January 16, 2006

Travesties of Justice

I'll make the assertion that Mohammed Yousry should not be in prison. Read the article yourself, and tell me what you think.

I'll also assert that "juror 39" is a moral coward. I can't adequately express my feelings for people who won't do the right thing when there are no negative costs to doing the right thing.

There ought to be a way to remove people's citizenship.

Posted by baltar at January 16, 2006 11:07 AM | TrackBack | Posted to Atrocities of War | J. Edgar Hoover | Law and the Courts | The Ever Shrinking Constitution


I know you're being facetious for exaggeration, but I don't think it's funny to joke about removing people's citizenship.

Clearly the juror failed in the most fundamental way, in fulfilling the duty to decide based on the evidence presented. In short, the juror gave in to bullying. This is hardly new. And the other jurors failed as well.

Not being more educated about the legal system, I doubt this is all that uncommon. And I would imagine that depending on the makeup of the jury, that "weaker" or lower status individuals are similarly persuaded.

Posted by: binky at January 16, 2006 01:17 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously I don't know the details of the law relevant to this case, but from this description of events I agree with Baltar on both counts. And I'd be inclined to throw a "shame on you" at the prosecutors who chose to bring this case.

Posted by: Armand at January 16, 2006 01:24 PM | PERMALINK

binky, I stand by my statement. One of the duties of citizenship is to be a juror when called, and to accurately and faithfully perform that duty. Juror 39 has failed the second of those duties, and as a result of that (if the facts of the story are true), an innocent man has been sent to jail. Thus, Juror 39 does not deserve her citizenship.

Posted by: baltar at January 16, 2006 03:05 PM | PERMALINK

And I stand by my criticism, and raise you an "unnecessarily harsh" on your part. There are a lot of horrible things people do to fail the duties of citizenship (spying, trying to assassinate the president, heck why not murder?) and we don't remove citizenship. Just because your knickers are all twisty about someone being weak-willed and an imperfect citizen in this case, doesn't mean anyone should lose hir citizenship.

First, humans aren't perfect in anything else, why should we expect such in citizenship? No three strikes rule? Nothing? What is this? Ancient Rome? Wanna demote her to "slave" status? Send her off to the coliseum to fight the lions or something?

Second, it's all fun and games to joke about revoking citizenship, but there are people out there who really mean it, and they're not talking about revoking or limiting citizenship based on perceived failures of will [and we'd all be in deep dookie if failures of will were grounds for losing citizenship] but on ethnicity, political party, or sexual orientation. "Don't be like the assholes" is a good rule, and even teasing about stuff like this puts you in ugly company.

Enjoy being cranky/curmudgeonly, but you're smarter - and fairer - than that stupid statement you made above. Shame on you.

Posted by: binky at January 16, 2006 03:58 PM | PERMALINK

I may be harsh, but Juror 39's actions deserve the strongest condemnation. Juror 39, while believing a man to be innocent, allowed herself to be browbeaten into voting guilty. What was the cost to her of voting correctly? The other jurors would glare at her? Mutter ugly things to her? Think badly of her? As a result of her moral cowardice, a man sits in jail (likely for the length of his sentence: getting a retrial based on facts is almost impossible; his lawyers would have to show legal misconduct, which doesn't seem evident in this case).

I'll recind the "lose citizenship" call if you'll find me something she'll guilty of, so I can put her in jail.

Posted by: baltar at January 16, 2006 04:18 PM | PERMALINK

My radar picks up occasionally and I remember you saying things like "and of course that's not even getting into issues like accepting people and extending forgiveness once they've paid their debt to society, making sure that ALL AMERICANS have a place in our society." So what's the dealio? Former felons get to vote but not scared jurors?

Posted by: Morris at January 16, 2006 04:19 PM | PERMALINK

Why do you condemn the weak one only? Why not the bullies?

Posted by: binky at January 16, 2006 04:35 PM | PERMALINK

Because the "bullies" haven't recanted. Presumably they continue to think the man is guilty. I can't start sending idiots to jail, as there aren't enough places in the world. I can, however, condemn moral cowards who complain, after it's too late to do anyone any good, that they made a mistake (a mistake they recognized at the time they were making, but were too weak to do the right thing).

Posted by: baltar at January 16, 2006 04:41 PM | PERMALINK

Morris, what the heck are you talking about? Is this a comment for the other thread? What does voting have to do with any of this? Write something clear, and I'll respond. If you posted to the wrong thread, let me know and I'll move the comment over.

Posted by: baltar at January 16, 2006 04:42 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not talking about their beliefs, I'm talking about their role in intimidating Juror 39.

So, you're going to blame this juror, solely, for not being able to stand up others who knew her position, but couldn't respect it? Do you think she would have voted the way she did without the behavior of the others?

Posted by: binky at January 16, 2006 04:44 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, I see why Morris is so often wrong - he can't keep track of who's saying and doing what and he likes to read all kinds of details into (sometimes) vague comments.

Dear brother - kindly note that I didn't author this post and I don't actually agree with Baltar on the citizenship issue. The two points where I agree with him were his first 2 assertions - 1) this person shouldn't be in jail and 2) juror 39 is a coward.

Posted by: Armand at January 16, 2006 04:46 PM | PERMALINK

If the others directly intimidated her, she should have reported it (it's illegal); she didn't, thus an innnocent man sits in jail (again, according to the facts thus far).

I read the story to indicate that Juror 39 felt intimidated (perhaps groupthink?), but that there was no direct attempt to force people. More along the lines of various jurors saying (to the group) "Terrorists get what's coming to them", or "We have to draw a line - with us or against us" or something. That's not direct intimidation, but is more like debate (bad debate, granted) but legal under jury deliberations.

Maybe I'm reading too much. If there was direct intimidation, then there is legal grounds for a mistrial/retrial. That wasn't what the story seemed to say.

Posted by: baltar at January 16, 2006 04:48 PM | PERMALINK

I was reading that she felt intimidated too. And we don't know what took place, what was said, who said it or why. We can all imagine inequalities of power that would be operational here.

Maybe she's trying to make amends by providing grounds for an appeal? You're right, she didn't fulfill her duty, and was not courageous in standing up to the other jurors. Maybe she couldn't do it in their presence for a variety of reasons.

You and I would like to think we had the ability to stand up for our opinion. I've ong thought that I would be most hated juror, and the most hated parent at my kid's school for precisely that reason. But not everyone can do it, especially when faced with a perceived threat.

Posted by: binky at January 16, 2006 05:43 PM | PERMALINK

I'll agree with all of that; that said, she failed to take a stand when the results of her failure were catastrophic (at least for the defendant). In other words, failing to stand up for yourself when the clerk gives you the wrong change at the grocery store hurts you (liveable); failure to stand up for yourself at a parent/teacher conference hurts your kid (fixable: whatever a bad teacher does can be undone); failure to stand up in a jury harms the defendant perhaps permenantly (felony on record means loss of job, jail time, legal fees, etc.) and harms the larger society in some indefinable way.

Posted by: baltar at January 16, 2006 05:49 PM | PERMALINK

My bad, I thought the whole citizenship thing was what you were agreeing with.

Posted by: Morris at January 16, 2006 09:15 PM | PERMALINK

binky, i bet i'd be more hated than you. but then that's why they don't let lawyers onto juries. i can't imagine the odds are really much better for poli sci academics.

Posted by: moon at January 17, 2006 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I know for one that I'd be immediately kicked off some cases for the following statement: I am an abolitionist.

Posted by: binky at January 17, 2006 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

And I've been holding off on saying this, but since the thread won't die, every time I see it in the column on the right I think "Transvestites for Justice!" and imagine the entire Ala da Carmen Miranda of the Banda de Ipanema (or, Banda de Carmen Miranda outfitted as lady justices, giving George Bush a good talking to.

I can dream, can't I?

Posted by: binky at January 17, 2006 01:26 PM | PERMALINK
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