[PLUG-TALK] Jury duty: read before pondering

Keith Lofstrom keithl at kl-ic.com
Mon Apr 16 19:42:30 PDT 2018


On Mon, Apr 16, 2018 at 03:02:32PM -0700, Paul Heinlein wrote:

> Judge: "Wrong answer. This man is innocent. You will presume him
> innocent unless the prosecutor completely convinces you otherwise.

The U.S. Constitution mentions juries, but not prosecutors.
It mentions state judges, but only to say they are bound by
the Constitution as well.  It mentions counsel for the
defense, but not for the state.  Suprisingly, it does not
even mention "innocence".

The first professional police force in the U.S. was
instituted in 1838 (in Boston), almost half a century after
the Constitution was ratified.  Before that, many of these
procedings were handled informally, by the local citizens
themselves.

My great grandfather William Longi was an undocumented
immigrant from Finland, working in the Union Pacific coal
mines in Wyoming territory.  He was nicknamed "Judge" Longi.
I'm told that he occasionally arbitrated disputes among
other undocumented miners, men unprotected by formal law.
 
The Hanna mine in Wyoming was a deathtrap, dug downwards
("gouging") rather than upwards from a completed downshaft,
so gas collected at the work levels.  Explosions in 1903
and 1908 killed more than 200 miners.  Four of the miners
killed in 1903 were named Longi; perhaps relatives.
"Professional law enforcement" did little for these 
"white wetbacks"; they took care of themselves.  The work
was dangerous, but better than starvation in Finland.

"Of the people, for the people, by the people" means that
the people decide.  They decide the facts directly, 
themselves, or somehow decide which individuals will do
a better job for them.  People usually do a LOUSY job
either way, but rarely take personal responsibility for
the consequences of the decisions they delegate to others.

Hence, the "prosecutor convinces you otherwise" is deeply
wrong.  It should be the EVIDENCE that determines how the
jury convinces THEMSELVES, not the oratory of a paid
shill for the government, appointed by insiders.

But then, I don't get selected for juries much beyond
teenager DUI cases, so my opinion (by design) doesn't
count for much.

Keith

-- 
Keith Lofstrom          keithl at keithl.com


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