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» Entries tagged with "jury"

How Important People Think

There aren’t nearly enough Arizona legal blogs, which is the primary reason why I keep the Arizona Appellate Blog in my feed. The constant use of “we” and “our” in posts that are either the product of a depressingly underwhelming group effort or the bizarrely haughty statements of an individual rub me the wrong way. So do somewhat regular comments that seem to indicate its author or authors believe they’re writing to a captivated audience awaiting each post with baited breath. If they are, I can’t imagine who comprises their audience. Regardless, it’s not a worthless blog, as it at least has original content and isn’t just blatantly pimping someone’s services. It’s a sad state of affairs where lawyers writing because they have something to say and not only something to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, lawyers, Uncategorized

Guilt v. Shame

A witness and I each had pretty remarkable breakthroughs at the same time earlier today. We both suddenly understood things we’d never really considered. When she had her revelation, she shook her head in disgust. On the other hand, I just thought yet again about how ridiculous our justice system really is. To say the witness and I have different backgrounds would be an understatement. We’re generations removed, and even if we shared a birth date in the same year, it would hardly even begin to bridge the cultural gap. On top of that, she’s mostly deaf and entirely mute. An ASL interpreter did not work out, and her writing is very difficult to understand. The “interview” today involved a pen and some paper. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants, Uncategorized

Move Along, No Preferential Treatment Here

Last Thursday, we faxed a motion to continue trial to Mesa Municipal Court at 10:02 a.m. We sent the state a copy too, of course, though we’d also told the assigned prosecutor what we were going to do the day before. The court called us at 2:25 p.m. and left a message about getting our position on the state’s motion to continue trial. That’s right, the state’s motion. Not ours. The motion the state didn’t bother faxing us until 3:45 p.m. I called the court back sometime shortly before 5:00 p.m. and spoke with a very pleasant lady. She wanted to know my position on the state’s motion. I told her we didn’t oppose it and had in fact filed our own motion. She asked … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts

Food for Thought

A few Fridays ago, I spent the day in a very short jury trial. In that one short day, I was given more food for thought than I ever could have imagined. Between dawn and dusk, I strengthened a few existing beliefs, reconsidered many more, and even managed to drink a beer or two afterwards while trying to make sense of what happened. Here’s what I learned… You are entitled to a jury trial in an Arizona reckless driving case I initially told my client that I didn’t think he was actually eligible for a jury trial in a case involving a single count of class 2 misdemeanor reckless driving. I didn’t even believe he was actually going to get one when he showed me his hand-written pro … Read entire article »

Filed under: Prosecutors, Trial

Formalities, Theirs and Ours

The law is filled with all kinds of silly formalities. They place the prosecutor’s table on the side closer to the jury box. You’re not supposed to touch the judge’s podium. Some courts require that the lawyers wear a suit or sports coat. A jury is supposed to be sworn. That last one probably seems really important to you, but it isn’t. From a post earlier today from Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice, I learned about a Tenth Circuit opinion yesterday affirming a conviction in a case where the jury reached its verdict despite having never been sworn. Oops! In the case, the defense attorney knew the judge forgot to swear them in, but he waited until after the verdict to bring it up. The … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, Government Rants

Doing It All

I had a long weekend of work, but I’m ready for trial. The work I completed over the weekend wasn’t trial prep, though, because that was done long ago. I spent the weekend tying up loose ends. Trial is like a really shitty vacation. You have to make sure all your ducks are in a row so you can take some time off. Instead of dipping your toes in the water and watching a sunset with your adult beverage of choice in hand, however, you get to endure grueling combat all day every day for days on end. It’s a break from your daily stress during which you forget about your normal troubles in favor of some more pressing troubles. Did I mention that … Read entire article »

Filed under: lawyers, Trial

Judge or Jury?

Apparently, a recent study has confirmed the findings of an older study: The researchers made three primary findings: Judges tend to convict more than juries in cases of “middle” evidentiary strength. Judges acquit more than juries in cases in which judges regard the evidence favoring the prosecution as weak. Judges convict more than juries in cases in which judges regard the evidence favoring the prosecution as strong. Here’s the conclusion: In sum, criminal defendants are benefited by opting for a bench trial when the evidence is weak, and a jury trial otherwise. It seems to me that the studies confirm what’s probably somewhat obvious to most lawyers who’ve tried any appreciable number of cases to verdict before judges and juries. Juries are unpredictable. I’ve had juries convict clients when I felt the state utterly failed to meet … Read entire article »

Filed under: Trial

Details

Jeff Gamso put up a post today that included, among other things, a portion of a detailed log about what one death row inmate did prior to his execution. For example, at 10:50:23, he asked for grape soda. At 10:55:36, he requested a “special meal” of a T-bone steak with A-1 steak sauce and a “Chief” salad with blue cheese dressing. Details like that make everything feel more real, and in this particular case, those details really humanize that man for me. Knowing his last meal does more to upset me about his execution than all the mitigation in the world. It drives home that the government killed a person. It’s hard for me to think that an evil monster would have a favorite steak sauce … Read entire article »

Filed under: Trial

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