Stephen J. Adler in The Jury (1994)
555) Empirically, there is not evidence that [scientific jury selection] works. There is no scientific way to predict whether an individual juror will conform, in any one case, to the general attitudes of his or her group. Moreover, even generalizations about groups are of limited use in the jury context, because the behavior of jurors [...] is so specific to the particular case on trial. In the end, we all belong to so many overlapping groups that science cannot forecast whether a juror will respond to the evidence more as, say, a woman, a white, a thirty-year-old, a Lutheran, a Norwegian, a college graduate, a member of the middle class, a Republican, or whatever.
Ethically, the failure of scientific jury selection is its saving grace. Still, its continued popularity fuels public skepticism about the fairness of jury justice and caters to a view that sees justice as a game, won by those best at stacking the jury in its favor. The overselling of jury selection's importance is itself responsible for a declining faith in the jury and the rise of cynicism about the possibility of achieving justice across group lines.
[...] In the end, the questions raised by scientific jury selection are more of an ethical nature than an empirical nature. Scientific jury selection, as currently practiced, is not possible without the use of peremptory challenges based largely on inferences about a prospective juror from the person's group background. The suspicions are now based on polls and surveys rather than mere stereotypes.
Jeffrey Abramson We, The Jury (1994)
556) I have argued for abolishing the peremptory challenge, which is so frequently wielded by lawyers to deprive a person from a place on the jury simply because of the person's religion, national origin, age, or occupation. The time has come to fully practice what we preach and to prohibit discriminatory, exclusionary practices from occurring under cover of the peremptory challenge.
Jeffrey Abramson We, The Jury (1994)
557) Philosophically, jury nullification is a close cousin to the theory of civil disobedience. In our own time, Martin Luther King, Jr., was a leading advocate for the view that individuals have a "moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws." But King accepted the state's authority to punish his acts of lawbreaking. In fact, willingness to accept punishment was a sign that the disobedience was a challenge to a particular unjust law and not to the state as a whole.
Jury nullification takes the classic theory of civil disobedience one step further by inviting the jury not to punish justified acts of lawbreaking. If the jury agrees that the broken law is unjust, then, say proponents of jury nullification, it should acquit rather than convict the defendant. The jury should also acquit when it finds the broken law just but agrees that enforcing it against the particular defendant on trial would be unjust.
Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began). As of today, there are 710 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.