Tuesday, February 18, 2020

I Only Want To Say....

Yeah, this is kinda the point:

I've never understood the idea that those who choose to remain the least informed are more reliable jurors than people who choose to be informed. Or that people who followed the news were less reliably able to render fair judgement than those who might be addicted to fictitious who-don-its or cop procedurals or the such.

If his lawyer didn't ask a question or make an objection - it strikes me that people have had courts uphold their death sentences on such lack of action.
Let me return to my source on this, because the explanation is clear and concise and even cites the relevant case law; and it ably supports that comment:

The law does not require judges to sideline potential jurors who have strong political beliefs. Democrats can sit in judgment on Republicans, and Republicans can sit in judgment on Democrats. The key question isn’t whether a person is partisan but rather whether they’re capable of setting aside political bias to decide questions of fact fairly and impartially. And, believe it or not, this happens all the time in the United States of America. It’s happened in my own cases.

Moreover, the jury selection process (called voir dire) provides attorneys with a limited number of peremptory challenges—which permit attorneys to strike jurors without showing cause—and ample opportunity to challenge jurors for cause. In the Stone case, the trial court struck at least 40 jurors for cause (38 in response to the defense team’s initial requests and two more after a request for reconsideration).

The voir dire process is vitally important. If the prospective juror discloses all relevant material facts in response to questions from the judge and/or opposing counsel, and the judge is still satisfied that the juror can set aside any political bias to render a fair verdict, their decision will rarely be reversed. If, however, the juror is deceptive in voir dire, then the defendant may well be denied a fair trial. In a 1984 case called McDonough Power Equipment v. Greenwood, the Supreme Court succinctly explained the standard:

We hold that to obtain a new trial in such a situation, a party must first demonstrate that a juror failed to answer honestly a material question on voir dire, and then further show that a correct response would have provided a valid basis for a challenge for cause. The motives for concealing information may vary, but only those reasons that affect a juror's impartiality can truly be said to affect the fairness of a trial.

Did Hart truthfully answer every material question on voir dire? If so, then these “revelations” aren’t revelations at all, and the likelihood that they could form the foundation of a new trial are slim to none.
So there's the legal question:  does the fact that juror Hart tweeted about Roger Stone raise a material question that was dishonestly answered on voir dire, a correct response to which would have provided a valid basis for a challenge for cause?  Being a Democrat, or even having expressed an opinion about the actions of Roger Stone at any time, would not be grounds for a challenge for cause.    "The key question [is]...whether they’re capable of setting aside political bias to decide questions of fact fairly and impartially."  That was the thrust of the voir dire of juror 126.  The bias of the juror was examined, and found immaterial to her ability to sit as a juror, and the Stone lawyers even refused to make a motion of objection to that juror.

Game over, man.  Game over.

And now Stone's lawyers complain that the judge, on a conference call with all parties in the case, says she will not postpone sentencing until she has ruled on this new motion for new trial.  But the judge points out they haven't asked her to postpone the hearing.

Game over, man.  Game over.

Is Trump going to pardon Stone on Friday, after the sentencing hearing?  I don't think so, but never say never.  Does the pardon matter?  Well, yes, in the arena of promoting respect for the law; but it won't protect Stone from having to answer questions, nor make it more likely he can be forced to answer questions.  Will voters support Trump because he pardoned Stone?

What, are you kidding?

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