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(The New York Times)   SCOTUS to us all: suck it twice   (nytimes.com) divider line 232
    More: Scary, U.S. Supreme Court, negligent homicide, supreme court rules, retrial, majority opinion, Stephen G. Breyer, seriousness, Anthony M. Kennedy  
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35911 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 May 2012 at 6:15 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-05-24 05:02:44 PM  
I'm OK with this. The jury didn't acquit him of anything. There weren't four criminal acts. There was one act with four possible charges to convict him on. The jury may have disagreed that he committed capital or first-degree murder, but they couldn't convict him of more than one anyway. It's a full mistrial because of the deadlock.
 
2012-05-24 05:11:24 PM  
Charges Jury Rejected Can Be Retried, Justices Say

That is a misleading headline. I was ready to get all internet rage-y but if you read the article the decision makes sense. The jury never made an official decision. Retry it.
 
2012-05-24 05:12:47 PM  
I have to disagree. Once the jury found that he wasn't guilty of the first two, there was no reason to charge him with it again. The prosecution should be able to re-try on the lesser charge. Otherwise, what is to prevent the prosecution from re-trying again and again on another trial until they get the result they want?

It would be easy for a jury to be tampered with: All you need is to bribe/threaten/convince/ally one jury member to hold off-and the trial could be deadlocked.
 
2012-05-24 05:16:04 PM  

Darth_Lukecash: I have to disagree. Once the jury found that he wasn't guilty of the first two, there was no reason to charge him with it again. The prosecution should be able to re-try on the lesser charge. Otherwise, what is to prevent the prosecution from re-trying again and again on another trial until they get the result they want?

It would be easy for a jury to be tampered with: All you need is to bribe/threaten/convince/ally one jury member to hold off-and the trial could be deadlocked.


Evidence of this would support a case for the SCOTUS to re-hear the arguments of the case, however.

As far as I can tell this only applies in the case of a total mistrial, anyway. So maybe judges will take away from this a more prominent stance toward requesting partial verdicts and partial mistrials.
 
2012-05-24 05:23:39 PM  

Elandriel: Darth_Lukecash: I have to disagree. Once the jury found that he wasn't guilty of the first two, there was no reason to charge him with it again. The prosecution should be able to re-try on the lesser charge. Otherwise, what is to prevent the prosecution from re-trying again and again on another trial until they get the result they want?

It would be easy for a jury to be tampered with: All you need is to bribe/threaten/convince/ally one jury member to hold off-and the trial could be deadlocked.

Evidence of this would support a case for the SCOTUS to re-hear the arguments of the case, however.

As far as I can tell this only applies in the case of a total mistrial, anyway. So maybe judges will take away from this a more prominent stance toward requesting partial verdicts and partial mistrials.


That's how I read it too but I am not a lawyer.
 
2012-05-24 05:24:40 PM  

Darth_Lukecash: I have to disagree. Once the jury found that he wasn't guilty of the first two, there was no reason to charge him with it again.


The jury was unable to agree on an official judgment, therefore anything else they agreed on is moot.
 
2012-05-24 05:26:00 PM  
If the guy had incorporated himself we wouldn't be having this conversation
 
2012-05-24 05:31:30 PM  

ArkAngel: I'm OK with this. The jury didn't acquit him of anything. There weren't four criminal acts. There was one act with four possible charges to convict him on. The jury may have disagreed that he committed capital or first-degree murder, but they couldn't convict him of more than one anyway. It's a full mistrial because of the deadlock.


I'm not a lawyer, but THIS
 
2012-05-24 05:46:51 PM  

ArkAngel: I'm OK with this. The jury didn't acquit him of anything. There weren't four criminal acts. There was one act with four possible charges to convict him on. The jury may have disagreed that he committed capital or first-degree murder, but they couldn't convict him of more than one anyway. It's a full mistrial because of the deadlock.


Done in one.
 
2012-05-24 05:54:21 PM  
On one hand, it sounds monstrous.

On the other hand, the jury never did acquit him of ANYTHING. So, SCOTUS is correct.
 
2012-05-24 06:00:20 PM  
How has this never come up before?
 
2012-05-24 06:02:53 PM  
I disagree with the court - if the jury was unanimous in rejecting a charge, I think jeopardy should attach. That said, I think this is a very difficult question and I don't think ruling the other way is egregious or anything.
 
2012-05-24 06:14:19 PM  

DamnYankees: I disagree with the court - if the jury was unanimous in rejecting a charge, I think jeopardy should attach. That said, I think this is a very difficult question and I don't think ruling the other way is egregious or anything.


I agree that it is a close call. The source of the problem seems to be the prosecution's shotgun approach to charging the guy. I thought it was a general rule that the prosecution brings the charges they think they can support with the evidence. Here, they've charged the guy with four different versions of the same crime. I don't think I've ever heard of that.
 
2012-05-24 06:21:11 PM  
On the other hand, I think the whole, "we're going to give you a laundry list of charges, please stop after you've selected one" is pretty much entirely bullshiat.

Charge a specific crime.
 
2012-05-24 06:21:58 PM  
meh -- hardly a "suck it" result, just technocratic jibber jabber
 
2012-05-24 06:23:36 PM  
wow, subby, you a bleeder in the heart? there was a mistrial. sheesh. any law and order viewer knows double jeopardy never applies in this situation
 
2012-05-24 06:24:11 PM  

Gwendolyn: Charges Jury Rejected Can Be Retried, Justices Say

That is a misleading headline. I was ready to get all internet rage-y but if you read the article the decision makes sense. The jury never made an official decision. Retry it.


There are other issues, like whether or not the judge should have asked for a verdict on what charges they could.
 
2012-05-24 06:24:49 PM  
"The forewoman's announcement in open court that the jury was 'unanimous against' conviction on capital and first-degree murder," she wrote, "was an acquittal for double jeopardy purposes."

THIS.

He was found not guilty by a group of his peers, in open court. This is bullshiat and perhaps the only truly scary resolution i've paid attention to - i guess my first time thinking "someone is going to burrrn" or something is moment I best share on fark :)
 
2012-05-24 06:25:38 PM  
I would say that the problem is that the defendant was charged with 4 different crimes. The prosecution should figure out what they want to charge a person with and then proceed. Why not just charge the person with the entire collection of every law in the code book and see what sticks? Everybody is guilty of something, right? Lazy.
 
2012-05-24 06:25:47 PM  
Or the guy could stop killing 1 year old kids.
 
2012-05-24 06:28:01 PM  
IANAL, but it sure sounds as though the original trial judge, unnamed in the article, farked the pooch in multiple ways.
 
2012-05-24 06:28:38 PM  
I hope there is a Hell, because if there is, Bush will find himself there for a very very long time.
 
2012-05-24 06:29:47 PM  

skinnycatullus: DamnYankees: I disagree with the court - if the jury was unanimous in rejecting a charge, I think jeopardy should attach. That said, I think this is a very difficult question and I don't think ruling the other way is egregious or anything.

I agree that it is a close call. The source of the problem seems to be the prosecution's shotgun approach to charging the guy. I thought it was a general rule that the prosecution brings the charges they think they can support with the evidence. Here, they've charged the guy with four different versions of the same crime. I don't think I've ever heard of that.


Yeah, that part of this story made me very leery - why exactly can the prosecutors bring up four separate charges for a single act? That just seems really shady to me.
 
2012-05-24 06:29:57 PM  

TheOther: IANAL, but it sure sounds as though the original trial judge, unnamed in the article, farked the pooch in multiple ways.


of course, the "chief packers" FTFA say it was all "completely appropriate". Right.
 
2012-05-24 06:30:02 PM  

Darth_Lukecash: I have to disagree.


Disagree all you want, but if the jury wanted to have any say in this guy's trial, they should have handed down a verdict.
 
2012-05-24 06:31:05 PM  

LookForTheArrow: "The forewoman's announcement in open court that the jury was 'unanimous against' conviction on capital and first-degree murder," she wrote, "was an acquittal for double jeopardy purposes."

THIS.

He was found not guilty by a group of his peers, in open court. This is bullshiat and perhaps the only truly scary resolution i've paid attention to - i guess my first time thinking "someone is going to burrrn" or something is moment I best share on fark :)


The main danger I see here is judges using these kinds of cases to give the state a second chance when it doesn't like the jury's verdicts.

"Let's see, you're unanimous he's not guilty on three charges, but two of you think he's guilty on the last charge. I'm pretty sure that motherfarker's guilty, so I can see you're hopelessly deadlocked (wink wink). MISTRIAL!!!

I'd say there's even a chance that's what happened here.
 
2012-05-24 06:31:32 PM  

SnakeLee: How has this never come up before?


I think that system of working down a list of possible crimes (murder 1, muredr 2, manslaughter, negligent homicide) is unusual. In most states, the prosecutor has to pick one.

That's why Nancy Grace's tampering freed Casey Anthony in FL -- the prosecutor felt pressured to ask for a charge the evidence couldn't support
 
2012-05-24 06:31:45 PM  

Gwendolyn: Charges Jury Rejected Can Be Retried, Justices Say

That is a misleading headline. I was ready to get all internet rage-y but if you read the article the decision makes sense. The jury never made an official decision. Retry it.


/Came here to say this..left satisfied
 
2012-05-24 06:31:53 PM  

vernonFL: ArkAngel: I'm OK with this. The jury didn't acquit him of anything. There weren't four criminal acts. There was one act with four possible charges to convict him on. The jury may have disagreed that he committed capital or first-degree murder, but they couldn't convict him of more than one anyway. It's a full mistrial because of the deadlock.

I'm not a lawyer, but THIS


This, too. There was no acquital, nor any formal verdict. A mistrial can be re-tried. I don't see a problem with it.
 
2012-05-24 06:31:58 PM  
How about the next time you get a traffic ticket, you get almost 20 traffic citations. 74/55, 73/55, 72/55, etc.
And what is preventing the prosecutor from keeping one criminal incident, going from unsuccessful trial to unsuccessful trial, indefinitely, this way?

/The Supreme Court of the US is designed to base constitutionality, not politics. Whatevs, though.
 
2012-05-24 06:32:08 PM  

Homicider: Darth_Lukecash: I have to disagree.

Disagree all you want, but if the jury wanted to have any say in this guy's trial, they should have handed down a verdict.


They didn't have the opportunity to do so.

What the trial judge did is full-on dickery.
 
2012-05-24 06:32:30 PM  
The whole thing is a letter of the law vs spirit of the law argument. Letter of the law won. It's fair, but it could have gone either way. I think the state got Roberts and Kennedy over with "the jury could have gone back and reconsidered those charges while deliberating further because nothing in the jury instructions said they couldn't" thing.

It's a very difficult case. I think Sotomayor's dissent is more powerful and I would have preferred her side to win, but the result wasn't patently unjust.

Just to clarify, Sotomayor points out in a footnote that the jury wasn't technically "deadlocked" and so the majority opinion does not necessarily apply to future situations in which the jury is deadlocked. The majority would disagree, but she's leaving room for a future SC to differentiate.

"The majority resolves the question presented by determining that the forewoman's
announcements were not final, such that Blueford's jury did not necessarily deadlock on the lesser included offense of manslaughter ... In light of that determination, I do not read today's opinion to express any view with respect to the requirements of the Double Jeopardy Clause where a jury does deadlock on a lesser included offense."
 
2012-05-24 06:32:31 PM  
Not a John Roberts fan, but this will explain it simply enough for most Farkers (from TFA): "Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, said Mr. Blueford could be retried on all of the charges because "the foreperson's report was not a final resolution of anything."
 
2012-05-24 06:33:01 PM  
This essentially subjugates the Fifth Amendment to the particular criminal procedure laws of any given states. A lot of states require partial verdicts unless the jury is totally deadlocked on everything. But some states require a complete verdict on all charges. It's purely a procedural rule that's going to cost somebody their freedom.

Think about it this way. Prosecutor wants to charge X with capital murder but realizes his case isn't all that strong. Prosecutor then charges X with murder, manslaughter, theft, driving over the speed limit (because it is considered a misdemeanor in some states), home invasion, possession of crack, pot, and a few other drugs, poaching and every other charge in the book hoping that if the jury doesn't convict X of murder that they will at least deadlock on one of the minor charges.

This scenario allows a prosecutor to retry a defendant an infinite number of times until they finally decide to convict, and if there's a deadlock on the lesser charges, the prosecutor can simply dismiss those once he has his murder conviction. Any person who's ever done work as a criminal defense lawyer knows this decision is a total disaster, and the criminal defense bars of every state now are all collectively saying, "What the fark? Are you farking kidding me?" It's giving the states carte blanche authority to change their constitutions and criminal procedure laws to require complete verdicts from every jury and encouraging unethical prosecutors (which accounts for probably about 70% of them) to charge everything under the sun in order to guarantee murder convictions.
 
2012-05-24 06:35:25 PM  

Banned on the Run: SnakeLee: How has this never come up before?

I think that system of working down a list of possible crimes (murder 1, muredr 2, manslaughter, negligent homicide) is unusual. In most states, the prosecutor has to pick one.

That's why Nancy Grace's tampering freed Casey Anthony in FL -- the prosecutor felt pressured to ask for a charge the evidence couldn't support


In Michigan we actually have a charge "open murder" which lets the jury pick and choose its flavor of homicide on which to convict a defendant.
 
2012-05-24 06:36:35 PM  

Banned on the Run: That's why Nancy Grace's tampering freed Casey Anthony in FL -- the prosecutor felt pressured to ask for a charge the evidence couldn't support


Why does she even still have a show? Nobody who uses exclamation marks in bylines has any business being given a supposedly journalistic TV show.
 
2012-05-24 06:37:25 PM  

RoyBatty: On the other hand, I think the whole, "we're going to give you a laundry list of charges, please stop after you've selected one" is pretty much entirely bullshiat.

Charge a specific crime.


There's also this. Saying "you can find him guilty of 1st degree, 2d degree, voluntary or involuntary" is pretty much saying "there's a dead guy and the defendant might have done it, we're not sure either." If the prosecutor's that unsure, then the jury is going to be equally unclear.
 
2012-05-24 06:37:48 PM  

Benjimin_Dover: I would say that the problem is that the defendant was charged with 4 different crimes. The prosecution should figure out what they want to charge a person with and then proceed. Why not just charge the person with the entire collection of every law in the code book and see what sticks? Everybody is guilty of something, right? Lazy.


No, they charged him with one crime four different ways. It may be nuanced, but the crime was the same crime with for different interpratations. It is still bullshiat, and i don't think it should be legal. Either the prosecuters can support the charge for a specific incident or they can't. If they bought of more then they could chew, plea bargain. Otherwise one crime can be retried indefinitely, bypassing double jeopardy, just like this one did.
 
2012-05-24 06:37:57 PM  
At first I was like:

i1177.photobucket.com

But then I actually RTFA and was all like:

i29.photobucket.com
 
2012-05-24 06:38:20 PM  

LookForTheArrow: THIS.


Apparently, both you and the forewoman labor under the delusion that juries get to make up the law as they go along. They don't. If the dumb biatch wanted to hand down a verdict, then she should have convinced the other morons on the jury to do their job. Or, the guy being tried could have just gone for the plea bargain, since that's clearly what the prosecutor was going after.

And as for this:

YoungLochinvar: Yeah, that part of this story made me very leery - why exactly can the prosecutors bring up four separate charges for a single act? That just seems really shady to me.


Seriously? You don't know how the legal system works? They hit you with multiple charges to get you to cop a plea. It happens in nearly every criminal case. They charge you with, say, murder, hoping that you'll panic and take whatever deal they offer you.
 
2012-05-24 06:38:30 PM  
As much as I really really want to disagree with this, as a rule of a law a mistrial entitles the people to a "do-over"

However, do I think the judge err'd before asking the Jury to declare their verdicts on the first 2 charges? yes.

However, it's not uncommon for this to happen so this is really a "duh"
 
2012-05-24 06:39:18 PM  

Gosling: Nobody who uses exclamation marks in bylines has any business being given a supposedly journalistic TV show.


Well, that's just, like, YOUR OPINION, Man !

/!
 
2012-05-24 06:39:58 PM  
Damn, I was hoping for a Cupp thread...

www.theblaze.com
 
2012-05-24 06:40:32 PM  
The jury never entered a verdict.

A mistrial was declared.

Sorry, it sucks that I agree with the worst SCOTUS in generations but what else can you do? Retrial on charges
 
2012-05-24 06:40:40 PM  
Who are the greenlighting mods that have a hard on for dissing the judiciary lately? Most of the headlines misconstrue the facts, many of them outright misstate them. What's worse, in each link that blames the judiciary the proper result appears to have been reached. In this case a mistrial was declared and no verdict was ever issued. If anything the trial judge, not the SCOTUS, should have asked the jury to reach a formal verdict on the capital offense before declaring the mistrial on the remaining charges. The trial judge didn't so the SCOTUS found no acquittal.

Don't hate on the judiciary just because you don't/can't understand it.
 
2012-05-24 06:41:26 PM  
The jury was sent to deliberate on a murder charge. The forewoman's report was "not a final resolution".

Since when are juries allowed, then, to just not produce any verdict whatsoever for the charges they are sent to deliberate?
 
2012-05-24 06:41:40 PM  

highendmighty: Gosling: Nobody who uses exclamation marks in bylines has any business being given a supposedly journalistic TV show.

Well, that's just, like, YOUR OPINION, Man !

/!


Why would HTML remove my multiple !'s? Or is it Fark's filters that don't LIke multiple !'s?
 
2012-05-24 06:42:24 PM  

Coolmikeskiguy: The whole thing is a letter of the law vs spirit of the law argument. Letter of the law won. It's fair, but it could have gone either way. I think the state got Roberts and Kennedy over with "the jury could have gone back and reconsidered those charges while deliberating further because nothing in the jury instructions said they couldn't" thing.

It's a very difficult case. I think Sotomayor's dissent is more powerful and I would have preferred her side to win, but the result wasn't patently unjust.


It's not the worst decision from the Roberts court, by any means. But I do think there's an undue emphasis on the formal title "mistrial."

The question is, why is this outcome preferable to one where the judge says, "okay, let's get verdicts on the charges we can, and we'll declare mistrial on the ones we can't," and then asked the jury for verdicts on what it could?

Do you suppose this judge would have declared a mistrial had the jury come in, and said "we're unanimous on guilt for three of the counts, but deadlocked on the fourth?" Or would he have said "let's get verdicts on the charges we can, and I'll declare mistrial on the others."
 
2012-05-24 06:43:32 PM  

DoctorCal: What the trial judge did is full-on dickery.


It's seriously as though some of you aren't even reading the article- you're fabricating a completely DIFFERENT article, and then getting pissed over it.

FTFA: "After a few hours of deliberation, the jurors announced that they were deadlocked. The jury deliberated for another half-hour but could not reach a verdict. The court declared a mistrial. "

If the jury cannot reach a verdict, (the exact wording of the article) then the judge has no choice but to declare a mistrial. How you've made the leap to "what the trial judge did is full-on dickery" I'll never know.
 
2012-05-24 06:44:02 PM  

caddisfly: Who are the greenlighting mods that have a hard on for dissing the judiciary lately? Most of the headlines misconstrue the facts, many of them outright misstate them. What's worse, in each link that blames the judiciary the proper result appears to have been reached. In this case a mistrial was declared and no verdict was ever issued. If anything the trial judge, not the SCOTUS, should have asked the jury to reach a formal verdict on the capital offense before declaring the mistrial on the remaining charges. The trial judge didn't so the SCOTUS found no acquittal.

Don't hate on the judiciary just because you don't/can't understand it.


Let's see....

Disrespect the judge.
Misconstrue facts.
Misstate facts.
Blame the judge.

I know why the mods greenlight these threads. THE MODS ARE LAWYERS!!1!
 
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