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Additional Trial Suggestions

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I plan on getting off of my politics/court system kick for awhile after this post, although I will admit that I had hoped to get some feedback from the last post (I want to make sure that I am not just out in left field.)

Below are some additional things that I think should be considered regarding trials.

1. Focus the trial on the person's innocence or guilt, not on the horrible nature of the crime or the family's loss.

One of the things that has always bugged me about trials is when the prosecution drags out the family and has the family talk about how horrible it is that their loved one is now dead - during the trial stage. If I were the defendant in such a case, I would want to shout, I'M SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS, BUT I DID NOT DO IT. Of course, to do so might be perceived as "protesting too much" and could hurt your case.

Now, after the jury has agreed that a person is guilty, then bring out all the family you want and remind the jury of the effect of the persons crime so that they come back with a serious enough punishment to fit the crime.

In much the same way, the descriptions about how brutally someone was murdered ought to be the focus of the sentancing stage rather than the trial stage. Now, obviously, explanations about how the angle of the knife would shows the person who committed the murder used their left hand and was 6'3" tall are gruesome in and of themselves, but they are necessary to the case, since they go to the point of the trial - is the defendant guilty.

2. Work on the rules regarding Jury pools.

The idea of a jury trial was that the jury was supposed to be made up of the peers of the one accused. In the early system (from what I have read), this would have included people who knew people involved and could make judgements about whether the people involved were telling the truth.

It seems like the current system tries to find uneducated people who are not connected to the real world and current events, rather than merely making sure that a person is not too strongly biased in favor of one side or the other before hearing the arguments of the case. (Maybe this last point is a little bitterness coming out, since the only time I was summoned to Jury Duty was when I lived in Greenville and on staff at BJU and I was always refused by the defense attorneys without having a chance to actually sit in on a trial.)

Anyway, I think I am done rambling on this for awhile. I would love to get feedback on any of these things. Especially if I am coming across as a kook because of things I have not considered!

Just my thoughts (for now),



Andy Rupert said...

Take, for instance, the news about former Ohio State football star Maurice Clarett. He has been accused of armed robbery, but has not been convicted. It sounds believable, but nothing has been proven as of yet.


You can read the story here.