Ma’at, Justice, the Golden Rule and Jury Nullification

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I inadvertently muddied the waters last night on jury nullification when I responded without thinking to a question by Judy75201, who asked if the prosecution ever benefited from jury nullification. I said, “No.”

Whonoze corrected me using my own statement.

He said,

I believe the Prof. has already answered your question in the previous thread:

“Far more likely is the wrongful conviction of innocent people, which happens possibly as often as 20% of the cases.
“I fear racist jurors would increase the already unacceptable rate off wrongful convictions, if they could ignore the evidence pursuant to jury nullification and convict minority defendants who should be acquitted.
“That danger is an every day reality in the South.”

So if the defense has not met it’s burden, and, for example, an all white jury convicts a black defendant anyway, that’s an example of jury nullification that favors the prosecution.

Prof., perhaps you could explain to all of us what role the judge’s instructions to the jury play in all of this, and whether those are typically invoked for a verdict to be labeled as “nullification” rather than just “unexpected.”

The application of the label seems to be somewhat subjective, as some might consider the Simpson or Anthony verdicts to be nullification, while others would consider that the State did NOT meet its burden in either case, depending upon how each evaluates the evidence and argument presented at trial. Do I have that right?

I thought it over and here is my response.

Yes, I stand corrected. If a racist White jury convicts a Black defendant, despite a reasonable doubt, the prosecution benefits and the wrongfully convicted defendant loses.

Of course, we usually never know why a jury does what it does because jurors are not required to reveal why they did what they did and their deliberations are not recorded. Jury deliberations are sacrosanct and no one is permitted to be present in the jury room or to listen in on jury deliberations.

I did not follow the Anthony case, so I know little about it.

I think there was a reasonable doubt in the OJ case because I know the police planted pilfered blood evidence obtained at autopsy and broke the chain of custody creating all sorts of reasonable doubt. I was a DNA consultant for the defense and followed that aspect of the case closely.

Many people disagree and think the verdict was due to jury nullification by Black jurors in retaliation for the “not guilty” verdicts returned by White jurors in the Rodney King beating case. For example, Colin Black expressed that opinion here a few days ago. For the record, I do not believe the Rodney King verdict had anything to do with the OJ verdict.

And so it goes.

Let’s take a look at the core legal principles in all criminal trials.

Despite what lawyers and judges may say, a trial is only incidentally about a search for the truth. I use the word “incidentally,” because the real purpose of a trial is to determine whether the prosecution can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime(s) charged. The jury determines the answer to that question in a jury trial and the judge determines it in a bench trial, if a defendant knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily waives his right to a jury trial and agrees to permit the judge to decide the case.

The “truth” may or may not be revealed and become known during a trial. For example, even when a defendant has confessed to a crime, there will always be a theoretical possibility, however unlikely, that he may be innocent and have falsely confessed to the crime. My next article, for example, will be about false confessions.

In addition, even if DNA evidence supports a confession, appearing to remove all doubt regarding guilt, there will always be a theoretical possibility that the DNA evidence was fabricated or planted due to forensic fraud.

The important points to remember are that a trial is a quest to determine whether the prosecution has proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt and theoretical possibilities, in the absence of any evidence to support them, remain theoretical and cannot constitute a reasonable doubt.

We begin all criminal trials with the presumption that the defendant is innocent and must be found “not guilty,” unless the the jury decides the prosecution has overcome the presumption of innocence by proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

The defendant has no burden to produce any evidence or do anything. He can remain silent throughout the trial and elect to testify or not testify. If he does not testify, his silence cannot be held against him and the judge will instruct the jury to ignore the defendant’s “insoluble silence” as there may be any number of reasons for it that are unrelated to the issue of guilt or innocence.

The burden to overcome the presumption of innocence is placed on the prosecution and it must prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Should it fail to do so, the jury must return a verdict of “not guilty.”

Reasonable doubt is defined in the jury instructions as “a doubt for which a reason exists” and it “may arise from the evidence or lack of evidence.” That is, it must be an evidence-based doubt. Either certain evidence supports the doubt or the absence of certain evidence of guilt supports the doubt. Sometimes, it’s a combination of both that supports reasonable doubt. A reasonable doubt cannot be based on suspicion, speculation or hunches.

“A reasonable doubt is such a doubt as would exist in the mind of a reasonable person after fully and fairly considering the evidence or lack of evidence.”

Either side is entitled to claim the benefit of the evidence regardless of which side introduced it.

Put another way, during deliberations, the jury is supposed to review all of the evidence that was introduced at trial and decide whether (a) there is a doubt about the defendant’s guilt and whether (b) that doubt is supported by a reason arising from the evidence or lack of evidence. In other words, an evidence-based reason. If the answer is “yes,” then the jury must acquit. If not, then it must convict.

Unless it decides not to and that is where jury nullification comes in.

There also is a possibility that a jury verdict might be based on confusion or a mistake. However, the jury instructions were specifically designed and written to reduce the possibility of a mistake or confusion as close to zero as humanly possible. All courts use standardized sets of pattern instructions and my quoted material comes from the pattern instructions in Washington State where I practiced law for many years. I know them by heart.

I looked at the pattern instructions in Florida several months ago and they are similar, if not identical. This is not surprising as all of the state and federal courts are on the same page when it comes to defining the presumption of innocence, burden of proof and proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

No one should be surprised that judges believe jury nullification is a terrible threat to due process of law and the orderly administration of justice. They have done everything they possibly can to structure trial procedure, the introduction of evidence and the jury’s deliberative process to simplify, guide and focus jury attention on the “important” stuff.

Despite their best intentions and efforts, however, justice cannot be captured in a set of definitions, procedures and step-by-step instructions.

The whole concept of Justice is greater than the sum of its individual parts, as defined by laws, court rules and jury instructions.

The ancient Egyptians understood this principle and that is why they elevated Justice to the status of a god.

They called her Ma’at and paid homage to her in all aspects of their lives and dealings with each other.

She is the basis for what we call the Golden Rule.

When you think about it, Ma’at or the desire for justice is why we have juries decide cases, and if juries are to manifest Ma’at in their decisions, they must have the power to exercise jury nullification.

Unfortunately, jury nullification, like everything in this physical dimension of space-time, including our ideas and ourselves, comes with a shadow. That shadow manifests as something evil when an all White jury wrongfully convicts an innocent Black defendant, despite reasonable doubt. The prosecution benefits in that situation.

But a jury that acquits a sick defendant undergoing chemotherapy who is technically guilty of possessing and using marijuana for medical purposes manifests Ma’at and strikes a blow for justice. I see nothing wrong with that.

As I explained in an earlier article in this series on jury nullification, I am focusing attention on the defense effort to use racism and jury nullification to deny Justice for Trayvon. I am ringing a bell and issuing a warning to the prosecution and all who seek Justice for Trayvon in hopes of reducing the probability of that outcome to zero.

So let it be written.

So let it be done.

I hope this article clears up any remaining confusion about these vitally important principles.

___________________________________________

Previous articles in this series:

Nitty Gritty: Three Questions for Jury to Answer in Trayvon Martin Murder Case

Jury Nullification: The Best Kept Secret in American Law

How to Nullify Jury Nullification and Obtain Justice for Trayvon Martin

95 Responses to Ma’at, Justice, the Golden Rule and Jury Nullification

  1. OMG RIGHT NOW ON JUDGE JOE BROWN THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT TRAYVON MARTIN!!!!

  2. colin black says:

    Sorry Shanon I meant Sugar Im talking to myself here but since the defence have desided to forgo this months January hearing.

    Signals they are abandaning there motion to supress texts an emails taken from the accusseds phone.The one Judge Nelson wouldnt heat at the last hearing because it wasnt filled in time.
    posted this about them pulling out

  3. colin black says:

    Shanon I posted this on open thread

    was wondering why we haven’t heard from omar &co.

    “The next pre-scheduled hearing was set for January 8; however, the defense and the state have agreed that there are currently no matters that can be appropriately addressed by the Court on that date, so we have chosen to waive the January 8 hearing. The next hearing is scheduled for February 5, and we anticipate there will be new motions put before the court in advance of that hearing date.”
    –gzlegal.BS.com

    now we know why omar hasn’t been whining all over the media recently. he’s waiting until february.

    Reply was wondering why we haven’t heard from omar &co.

    “The next pre-scheduled hearing was set for January 8; however, the defense and the state have agreed that there are currently no matters that can be appropriately addressed by the Court on that date, so we have chosen to waive the January 8 hearing. The next hearing is scheduled for February 5, and we anticipate there will be new motions put before the court in advance of that hearing date.”
    –gzlegal.BS.com

    now we know why omar hasn’t been whining all over the media recently. he’s waiting until february.

    Reply

  4. colin black says:

    Dave Gaelic or Gaul was once the languge of the ancient Britons
    It had variants overall the Isles between Irish Welsh Scotish Englsh regions wich didnt exsist at that time in History.We then had nearly three generations of Roman Rule wich divesivied an altered Britian for ever.
    Of course the Romans couldnt conqer the Picts to the North /Scots an they retained the Gaelic.In fact they built a wall like a mini wall of China to keep us from attacking an looting there garrisons.
    Later on Dureing the reign off King Edward the use of Gaelic was outlawed in Scotland along with Clans an the wearing of tartan an dressing in a cladha /Kilt.
    Although few in the Highlands took any notice.

    • Cercando Luce says:

      I believe the Danish and Norseman invasions served to scramble the Gaelic language. A cousin language, Breton, is still spoken and taught in Brittany, a peninsula south and southwest of Cornwall in England. The Bretons play the bagpipes, too, although with different rhythms and tunes.

      • gbrbsb says:

        Cercando Luce:

        I don´t think Danish and Norsemen languages can have “scrambled” Gaelic because by the time of the Viking invasions (9C), the languages used in Briton (Celtic and Roman) had been replaced by the Germanic languages of the Germanic Invaders three centuries earlier (5C) mainly Angles, Saxons, and Jutes creating “Old English” (or “Anglo Saxon”) on which modern English is based. Unlike some such as Spanish, English is a “borrower”, and has always “borrowed” words from ancient and modern sources including Viking, Celtic and Gaelic, but it is a Germanic language and the bulk of the “borrowing” comes from Latin based (especially France) and Ancient Greek.

  5. i was wondering why we haven’t heard from omar &co.

    “The next pre-scheduled hearing was set for January 8; however, the defense and the state have agreed that there are currently no matters that can be appropriately addressed by the Court on that date, so we have chosen to waive the January 8 hearing. The next hearing is scheduled for February 5, and we anticipate there will be new motions put before the court in advance of that hearing date.”
    –gzlegal.BS.com

    now we know why omar hasn’t been whining all over the media recently. he’s waiting until february.

    • seallison says:

      I have a weird feeling that something is amiss. What is the deadline for omar to request the immunity hearing. I will look it up if someone does not know off the top of their head. I think omar is going to forego that hearing. But, there is something amiss.

      • tinytruthseeker says:

        45 days before the actual trial isn’t it? I know what is amiss. The defense is going to attempt to get a continuance based on the fact that they wont be going to court in February either….at least not on February 5th.

        They will file in just enough time to make it impossible to reschedule in the month of February…. They will shake their heads and lament that while they had every intention of being ready to hold that immunity hearing it just isn’t possible seeing as they have had so few things handled at smaller hearings leading up to that April immunity hearing date….. and all because they were so thoughtful in their desire to spare Trayvon’s family….

        They aren’t going to show up at that courthouse on Trayvon’s birthday (February 5th)….can you imagine the protestors that would show up in support of Trayvon’s family that day????!!!!

        • Xena says:

          They aren’t going to show up at that courthouse on Trayvon’s birthday (February 5th)….can you imagine the protestors that would show up in support of Trayvon’s family that day????!!!!

          I hope they do, because whether through spirit or through others, that is Trayvon’s day to shine. It’s his day. He owns it and if GZ is in court that day, Trayvon will own his ass too.

          • tinytruthseeker says:

            We can hope…. I hope for so many things connected with this case….

            I agree with you Xena….. but I don’t think we will get our wish…. O’Smeara isn’t stupid…. it would be a publicity nightmare for his client.

          • Xena says:

            I agree with you Xena….. but I don’t think we will get our wish…. O’Smeara isn’t stupid…. it would be a publicity nightmare for his client.

            All other publicity has been a nightmare for GZ, so why stop now? LOL!

            If discovery is going alone smoothly and there’s nothing for the court to resolve, then the next phase is pre-trial motions. GZ will be financially destitute by the end of February so we might see O’Mara get on the ball for the immunity hearing.

    • tinytruthseeker says:

      No way they are keeping that court date. (February 5th) It would be Trayvon’s 18th birthday! I predict O’smeara will find a way to opt out of that particular date….. while simultaneously making it either seem like it would be to “dangerous” for his client or attempting to paint it as if they are so compassionate and “just don’t want to see Trayvon’s family hurt by having to deal with all of this on the day of Trayvon’s birth”….

    • i don’t know what’s amiss, but i think omar is planning a media fury before every hearing. he’s been doing it and even mentions on their website to *expect* new motions before the next one.

      and i agree w/Xena about the hearing being on Tray’s birthday. I think it should stand. i think it will be very powerful for the state. and also sorta give Trayvon his power back.

      It’s Trayvon’s day, and he won’t be ignored and it won’t go unnoticed by the judge!
      Oh and especially by the media!!

  6. Dave says:

    Gaelic, as I understand it is the traditional language of the people of the Scottish Highlands and and Islands. Other Scots speak their own distinct (and many would say superior) version of the language known south of Hadrian’s Wall as “English”.

    • gbrbsb says:

      Oooops Dave, no offence, but if I understand you correctly, and I think Colin will back me on this, Gaelic is neither related nor precursor of English but comes under the Celtic umbrella and was and is limited to Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Manx, and a couple of limited coastal areas of the mainland, one being the West coast of Wales.

      English is based on the Germanic languages brought over by the 5C invaders, mainly Jutes, Saxons, & Angles (Anglo) and which has had over a few clearly defined historical periods a huge influx of words “borrowed” from Latin and to a lesser degree from Ancient Greek.

      • gbrbsb says:

        Errata: “Isle of Man” not “Manx”, which is the name for the ancient Gaelic used there but now basically dead.

      • Dave says:

        I don’t think we disagree. Scots Gaelic is one of the Celtic languages and, in recent centuries, has been spoken mainly in the Highlands and some of the northern Islands. The people of the Lowlands and Borders (and most Highlanders these days)speak a language that most non-Scots would call “English” although in its most distinctive form, known as “Braid Scots”, would be barely recognizable as such by many of us.

    • gbrbsb says:

      Ok, gotya, and yes we agree. What threw me was that English is not only spoken “south of Hadrian´s wall” but on a good size strip north of it as well; the Scottish border does not coincide with the wall but is further North. I thought you were saying, even if with tongue in cheek, that England´s “English” had a Gaelic or Celtic origin.

  7. colin black says:

    leander
    Edinburgh. wonderful town.

    Theres nothing English about a Scots accent.

    Well, you have to forgive me, even Wikipedia calls it Scottish English. And I suppose you don’t speak Gaelic usually, do you

    No dont normLY Speak Gaelic I know a few phrases.
    Accents how ever are not langude so much as a variant of tones an the timbre an sounds differenciate regionaly
    Accents can render the same languge almost forign to a fellow countryman.
    As to me not speaking native Gatlic likewise few Canadians speak Inuitt

    B T W I take no offence at my accent being described as English.Ive heard some doozies from Americans regards Scotland.
    Once I was informed by an American that Scotland was the smallest County in England.

  8. colin black says:

    leander Scotland and England Wales Ireland are 4 differnt Countrys.Collective Britian British Isles or United Kingdom.

    Its like me saying I love Canadian accents its my favourate American Accent.

  9. seallison says:

    I urge everyone to Google Norm Wolfinger – Innocence Project

    One example: http://www.mcall.com/features/orl-maxwell-john-preston-061409,0,4419880.column?page=2

    Professor –

    Hypothetically speaking:

    Scenario:

    You have a white Defence Attorney and you are black or Hispanic. The Defence Attorney also happens to be a strong racist.

    The Defence Attorney is duty-bound to provide their client the best defence at court.

    This Defence Attorney also has political aspirations. Law Enforcement uses an exceptional dog to sniff out evidence that no human being has detected. A number of defendants have been convicted based on evidence found by the dog.

    It is later determined that the dog had no such ability and it is determined that innocent people have been convicted and have spent many, many years behind bars.

    It may be a rare occurrence, but a corrupt Defence Attorney may have the ability to assist the Prosecution by providing a failed strategy.

    A jury can only make the correct decision based on provided evidence. I may be wrong, but, I believe the prosecution and defence are master-debaters (I had to say it) who have either won or lost the debate.

    In other words, it is not about a guilty or not guilty verdict solely based on evidence presented. It is about a win or lose for the lawyers.

    I think jury nullification is a very good thing. They have the ability sometimes to override corruption if and when it exists. I am likening it the OJ case as well. However, OJ had the best Defence Attorneys money could buy in his corner.

    It is a very good thing to have non-lawyers deciding an outcome the majority of the time, IMO.

  10. colin black says:

    Dennis Did you by chance ever read Patrick’s statement to the paper? He was treated like dirt by the Perugia police. They hit him and also yelled racial slurs at him.

    Reply
    Yup Ive tried to read as much as possable re Meridths Murder.

    Both Patrick an the other African guy Guade the one still behind bars were treated without due process .
    As were all the suspects interogated by Italian Police.
    The special prosecuter /magistrate has immence power in Italy includeing the right of interogation of suspects.
    He has previous for over zealous prosecutions with ridiculous theorys.

  11. colin black says:

    show with an audience of millions;

    You are Scottish, Colin? Am I wrong? I love Scottish accents. My favorite English accent, really

    IS This a trick question ? Theres nothing English about a Scots accent.
    Unless your Ammish everyones English to them.
    Yes Born in Edinburgh.
    Although I now live in England.

    • leander22 says:

      Edinburgh. wonderful town.

      Theres nothing English about a Scots accent.

      Well, you have to forgive me, even Wikipedia calls it Scottish English. And I suppose you don’t speak Gaelic usually, do you?

    • seallison says:

      colin – Born and raised in Canada but I will be moving to Burntisland for retirement later this year. Still have lots of family in Kirkcaldy area. Go Celtic!

  12. Jun says:

    I know from here that jurors do not have to tell why they chose what they did, however, they still do anyways…

    I also understand that there may be corrupt jurors, however, would the fact that a biased prejudiced juror, mean that the trial is a fraud, since a juror is supposed to be unbiased and objective?

    I have no problem with people not agreeing to convict someone on say the marijuana example you gave…

    but to simply let a killing slide while a victim was screaming for mercy… after being stalked and terrorized… is really cold blooded, if that were the case… and that would be an affront to the victim’s rights as a human…

    I am fairly sure jurors have eyes kept on them due to the fact that a jury could be corrupted and a trial is a fraud…

    However, the odds do not seem in that favor, to find that many people, like that, in regards to murder

    Not saying it does not exist, as I am sure it does, but I would think it would be difficult in this day and age, and someone like that is a not a true juror

    I subscribe that a scale of justice should be like the blindfolded lady with a balanced scale for both parties, and then go forth fairly for both parties

    In this case, we have a grown adult who stalked, confronted, terrorized, then killed a kid, who wants to use an affirmative defense

    Imma say straight up, the defendant’s story is a complete lie

    • Jun said,

      “I subscribe that a scale of justice should be like the blindfolded lady with a balanced scale for both parties, and then go forth fairly for both parties”

      That’s not the way our legal system works.

      The scale is weighted in favor of the defendant because he starts out innocent with no obligation to testify or burden to produce any evidence. This literally means if jurors were asked to vote “guilty” or “not guilty” before they heard any evidence, they would have to vote “not guilty.”

      • Jun says:

        Would that not be the case, in the Trayvon case though?

        In the Trayvon case, we have two parties…

        The victim is dead

        The defendant admitted to killing the victim and claims an affirmative defense of SYG

        It seems a little silly to blindly give faith to the defendant because he could be lying, and I would say he is lying

        It seems a case like this, the objective juror would also be looking at the victim and think…

        1) The kid has a right to walk home with Skittles and Ice Tea for his little brother, why couldn’t the defendant just let his unfounded prejudice go and leave the kid alone as the kid has a right to his personal space without it being obstructed

        2) The defendant obvious had an ulterior motive, for him to stalk and pursue the victim in the manner he did and then confront him, even when the victim ran away from him and the victim was far away from the defendant. The kid had a right to be apprehensive about a complete stranger who would not leave him alone, and would not have any righteous motive to continuously stalk and harass an unarmed kid through the dark of the night with a gun, while yelling disparaging remarks to police and disregarding the police orders. The kid had a reasonable belief he was in danger, and he was correct, just as taught by police since elementary school

        3) The kid had a right to know why a complete stranger kept going after him

        4) The kid had a right to not be attacked and have the defendant physically get on him

        5) The kid had a right to defend himself and his personal space

        6) The kid had a right to mercy, since he was no threat and was begging for mercy, and did not know how to fight back at all

        It just seems to me, in a case like this, whether I am legally right or wrong, that the victim should also be weighed in as a factor, especially since he admitted to killing the kid

        • The defendant must be presumed innocent and prospective jurors who say they cannot do that will be excused for cause.

          FYI: The presumption can be overcome by proof beyond a reasonable doubt and I don’t think there is any question regarding whether it will be in this case. The prosecution has an overwhelming case and, if aggressively playing the race card, demonizing the victim and scheming to pack the jury with racists doesn’t work, the defendant will be convicted.

      • Jun says:

        I agree

        I empathize with Trayvon and just feel strongly about what happened and I feel strongly for any person that has been through crap like that

        I totally agree with the fact that people should not be found guilty of something they did not do, as being accused of wrong sucks, but there are just cases where I feel the standard is a load of BS but I can, if I was a juror, set aside everything and base it on the evidence only

        • Jun,

          You said,

          “I totally agree with the fact that people should not be found guilty of something they did not do, as being accused of wrong sucks, but there are just cases where I feel the standard is a load of BS but I can, if I was a juror, set aside everything and base it on the evidence only.”

          How on earth would you set aside an important belief and not have it subconsciously affect the way you value the evidence? You speak as though it’s no more difficult than switching a light off. But even if that’s true, then how do you see in the darkness?

      • roderick2012 says:

        “The scale is weighted in favor of the defendant because he starts out innocent with no obligation to testify or burden to produce any evidence.”

        Granted that is should be the legal standard and in most cases I would agree but in case the defendant has admitted that he shot and killed Trayvon who was unarmed and was too young to have been able to have possessed a firearm legally putting him at a tremendous disadvantage against the defendant.

        This trial starts off at 50/50 guilty/innocence and the reason that O’Mara has been trying this case in the media by demonizing Trayvon is that he knows that even though the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove that his client is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt he has to offer some type of affirmative defense because his client has never denied killing Trayvon.
        I don’t believe that there is any way for GZ to be acquitted unless he testifies and I believe he will be convicted if he testifies because he will get tangled up in his multiple previous versions of events.

        Ultimately O’Mara will change his client’s plea to not guilt due to diminished capacity possibly claiming that GZ suffers from PTSD because his mommy slapped him around as a kid or something that keeps his client from accepting full responsibility for his actions that night.

        • Even though he admitted shooting and killing Trayvon Martin, the jury must still presume him innocent. In other words, that he acted in self-defense. Nevertheless, for the reasons you have mentioned the prosecution should not have a problem overcoming the presumption with a mountain of evidence that proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

        • Xena says:

          This trial starts off at 50/50 guilty/innocence and the reason that O’Mara has been trying this case in the media by demonizing Trayvon is that he knows that even though the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove that his client is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt he has to offer some type of affirmative defense because his client has never denied killing Trayvon.

          That’s it in a nutshell. The State never has to mention GZ’s self-defense claim. They only have to meet the elements to prove 2nd degree murder. Self-defense is GZ’s claim and if he doesn’t prevail at immunity and doesn’t take the witness stand at trial, O’Mara will have a difficult time even mentioning “self-defense” at trial.

          Let’s also remember that all those supporting “GZ said” are State witnesses.

      • Jun says:

        The way I look at it is…

        Because of sunshine laws, I am basing it on the evidence anyways, and the act of presuming innocence, does not say anything about blindly believing that due to the fact, and it is my sworn duty to be an objective juror if that is the case…

        Like in this case, I do not feel I am infringing on the defendant’s rights, as I am basing it on the evidence… I am giving the defendant his chance, but I looked at the evidence… that is all they are asking me to do…

      • Jun says:

        Okay, so are you saying that because I looked at the evidence, and can paint my own picture of what happened, that it could affect my objectivity?

        • Right now, I want you to stop using and end discussion about the use of the word “Nigga.” I find it offensive, even if you don’t.

          More than one person here has politely asked you to stop, but you aren’t listening because you are so certain you are right.

          Stop. It. Now.

          I am not going to ask again.

      • roderick2012 says:

        Xena: Self-defense is GZ’s claim and if he doesn’t prevail at immunity and doesn’t take the witness stand at trial, O’Mara will have a difficult time even mentioning “self-defense” at trial.

        Right and that’s why O’Mara is mounting his self-defense via the media. Of course the fact that his client has a violent past has complicated this task therefore he has resorted to demonizing the victim since some people who have nothing to gain volunteered first-hand accounts about his client’s violent tendencies

        GZ will lose what little public support he has left if O’Mara requests an immunity hearing and GZ declines to testify so I assume that O’Mara will wait until the deadline and decline to file for the Dennis hearing.

        O’Mara is between several rocks and a hard place because he’s raised the expectations of the public (especially the GZ supporters) that he is going to pick apart the State’s case against his client, but the easiest way for him to do that is have GZ to testify on his own behalf but we know what a disaster that would be since he requested that GZ be excused from cross-examination during the second bond hearing.

        It will be interesting to see the reaction when O’Mara declines to file for the immunity hearing or GZ declines to testify at the immunity hearing. For one I am sure Jeralyn will have a coronary and will offer some lame excuse as to why it’s a good thing that either O’Mara decided against the immunity hearing or GZ declined to testify.

        • Xena says:

          @roderick2012

          O’Mara is between several rocks and a hard place because he’s raised the expectations of the public (especially the GZ supporters) that he is going to pick apart the State’s case against his client,

          Actually, he has GZ’s supporters believing that the State has no evidence and if he just repeats that like a mantra, that the judge will dismiss the case. That is what they’ve hoped for from the onset, so he places that carrot before their faces.

          Of course, their reason for wanting the case dismissed is on the premise that GZ will be found guilty to avoid race riots. That way, they don’t have to discuss the evidence — just GZ said.

          Did you read one of O’Mara’s latest motions in answer to the State’s reply? It goes on and on about the State not providing any evidence to backup the charge.

          O’Mara can pull this off on GZ’s supporters because they are not aware that the State does not have to prove its evidence at any time other than the immunity hearing and trial. Certainly, the State is not going to argue its case in motions dealing with bond and discovery.

          but the easiest way for him to do that is have GZ to testify on his own behalf but we know what a disaster that would be since he requested that GZ be excused from cross-examination during the second bond hearing.

          Although the defendant has the right to not testify on his own behalf, of all the self-defense immunity hearings I’ve researched in Florida, defendants have testified. It’s their petition before the court. No one else can testify as to what they felt, believed, and did justifying the use of deadly force. Of the few trials that are available to watch after immunity has been denied, the defendants also testified. Again, it’s their affirmative defense and they are the only person who can defend it.

          Yeah, GZ will explode during cross.

          • With the burden on the defense at an immunity hearing to present its case first and prove self-defense by a preponderance of the evidence, I would expect most lawyers would inform their clients that they would have to testify for the reasons you stated.

            The only exception I can think of would be where eyewitness testimony, corroborated by physical evidence and forensics, clearly established that the defendant or a third party he defended, was in imminent danger of death or suffering serious bodily harm when he killed the decedent.

            Of course, it is not very likely that a person would have been charged, if that were the case.

            This certainly is not such a case.

            Desperate circumstances frequently generate desperate plans and that was certainly true that night.

            Because Trayvon was a Black teenager “armed” with Skittles and a can of tea, a decision was made to portray him as a crazed and reckless Black Ninja Assassin, able and willing to attack an adult male stranger who outweighed him by 50 pounds or more and beat him to death with his bare hands in full view of any number of potential witnesses in a high density residential neighborhood at 7:15 pm on a Sunday night, just because he could.

            Yes, the defense is ridiculous.

            A nation and the world patiently wait to watch this defendant ever so deliciously roast over the hot fire of a professional cross examination.

          • Xena says:

            >blockquote> A nation and the world patiently wait to watch this defendant ever so deliciously roast over the hot fire of a professional cross examination.

            @Prof., and that includes myself.

      • Jun says:

        Actually Racer

        I believe that Omara will file for the immunity hearing, even if he does end up on the losing end…

        I base this on his out of court actions of trying to get the State’s work product and complaining about it, and the immunity hearing kind of gives him a chance to do that

        Omara really does not have much to work with because he has based his whole case on a retracted witness 6 statement, and witness 6 could get impeached on his testimony if he changes it anymore, considering he has already given 4 stories to police, and the final version being that he was not sure what he was seeing but he heard no striking noises but he thinks the victim may have been simply trying to pin the defendant while trying to get help…

        Furthermore, witness 6 kind of caught the middle part of the struggle and confrontation, so even if Trayvon was on top, the fact that the defendant targeted and stalked in an aggravated manner the victim, confronted the victim in an aggressive and threatening manner trying to control and manipulate the victim, and then attacked the victim first by getting on the kid to which the kid reacted by yelling for the defendant to get off him…. so knowing that, the victim, the kid, Trayvon, had every bloodclot right to defend himself…

        I still believe his bloody nose photo is doctored, however, his nose does not even look all that bad to be honest… it surely does not look like he took any extensive damage or that it is broken

      • Jun says:

        I think it is really stupid when they say there is no evidence

        They have a dead kid… a kid who was killed by the defendant… thats probable cause in itself of murder or at least manslaughter… if the defendant wants to make an affirmative defense, he can do so during trial or an SYG hearing

        Like seriously, what do they not get? Is video footage supposed to be evidence only, otherwise a killer gets let go?

        It would be pandemonium if that was how things worked

        and whether or not there are race riots, it still does not mean the defendant does not have probable cause for murder indictment or that he is potentially guilty of the crime… I dont feel people will riot.. I mean why, the FBI are ready also to take Fogenhats on to LOL

      • Jun says:

        It is not a problem. I just wanted to discuss the use of the word, that is all. I know it is somewhat a bad word and was just seeing what people felt about how it is used in common American slang. I then compared what if it was used in the same way with other racial slurs and the human social dynamics of using a racial slur then what it was originally intended. I was not trying to offend anyone about it, just decided to spark conversation about it. I can stop it, and I was just replying to an earlier conversation on here about it.

        Anyways, I did not understand the statement before that, about certainty

  13. leander22 says:

    When you think about it, Ma’at or the desire for justice is why we have juries decide cases, and if juries are to manifest Ma’at in their decisions, they must have the power to exercise jury nullification.

    note to myself, keep in mind jury trial versus bench trial, also keep in mind the defendant has always the right to be judged by a jury, or by equals not by legal experts. 😉 Although, I suppose legal experts learn many tricks to bend them their way.

    Maat is interesting and complex.

    But considering US trials and juries no one made us foreigners like the idea of jurors more than Sidney Lumet’s Twelve angry men, the German title is The Twelve Jurors.. Brilliant movie.

  14. colin black says:

    Dennis ..Dont you mean false accusations I am familiar with the brutal murder of Merideth Kercher

    And know that Amanda Knox made false allegations against her boss at a bar she waitresses at.
    African Patrick Mugammba.

    • Dennis says:

      The police brutally interrogated her for hours and hours. They also deprived her of food, water, bathroom…that kind of stuff. Once she was weak and tired they forced her to sign a confession that was written in Italian, which she was not fluent in. The police were stupid and believed that the break-in was staged, when it was not. They also found hair from an African male which led them to believe Amanda’s boss at the bar was the rapist/murderer. They forced her not only to incriminate herself, but to also accuse her boss Patrick of the murder. This led to the conclusion that someone from the flat was involved in the murder. The delusional prosecutor in that case was convicted for “abuse of office” in connection with his handling of the Florence murders. The sole person responsible was of African descent, but it was Rudy Guede and he broke in to that flat to steal stuff because he is a drug addict/drifter. As retired FBI agent Steve Moore said, “There is no way two people could have just levitated over all of that blood, while one person (Rudy Guede) stepped all through it.

    • Dennis says:

      Did you by chance ever read Patrick’s statement to the paper? He was treated like dirt by the Perugia police. They hit him and also yelled racial slurs at him.

    • leander22 says:

      This case created quite a bit of activism in Italy and on the Italian web too at the time. It even drew my attention.

  15. Dennis says:

    Frederick, since you will be talking about false confessions, the Amanda Knox case in Italy would be a good example of police misconduct leading to a false confession. I assume you may know Dr. Greg Hampikian of the Idaho Innocence Project. He assisted the Knox defense to point out the errors in the fantasy forensics used against her at trial.

    • I know Greg. He’s a good guy. We co-founded the Idaho Innocence Project together in late 2005 and early 2006 when I was teaching at the University of Idaho College of Law in Moscow and he was teaching at Boise State University in Boise. That was before the Amanda Knox case.

  16. Aunt Bea says:

    I am confused by jury nullification…..is that just an explanation we tell ourselves when a jury comes back with the unexpected verdict.
    How bizarre. Instead of hatin’ on the jury with, “they were lazy, stupid, ready for vacation, missing their loved ones, business going to hell, kids givin’ the old lady a hard time, etc…” A kinder and gentler word?

    So what is it called when a judge throws out the jury’s verdict? I think I have heard of that. The trial judge “sets aside” the verdict. Or was that on TV….LOL

    A Believer and Follower of Christ knows that God was there that night. He is working on people right now…..as is Satan…..

    We are all part of, and necessary for, God’s plan……yes, even George and company…..

    • Dennis says:

      You are sort of on the right track. Jury nullification is when the jury comes back with a verdict that is the result of the jurors deciding the case based on their own beliefs, rather than the weight of the evidence or proof beyond reasonable doubt.

      Here would be an example that Frederick already used:
      The prosecution proves the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and that Martin screamed in terror before the defendant shot him. A jury of racist white middle class people acquit the defendant because they hate black people. This would be jury nullification because they did not care about the law or desire punishment for the defendant.

      I believe Christianity inherited the concept of Satan/Hell from the Zoroastrians. I think people are responsible for their own actions. Weak people are the ones that can’t accept responsibility for their own actions If Satan exists, that would negate the fact that God gave us free will.

      • cielo62 says:

        Satan doesn’t remove free will at all. Per Zoroastrians, the struggle is between good and evil and WE choose our actions. In Judaism, Satan is considered more like as prosecuting attorney, pointing out your defects to the Divine. In either car, “the devil made me do it” does NOT absolve you of responsibility.

        Sent from my iPod

        • Xena says:

          Satan doesn’t remove free will at all. Per Zoroastrians, the struggle is between good and evil and WE choose our actions.

          Yes. And “choice” is what God gave man as Christianity was originally believe. Originally, the only life that has free will is God’s, and without knowing and doing his will, man’s will is not free.

          Somewhere through the years the doctrine of “free will” replaced and clouded the doctrine of choices in Christianity and tainted man’s heart.

      • Dennis says:

        @Xena

        I am not religious BTW. I am a follower of alien intervention theory.

        • cielo62 says:

          Dennis- have you seen all of the Ancient Aliens series? Very convincing most if the time. Still just because there were ancient astronauts does not negate the reality of a supreme divine being. Just throwing that out there fit reflection. 🙂

          Sent from my iPod

        • Xena says:

          @Dennis.

          @Xena

          I am not religious BTW. I am a follower of alien intervention theory.

          Whatever floats your boat. 🙂

    • Malisha says:

      A judge cannot set aside acquittal.

      • Yes, you’re correct because that would violate the Double Jeopardy Clause.

      • Dennis says:

        @Frederick

        I believe under the Duel Sovereignty Doctrine, double jeopardy does not apply. For example, the State and Feds could both charge you with murder since both State and Federal laws contain statutes for murder. The feds have done this before without violating double jeopardy. Even the State can charge you again for the same crime if new reliable evidence surfaces quite some time after their acquittal. I saw this while researching Double Jeopardy on Wikipedia months ago.

  17. “They called her Ma’at and paid homage to her in all aspects of their lives and dealings with each other.

    She is the basis for what we call the Golden Rule”

    Prof, thank you once again! I am so happy!
    If i concentrate 😉 i can learn at least one thing, maybe two, from you and the other brainiacs here, every day!! and for free!!LOLO

    Wow, it’s amazing the Egyptians thought of the golden rule. i’ve always romanized them, read a few books… but haven’t studied them aside from maybe a few mentions in college.

    if you ever feel like it, i for one, would love to hear more about them.

  18. colin black says:

    The acussed must be starting to realise the differance between fame an imfamous.

    Its rumoured staff at the non descript motel no tell he an ShelLie are ensconced at.

    He can be heard roaming the corriders at night muttering under his breath Infammy infammy theyve all got it it infammy.

  19. colin black says:

    zero zero at half time ..btw

  20. colin black says:

    Two things would garantee I would receieve a smack across the face from my Mother as a wee boy.One was to use the word puss Scotish slang for face,,,Think thats the origin of the expression sourpuss,

    But if she heard me say …Shut yer puss or look at the puss on you or words to that effect.
    Second thing an far worse was if I took the Lords name in vain Blasthphimy;

    Thinking back on the accuseds apearance on Hannatiy an the All Gods Plan comment.
    It struck me that perhaps that was the most blatant vanity posssable to proclaim the Lords name.From a Catholic former allter boy to say this on TV show with an audience of millions;
    In a self serveing propa gands show to justify his shooting of an unarmed child returning home to his Fathers house.A home unlike his that was bought an owned.He was not even paying rent.

    He invokes Gods name for his surviveall an Trayvons death.
    Saying therefore God wanted him to live an by implication Trayvon to die?
    I M O I cant remember a more blatant use off takeing the Lords name in vain…….

    Im sure the acussed an his familars/family read here so this is for the ACUSSED

    Though shall not kill.

    Take not the Lords name in vain.

    Love thy Neighbour……………………..

    • leander22 says:

      From a Catholic former allter boy to say this on TV show with an audience of millions;

      You are Scottish, Colin? Am I wrong? I love Scottish accents. My favorite English accent, really.

      Concerning the above: My mother, would say, that’s typical. Typically mass Catholic. She was brought up one herself, but does not trust the Catholic crowd (or Krauts) and thus thankfully she protected me against some church stupidities, instead of teaching me to accept stupid Catholic rules. The rule that outraged me was that I confess relations with people of other creeds, My best girl friend was Protestant at the time, and my mother told me to forget about confessing it. The rule disappeared by now, …

      And that’s how she saw matters: The majority of self-proclaimed religious people are about surfaces only, about empty rituals. It’s about being perceived as righteous citizen only. Contents the religion has to offer, ethics, are forgotten the moment pne passes the church gate after the Mass on Sunday. Catholicis have a perfect tool to deal with the rest, you can always go to confessions, pray your series of prayers as penance and than start “sinning” all over again.

      I tend to deal with matters less categorically then she does. But I have to admit that Fogen fits pretty good into her preconceptions from my perspective.

    • Jun says:

      He’s trying to justify it to himself

      I am not surprised

      I watch a lot of crime shows about real cases and you would be surprised at the amount of lies defendants will tell

      In this case we have an adult male who decided to target stalk and confront and terrorize a kid once he caught him, and then he killed the kid while the kid screamed for help…

      There are guys in prison with more honor than the defendant

      IMO he is a weasel

      Anyways, to my point about defendant lies…

      I watched Exhibit A the other night, and they had a case where an 11 year old girl was murdered and raped…

      the CSI immediately took vaginal swabs as he was afraid that the environment would deteriorate any samples, considering her body was there for a few days…

      he was able to swab a semen sample from the vagina…

      the CSI took the sample and tested it with the technology of the day, and it was not till 10 years later that DNA testing was invented and the CSi could then get a profile….

      The CSI then had a suspect in mind from the 10 years ago… they had a detective tail the suspect and see if they can get a DNA sample from any of the suspects garbage… the detective was able to secure the suspects cigarette butt from an ashtray and they matched it to the sample, after 10 years…

      The suspect was then caught and brought to trial…

      Want to know what the defendant’s lie in that case was?

      He claimed that he had masturbated earlier that day of the murder and some semen was left on his hand… the defendant than stated he did not kill the girl or rape her, and he simply saw the dead body and touched the vagina of the girl with his semen stained hand

      The jury did not buy his story and they convicted him… the same defendant had told a different story before his masturbation hand theory… and because of that, the jury found him to be a liar and guilty, because of the dna sample

    • Judy75201 says:

      I think he believes he was some sort of conduit of “devine justice”. The smirk says it all.

      • I find it impossible to imagine how Trayvon’s killer could have caused more damage to himself and his defense during a 24-hour period than he did by smirking his way through the Hannity interview between having no regrets for killing Trayvon to attributing everything that he did that dreadful night to God’s Plan, to attempting to shakedown Barbara Walters prior to his scheduled interview with her the next morning by conditioning his appearance on her network picking up the tab for a month stay in a hotel with a security team.

        Dear God in Heaven! What colossal stupidity.

        He could not have done more damage if he had goose-stepped naked down Wall Street at noon screaming into a bullhorn,

        “I murdered Trayvon Martin and I’m so glad I did that I’m going to dig him up and shoot him again.”

      • Cercando Luce says:

        @Prof
        Shh! You’re giving ideas to the defense!

    • Don’t forget this one too…..
      You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
      That’s all fogen has been doing since he killed Trayvon.

      • Xena says:

        Don’t forget this one too…..
        You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
        That’s all fogen has been doing since he killed Trayvon.

        As well as GZ’s family. No wonder they are unemployed, vagabonds or living like hermits. Let’s not forget Taaffe and the Ostermans either. All have suffered shame since they came forth bearing false witness against Trayvon.

      • ladystclaire says:

        @Xena, every last one of them is getting exactly what they deserve and, they have all got a lot more coming. I still say RZ’Sr should be arrested for obstruction of justice in this case.

        • Xena says:

          @Xena, every last one of them is getting exactly what they deserve and, they have all got a lot more coming.

          Indeed. They planted those seeds and continue watering them, so they are reaping very quickly.

          I still say RZ’Sr should be arrested for obstruction of justice in this case.

          It would be attempted obstruction, but why give him that honor? It’s the same for Junior. The more they try to taint the jury pool, the more damage they actually do. If potential jurors are screened correctly, all those that Junior hoped to taint will be excluded.

  21. colin black says:

    Great post Prof……….Of tae watch the Fittba .Hibernian v Hearts Edinburgh Derby.

    Cmoan the Hibees…………

  22. bettykath says:

    Interesting article. I think that verdicts should follow the evidence. Jury nullification should not be used to convict, better the guilty go free than the innocent be convicted. In rare circumstances I support it for a not guilty verdict.

    I would appreciate an article on the OJ DNA contamination. I didn’t follow the case except at a very superficial level. How was the fraud detected?

    • Malisha says:

      I also was not aware that they pilfered blood from the autopsy to plant on OJ. In that case he should have been cut loose, as he was. What an outrage! Did the cops who did that end up getting prosecuted for their crimes? They should have been.

      • CherokeeNative says:

        I followed the OJ trial from the white bronco chase down the freeway until the verdict. I had a radio in my office and I listened to every day of testimony. When the verdict was read, I was the only person in a room full of attorneys and paralegals who was jumping for joy. I am not ignorant, I understood the science of DNA and its implications – BUT to me, the defense proved without a doubt that someone in LE had tampered with the blood evidence – and they had chain of custody problems with the blood evidence. So, even though OJ may have murdered these two, the prosecution’s case was doomed because of the investigation and the jury was correct in their verdict as a consequence. And, no, no one that I am aware of was prosecuted for their evidence tampering.

  23. Xena says:

    Follow — after a nap.

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