12.04.2007

Obscure Legal Humor?


Today the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Snyder v. Louisiana where a guy was given the death penalty by an all white jury after the Government struck all five prospective black jurors. (The government and the defense are allowed to strike a certain number of people from the jury panel for any reason so long as they don't do it for racial reasons. A person is struck "for cause" when they are deemed to be unfair by the judge.) The above is an excerpt from the oral argument.

I don't think I've ever looked at judge and said "Are you crazy?"

And Scalia is so funny about death.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

To what extent do all white juries occur because white people are 1.) more likely to be registered to vote and 2.) more likely to respect our justice system and show up for jury duty?

Anonymous said...

Is this to mean that a black person on trial MUST have black people on his jury? Then we have to decide how many. Our system allows juror challenges regardless of race and should remain so.

"Are you crazy?" may be a bit over the line to ask a judge. Happily, the judge answered, "No". How else is one going to find out unless the question is asked. The judge could have said, "Yes, but I'm on medication".

Anonymous said...

Points 1 & 2 are statistically valid. However, we are often discouraged to speak the truth nowadays, because it's usually labeled as "politically incorrect".

Anonymous said...

8:45, why don't you just say what you really mean: juries go "all-white" because, hey, you know, we're really BETTER than black folks.

What a toad.

Juries go "all-white" because prosecutors of black defendants are looking for 12 racists like you.

Anonymous said...

Just think of the injustice that could have occurred if O.J.'s jury was all white.

Anonymous said...

Blacks need black jurors. Just think of the injustice that could have occurred if O.J.'s jury was all white.

Atticus said...

The reason why we have court cases that tried to stop people from being excluded from a jury, just because of the color of their skin, was because there were Prosecutor Offices (Dallas for one) that had a written office policy of automatically excluding blacks. It did not matter if the defendant was black or white, blacks were automatically struck. So we had people showing up to serve on a jury who were being struck just because they were black. So along came Batson v. State that did not stop a prosecutor from striking people because of their race, but it did potentially make them have to give racially neutral reasons for striking someone. Keep in mind that whites are not the majority in this country anymore. What was put in place to protect people of color back in the 70s and 80s, just might help protect future white minority members from the same types of prejudice, if the tables turn.

Anonymous said...

The intersection of Scalia/Thomas/Roberts with Bush/Cheney is probably the scariest of possibilites since this great country was founded. We have never been so close to losing our freedoms and being governed by a man not bound by the law (in his mind) all with the approval of the Supreme Court.

Anonymous said...

Well said 8:32. I'm ashamed that such racist opinions are still spoken aloud in Wise County. Those type statements were a shock to me when I first arrived in 1979, but they're even more hurtful now. It shows that we have far to go in understanding of those outside our immediate family, church, and friends.

Shame on you 8:35 and 8:18. Do you attend any church? I hope you are not one of those spouting religion.

mzchief said...

To anonymous 8:32...
Hold on hotshot, YOU have just wallowed in a FAIR amount of bigotry. Surely, you did NOT mean to state that EVERY all white jury is unwilling/incapable of being impartial and refuses to abide by CONSTITUTIONAL law and afford a FAIR trial to a non-white defendant because they are WHITE and that is just a shortcoming of being WHITE.

Voir dire tends to be my specialty within the legal process. Let me assure you that black jurors are FAR harsher on black defendants who commit crimes against other blacks than are whites jurors. There are countless reasons for this disparity and racial bigotry is NOT among the reasons.

*************************************

To anonymous 8:45...
You are correct in your first reason why there are more blacks in the jury pool. However, you failed to mention other issues that make it difficult if not impossible for more blacks to appear for jury duty:

a. Comprise only 14% of the U.S. population.
b. Lack transportation.
c. No alternate day-care.
d. Are paid by the hour and cannot afford to lose a day's wage. Trust me when I tell you that a day's wage can mean the different between making rent or NOT.

There are MANY blacks just as there are whites who have GREAT respect for the U.S. justice system that for MOSTLY economic reasons are unable to answer a jury summons. These factors go a LONG way to explaining why MANY jury pools are mostly comprised of retirees, salaried persons, house wives, the unemployed, business owners and in college towns, students.

mzchief said...

To Atticus...
Actually, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2006 whites comprised 75.5% of the U.S. population which still makes white the majority ethnicity.

Please note that my earlier reference of blacks making up 14% included black people of mixed ethnicity.

mzchief said...

Edit to comment at 10:12...
To anonymous 8:45 the first sentence should read:

"You are correct in your first reason why there are more WHITES in the jury pool."

Thank you e-mail editor friend for noticing my error.

Crud Bonemeal said...

Perhaps you could save the righteous indignation for the victims of that murderer. They didn't have a jury decide their fate, at all. That savage decided it all my himself.

Anonymous said...

To mzchief - 8:32 here (i.e. "hotshot").

No, I certainly did NOT state nor mean to state that no all-white jury could perform justice. Nor was I "wallowing in bigotry".

For the record, I agree completely with all of your assertions regarding black jurors, and black jury service.

My remark to 8:45 was predicated purely and simply upon what appeared to me to be a clear racial bias on his/her part. And of course there is a long history of southern prosecutors packing juries of black defendants with whites because of racial prejudice.

Recognition of that fact hardly means that I am condemning all whites as racists. (Being a white male myself, that would be a little perplexing.)