Analysis: Did the Jury Get the Green Verdict Right?

YoloCourt-27

On Friday, Judge David Rosenberg rejected a defense call for a new trial and ruled that the jury’s verdict was supported by the evidence.  Samantha Green was sentenced to 15 years to life.  The judge would state, “You put your child in harm’s way. And because of your actions your child is dead.”

But Public Defender Tracie Olson would argue, “This is the most unfounded jury verdict that I’ve seen.”

With the sentencing complete, the gag order was lifted for the first time.  In her view, there was “no conscious disregard for Justice’s safety.”  In her motion for a new trial, she argued that what the evidence showed was not murder.

The judge, she argued in her motion, made two critical errors – first allowing the expert Dr. Joan Gerbasi to testify beyond the scope of her expertise, as well as bad jury instructions.

In her motion, she also argued “the district attorney has been guilty of prejudicial misconduct during the trial.”

“There is insufficient evidence to support the verdict of second degree murder rendered in this case,” Ms. Olson argued in her motion.  “Samantha Green was acutely intoxicated on methamphetamine when she entered the Ridge Cut Slough with her son, Justice Rees, on Monday, February 23, 2015.”

The evidence presented in trial was overwhelming as to “her consistent drug use in the days leading up to Justice’s death.”

Ms. Olson noted the testimony of Marilyn Swanson as to the condition of Ms. Green when she observed her on February 20.  She “testified that when Ms. Green came by her house the morning of Monday, February 23, 2015, to pick up one of the children for school, Ms. Green looked to be high and appeared to be in the ‘worst’ condition Marilyn had ever seen her. “

Ms. Olson writes, “Marilyn Swanson felt so strongly about her observations of Ms. Green’s condition on February 23, 2015, that, after she testified at trial the first time, she called the District Attorney’s Office to complain that the magnitude of Ms. Green’s condition was not properly emphasized.  The People acceded to her request to be recalled to the stand so that she could testify again and emphasize her original testimony as to how significantly affected by street drugs Ms. Green appeared to be.”

Dr. Matthew Soulier would testify that “when Ms. Green entered the slough on February 23, 2015, she was suffering from methamphetamine induced psychosis characterized by hallucinations and delusions that her baby was in danger and she needed to protect him.”

Dr. Joan Gerbasi, who examined Ms. Green and the relevant records gathered or produced by law enforcement, “testified that when Ms. Green entered the slough, Ms. Green was suffering from methamphetamine intoxication with perceptual disturbances.”

Her testimony was critical in that she testified “that she did not believe that Ms. Green entered the slough due to jealousy and clearly stated that she and DDA Couzens had disagreed on that point during their discussions prior to her testimony.  She opined that while jealousy was probably the original motivator for traveling to Knights Landing, it did not adequately explain why Ms. Green crossed the water with her baby.”

The defense argues, “The only reasonable explanation for Ms. Green’s actions in entering the slough is that she was acting in response to her methamphetamine intoxication.”  Here the defense notes that she crossed the canal water with her baby on a February day, traveling through bushes in bare feet “while purposefully avoiding the open spaces that are clearly evident in the aerial photos on record with the court.”

She noted that Green had many superficial injuries that she suffered as she fought through dense brush, “when she could have traveled a lot less precarious path.”

Ms. Olson argues, “It is against human nature to crawl through thick, thorny bushes to get to a destination when a much easier path is mere feet away, unless one is acting illogically and in response to powerful delusions while under the influence of drugs.”

But she also points to “Justice’s lack of the same superficial injuries,” which she argues “prove that he was protected by Ms. Green during this time, just as Ms. Green protected him as she crossed the slough water and held him as high as she could so he would not be submerged.”

“This conduct is all consistent with a delusion that she was fleeing with Justice, hiding from the world, to protect him from bodily harm,” Tracie Olson argues.  “This conduct is not consistent with the prosecution’s theory that Ms. Green was looking for Frank Rees because she believed he was cheating on her, or that she was hoping Frank Rees would somehow find her in the slough thereby proving his love and his commitment to his family.”

She adds, “First of all, no one in their right frame of mind would believe that Frank Rees was ever in the slough to begin with.  Likewise, no one who wanted to be found would hide in dense brush on the other side of a wide canal in an area that was, for all intents and purposes, inaccessible to everyone else on the planet.”

“She was in the slough because she was delusional.  Plain and simple,” the public defender writes.

Ms. Olson later notes that the prosecution relied mainly on circumstantial evidence showing that Ms. Green “possessed the necessary knowledge for a second degree murder conviction.”

However, she argues that the jury had the ability to draw more than one conclusion from this evidence, and they are instructed that if “one of the conclusions points to innocence, it was incumbent on the jury to accept the conclusion that points to innocence.”  She argues, “The jury did not follow this instruction. “

“Ms. Green became voluntarily intoxicated on methamphetamine to the point of legal unconsciousness.  She could not and did not make decisions with proper awareness of her actions.  Justice died as a result.  Ms. Green is guilty of involuntary manslaughter only,” she argues, asking that the court order a new trial or reduce the verdict to the lesser included offense of involuntary manslaughter.

Tracie Olson maintains that the court erred on instructing the jury “that it could only consider evidence of voluntary intoxication on the issues of unconsciousness and witness credibility.”

As Ms. Olson points out, that decision “(foreclosed) the jury from using this evidence to evaluate, among other things, the reasons Ms. Green entered or stayed in the slough.”  She argues, “The instruction was confusing and might have misled the jury into believing that it had to disregard any evidence of voluntary intoxication influencing Ms. Green’s decisions to enter or to stay in the slough, thus prejudicing Ms. Green.”

Ms. Tracie noted, “Over the defendant’s objection, the prosecution’s expert, Dr. Joan Gerbasi, was allowed to testify that jealousy was probably the original motivator for traveling to Knights Landing.”  This, she argued, was “outside the scope of Dr. Gerbasi’s role as an expert in this case,” not to mention “impermissible opinion on an ultimate issue.”

She argues, “Upon logically analyzing Dr. Gerbasi’s opinion regarding Ms. Green’s actions, it is clear that Dr. Gerbasi was merely relying on the evidence presented to her and reaching a conclusion that a juror of average intelligence could reach on his or her own. Ms. Gerbasi was not utilizing her training, experience, or studies in reaching her conclusion that jealousy was a motivator for any of Ms. Green’s actions, but was examining evidence in the same way as the trier of fact.”

In the end, the jury probably came to their verdict for a variety of reasons, including being misinstructed on the critical law, misreading the evidence, and of course the fundamental problem that the defense had throughout this case – the victim was an innocent and helpless baby and Ms. Green’s choice to choose drugs over caring for that baby played a critical role in the death.

As the prosecutor, Deputy DA Ryan Couzens, pointed out on Friday, Ms. Green was  well acquainted with meth – as she had experienced the use of the drug herself and her parents both struggled from drug addiction. “She knew about every single possible consequence of using methamphetamine and decided to go on a bender,” said Mr. Couzens.

In typical “Couzens fashion,” he would point out, “It is disgraceful that in this state we appear to treat plastic bags as a greater evil than methamphetamine.”

Never mind that a plastic bag ban carries only civil penalties while meth is still a criminal violation, whether misdemeanor or felony.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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54 Comments

  1. Tia Will

    I do not believe that the jurors did get this verdict right. And I do not believe that they can be faulted in anyway for their error in judgement. I believe that this erroneous judgement hinges at least in part on the way jurors are selected. Twice, I have been excused from serving on a jury essentially because I “knew too much” about the subject in question. For reasons that are beyond my ability to comprehend, in the name of selecting jurors who will not be biased, the least knowledgeable and least likely to be able to discern nuances are selected. This can lead to the problem that I see in this case. The case is so highly emotional, that I believe that the jurors were unable to see beyond the horrific outcome and blinded to the existence of a reasonable doubt.

    There are two relevant reasonable doubt issues with this case. The first is the existence of meth induced psychosis which would seem a much more reasonable explanation for Ms. Greens irrational actions than is jealousy. The second is the existence of a condition known as post partum psychosis. I have seen both in my career.

    The first was a mother who in an attempt to save her son from a “demon” that only she could perceive, stabbed him to death. Did she kill him ?  Absolutely.  Did she intend to kill him ?  Absolutely not and everyone who was a witness in the ER  that night would have no doubt that she was “insane” at the time of her actions.

    The second was the mother of an infant of approximately the same age as baby Justice who believed she had been directed by Jesus to take him on a cross country road trip to “save” him. She was not on any drugs at the time. This was a pure case of post partum psychosis that I had missed. Not because I am a “bad doctor” or criminally negligent, but because I misinterpreted her situation as post partum depression and was acting accordingly. I was fortunate that when she and the baby did not arrive home as anticipated, her husband made the correct assessment and went after them.  Unfortunately, in the Green case, there was no supporting parental figure to help and care for the child.

    If you now have 12 jurors who have never seen such events, are they not more likely to act in an emotional and retributive fashion to this terrible act than they are to consider reasonable doubts about what might reasonably be alternative explanations for her actions ?  Might they not act on the basis of what they know and understand, rather than considering what even a very experienced doctor might miss ?

    Please note, I am not saying that any of this is what actually occurred. What I am saying is that I recognize that there is more than a little “reasonable doubt” here and that I do not believe that the jurors, who are unlikely to be able to connect with these possibilities emotionally due to lack of knowledge and exposure themselves, were able to discern these possibilities as real.

     

    1. hpierce

      Are you proposing we move to selection of juries favoring SME’s [subject matter experts]?  An intriguing thought… possibly a two edged sword.

      I’ve been called ~6 times for jury duty… empanelled once… suspect that the two attorneys in that case forgot to ask my occupation… engineer…

      1. Marina Kalugin

        I would disagree… with the SME way … if one follows the money one would understand why nada

        In MX one is guilty until one proves himself innocent…

        it is way cheaper and much more fair

        Most mexicans are way too busy working 6 – 7 days a week 24/7  to have time to falsely accuse anyone…

        The cops are much more honest than the ones my family and I have experiences in CA..

        They do not go after people.. their jobs are on the line if they mess with tourists ..

        If you do not commit crimes, you have nothing to fear.

        If you do, you better have a war chest to get ya off.

        The is no such thing as precedents and other such nonsense.   Just because some i@@@@@@ judge was bought off once, who cares?

        The laws are simple and clear and one does not need to “specialize” and spend days and years “researching case law”.

        I also had an interest in the law and have handled many types of cases which were simple by myself..   and always to the “desired” end result.

        If one is interested in real life and justice one actually will be a life long learner..

        The prosecution/defense system in the USA is very unfair.

        And there SHOULD be a law that if the prosecutor gets that the person is innocent, they should have the book thrown at them if they do NOT drop the charges.

        Same, if the defender knows his client is guilty the per should be called in..

        If the defender knows who the REAL perp is, then he should report that.

        Simple changes could mean many many attorneys out of work in the USA  and perhaps they could make amends by taking up organic farming…

        otherwise this kinda sh@@@@@@  will only go on..and get worse    her in the US of A..  and that no longer stands for America either…..

        AMERICA is anywhere on these continents outside of the united states…

         

         

        1. Biddlin

          Yes, the Mexican justice system is praised for its fairness worldwide. Your seditious and mendacious nonsense knows no nadir.

          “Simple changes could mean many many attorneys out of work in the USA  and perhaps they could make amends by taking up organic farming…”

          Thank you, Chairman Mao.

        2. quielo

          “Most mexicans are way too busy working 6 – 7 days a week 24/7  to have time to falsely accuse anyone”

          They do seem to make time to kill each other in large groups.

        3. Marina Kalugin

          [moderator]: edited

          The USA propaganda machine almost crashed the quiet fishing villages on the Sea of Cortez in Baja..   Outdoor Adventures had been taking groups to Bahia De Los Angeles from the 70s if not earlier.

          Not one single incident …..and not one problem ever..

          I have many friends who live in the area full time for many many decades…..and not a single crime against a person…..ever..

          But the USA put that on their “watch out” list and no more sea kayaking in the area that Jacque Cousteau called nature’s playground.

          Those of us who enjoy the clean water, excellent fish and other seafood, and no GMOS nor chemtrails, the sunshine and the sea air..  have this retort to those who say “but isn’t it dangerous? ”   we say  “not if you make it through CALIFORNIA, STOCKTON, LA.  ”

          That is TRUTH stop listening to lies…  follow the money….chorus?

           

        4. quielo

          Godwin has become famous by declaring that any discussion, if it lasts long enough, will result in a posting about Hitler or the Nazi’s. Quielo’s dictum is that any conversation, if it has enough unbalanced people, will result in a mention of “chemtrails”.

        5. Tia Will

          They do not go after people.. their jobs are on the line if they mess with tourists ..”

          Your choice of nouns is very telling. In the first clause, you use the word “people”. In the second clause, you use the word “tourists”. I have traveled in a number of countries where “tourists” are protected based on one of your favorite phrases, “follow the money”, in a “don’t bite the hand that feeds you ” strategy, where the regular inhabitants are fair game for shake downs and violence.  I suspect that what you see may very well not be the full story going on behind the scenes.

      2. Tia Will

        hpierce

        Are you proposing we move to selection of juries favoring SME’s [subject matter experts]?”

        I am not sure that I would go that far precisely because of the “two edged sword” aspect of that kind of change.. I think that a more fair system might be to impanel without specific identification of occupation. Maybe also with attorneys blinded to race, age, religious preference, gay vs straight. This would drastically change our process, but would also end the “gaming” by both sides to get a jury as predisposed to your own position as possible.

        1. hpierce

          Fair answer…

          I neither agree nor do I disagree with what you posted… but, the current system usually has the attorneys asking those types of questions… they may choose to recommend to dismiss those [SME’s, or other factors you mentioned] ‘for cause’, or use a ‘pre-emptory’ excuse…

          I definitely agree to ending the “gaming” thing…

           

        2. hpierce

          Got thinking… and being a bit flippant/silly… how can an attorney be “blinded” to race or age?  If you meant that should not be a factor, I agree…

          Don’t know of anyone who is not aware of race or apparent age… but neither should be a litmus test for jury selection…

  2. Marina Kalugin

    nada     they screwed up big time..

    and wtf was my ole pal Judge David?

    and why are the CPS criminals and the Docs with many initials behind their names and everyone who screwed up over the years… why are they walking around free after such life/death screwups…

    I pray that the appeal will expose all the records.. and the names, dates, times of all public and other licensed officials and employees who did not do their jobs since the moment Samantha first got on their radar.

    Those folks are the real criminals in this case…

    cya folks…

    PS>   Happy Birthday David  G.    🙂

  3. Marina Kalugin

    yep.. Tia ole pal.   you may have taken some of the same classes I did over the years..

    there was soooooo much reasonable doubt.. .. but the whole system is broken..  wtf can take than many months off to be on such a trial?

    only those without much of an education and/or retirees and/or someone who has no work and so on..

    the Yolo County courthouse has a list of UCD Faculty and staff… if you have any initials behind your name, you are typically sent away without a comment…..only a handful of our faculty were ever chosen and once chosen they got picked over and over again…

    ya see depending on the crime, the prosecutors and the defense will chose who they best feel can be manipulated

    sometimes they chose incorrectly ..especially when it already took way too many days and there are only a couple of folks left..

    like with my son  🙂  after his personal experiences and his very honest statements they chose him anyway..

    it was 11/1 as he could never believe the cops ever again..

    they had written too many false reports in Woodland and Davis on too many family and friends, so why would he believe what they wrote?  nada

    cya guys…..

    1. Alan Miller

      I think I was on that jury.  It was 10-2 with me in the “2” until I was absolutely convinced by the other jurors of the evidence.  I thought the other guy would come around too, until he declared, “unless I’m there to see it myself, I will never believe what the police say”.  The judge was beside himself and didn’t want to believe that we were hung, but we convinced him there was no hope.

      1. Marina Kalugin

        ha ha Alan.. the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree   too funny..  I was called a few weeks later…still had my ex’s last name..  and I had a five inch thick portfolio with me as to why I needed an excuse…  but I was joking with Nick about if they see my name they will excuse me  immediately …

        My son was a victim of FALSE police reports by the Woodland PD in 2004..  so there ya have it..

        it was a drunk driving or something case..

        truth … for those who cannot believe what I share or live through.. good night..

         

        1. Marina Kalugin

          I mean the case my son was chosen for last year…… not what he was falsely accused of… my son doesn’t drink..

          and he told me the story later but hadn’t told me that.

          After being a witness to too many setups.. I started telling my sons that unless I saw it with my own eyes, I would vote to acquit…and even if I did see it.. I would have to be 1000% sure there was not an extenuating circumstance..  in my mind …nothing less would be adequate to meet the “reasonable doubt” litmus test…

           

           

           

        2. Marina Kalugin

          jee Q. … you musta misconstrued what I wrote AGAIN. .. it is not even likely posted any more cept MR> B’s responses are likely still standing…..   back in the day  when the town had around 13K residents we all loved Mr Bs..  I am sure not any relation to this one..   gotta run  and have fun.. but I find it fascinating when I am on here posting even a little my research gate profile views skyrocket.. even if no on here is expected to get a clue…some find what I say provocative or worth checking on …

          I have no agenda really but to open people’s eyes and to get them to observe and see.. look and listen and follow the money.. and sometimes real activists enjoy a little fun and tweaking….most on here like to dish it out and cannot take it.. like a playground..

          PS Q this was related to being on a jury ……and judging others.. of course that point was missed? who knows

    1. hpierce

      One generally has to admit guilt, be genuinely sorry/repentant to reasonably seek “mercy”… have not seen those precursors evident…

      Clearly, to me, Justice was not shown mercy… at all. A horrible way to die…

      1. Marina Kalugin

        but hp.. if someone is a meth addict and somehow the baby died… and so on..  how would the person even be aware that THEY are responsible..  even if they were.. would they KNOW it or be able to admit it?

        mothers are innately wired to love their offspring…at least human animals…

        if one admits they killed their own baby, wouldn’t that in itself be like PTSD?

        AND the baby had heart problems… and so on.. she may have been guilty of being a meth addict, poor choices and other stupidity…. but premeditated murder? where is the f proof?

  4. Marina Kalugin

    and guess what…   if she was in MX.   this woulda never happened..    ask me why?   or I know most of ya don’t care.

    perhaps Tia can answer this one…

  5. Marina Kalugin

    this young woman was failed by many who read and participate here. ..  from day one

    and until and unless those on here start paying attention to real research which one will not find on the AMA rags and so on… these types of travesties will only increase..

     

  6. Marina Kalugin

    PS.   B& Q.. …. please present your evidence … that more are killed in MX than in even Stockton…

    my turn to request YOUR statistics…

    be sure to listen to others than the media in this area…

    anyone know how many murders this year alone in Stockton?   or Bryte?

    those in law enforcement like B..  you must know this correct?

    And then you can look up how many murders in PV ……an area around the same population as Stockton..   class?

    1. Biddlin

      Marina, please leave and stay out of my country for which you have so little appreciation and live where you are happier, if not appreciated.  That’s right. I have a birthright to US citizenship. I have criticized almost every president in my lifetime, including Mr. Obama, I have criticized stupid laws and military actions, but never have I criticized my country. When you do so, as you do almost every time you post, you insult me and everyone who loves the USA.

      [moderator] edited. Please keep your criticisms civil.

    2. Biddlin

      After some checking it would appear that Stockton and Puerto Vallarta have similar murder rates. In 2011, the last year good stats from PV are available, PV had 56 murders and Stockton with a modestly higher population, had 58.

      Mexico’s secretary of Interior, Francisco Blake Mora, said there currently are 12 violent homicides registered for every 100,000 Mexican residents, as reported in the Nov. 10  El Universal, a Spanish-language newspaper in Mexico.

      In other words, about 1 in every 8,300 residents is violently murdered in Mexico.

      The USA has 5 murders per 100,000.

      That means that there was 1 murder per 20,000 U.S. inhabitants. When compared to Mexico’s current rate of 1 murder per 8,300 Mexican residents, an individual runs a much greater risk of being violently murdered in Mexico than in the United States.

      Sources: Mexico’s Secretary of the Interior and The FBI.

      1. Marina Kalugin

        nice work Mr. B…..now how many of those “murders” in PV were drug war related…and how about in Stockton.

        PS what is the violent homicides per capita in stockton?

        and compare that to the numbers you cited for US wide?

        then you can include many other urban areas of CA.. that includes Oak Park and Oakland  and places like COMPTON in LA

        then we will see the area of CA compared to BAJA for example and see what you gotta say about THAT.

        MOST murders in MX are due to the USA created DRUG WAR….. and the main locations are CuiDAD Juarez..and TJ and other border towns.

        My stepson who did 2 tours in Iraq and is now a NJ State Trooper invited hubby and me to visit him in El Paso…  the military is not allowed to enjoy that town across the border… but I walked the streets with hubby 2..

        the closer to the border the more shot up and beat up the streets… we walked across and walked for miles… nada a single problem… we enjoyed one of the cheapest and flavorful fish meals and we shopped and walked back…

        Very few americans besides us… and even though the military are forbidden, or at least the ones on training, most of the americans we encountered were USA breaking the rules…of course to snitch on a fellow army enlistee one would have to admit they were also there..

        similar to how cops get away with murder in this country…

         

         

        1. Biddlin

          How about you admit you are full of it? Mexico has more than twice the per capita murder rate of the USA. Mexican courts are notoriously corrupt and the standard of living poor, in comparison to ours.

          Facts, not damnable sedition.

  7. Alan Miller

    This case is an interesting moral dilemma.  I could be swayed by the defense argument.  Yet I believe a drunk driver is responsible for their actions, even if unable to decide coherently while drink, because they should know in advance that drinking could lead to drinking and driving could lead to death.  To accept the defense argument would be to say if a person is an alcoholic they could only be charged with manslaughter, not murder, in a vehicle death.  Quite a quandary.

  8. Misanthrop

    “Most mexicans are way too busy working 6 – 7 days a week 24/7  to have time to falsely accuse anyone”
    “They do seem to make time to kill each other in large groups.”

    So much racism so little moderation.
     
    [moderator] Yes, so, since you took the time to post this, how about next time instead of putting it off on the moderator, maybe you could just reply to the person with something like “that seems like an unfounded, sweeping generalization.”

    1. Barack Palin

      We have Godwin’s Law, Quielo’s Dictum and now I want to introduce BarackPalin’s Principle.

      Every conversation on the Vanguard about any topic will result in claims of racism.

    2. Biddlin

      [moderator] …maybe you could just reply to the person with something like ‘that seems like an unfounded, sweeping generalization.'”

      Only if you want to get a response from the first offender.

      ” these types of travesties will only increase..”

    3. quielo

      “Most mexicans are way too busy working 6 – 7 days a week 24/7  to have time to falsely accuse anyone”
      “They do seem to make time to kill each other in large groups.”
      So much racism so little moderation.
      Which statement do you find to be “racist”, setting aside the debate about whether Mexican is a “race”? The opinion about their work habits or the proven fact about mass homicides in Mexico?

      BTW is “American” a race?

      1. hpierce

        Is “American” a ‘race’? In ethnic terms, no… it is a choice or a ‘birthright’… except to some idiots… but I dismiss those who think American = race.

        Much inter-marriage, particularly after WWII…

        The current president is the product of inter-racial marriage… some idiots have said he is not “American”…

  9. hpierce

    There is another problem with the narrative presented… “not guilty” is not the same as “innocence”… the former referring to ‘the State’ not proving guilt… the latter implies ‘exoneration’… that the person did nothing wrong… will let attorneys weigh in if I am incorrect…

    No way that Ms Green is “innocent”… whether the charges she was convicted on are appropriate, I leave to others… but she is not “innocent”, as the word is generally used.   Justice was an innocent child…  yet, got the ‘death penalty’, due to the actions/inactions of Ms Green…

    Yeah, Frankly, am siding with Justice being able to claim to be a ‘victim’ … deal with it…

    1. David Greenwald

      The argument by Ms. Olson was that the crime that Ms. Green committed was involuntary manslaughter rather than murder-2, not that she didn’t commit a crime.

      1. hpierce

        Understood… yet, you quoted, by the defense…

        if “one of the conclusions points to innocence, it was incumbent on the jury to accept the conclusion that points to innocence.” 

        In fairness, you quoted…

        Ms. Green is guilty of involuntary manslaughter only

        So, my statement stands… the only innocent one was Justice (ironic?).

        Did the defense seek a plea bargain for the lesser charge?  You may have covered it, but may have missed it… if not, cannot see a reason for a re-trial.   Except possibly for incompetent counsel…

         

          1. David Greenwald

            Her request was both for a retrial and the judge to reduce the charges – both rarely done, but within his purview.

  10. Tia Will

    hpierce

    Got thinking… and being a bit flippant/silly… how can an attorney be “blinded” to race or age?  If you meant that should not be a factor, I agree…

    Thanks for the smile. I was actually thinking a little further outside the box. There are two ways that I am aware of that the jury selection could be “blinded” to race, age and gender.

    1. The selection could occur with the potential juror shielded from the lawyers in much the same way as some orchestras now do their selection. A little technology might be required for voice masking, but that should not be prohibitive.

    2. The actual jury selection could be done by a neutral third party rather than by the competing attorneys, also blinded to occupation and the other factors noted,  which should completely eliminate the “gaming” of the jury.

    1. hpierce

      Playing this out a bit… your point 2 bears more scrutiny, but might be a good concept… but who chooses the third party? [honest and open question… who does not have biases? For whatever reason…]

      “Competing attorneys” is a troublesome concept, as if that is how both prosecutors and defense attorneys view their role, to “compete”, with the accused and the public as ‘pawns’, we are in deep fecal matter. Not close enough to legal practice to opine.

      As to your first point… and taking the ‘competing attorneys’ out of the equation for the moment, I actually, respectfully, disagree… from sitting in ‘the pool’, and watching and being a part of the jury vetting process [being ‘vetted’ and/or watching others being vetted], whoever does the vetting does need to see “body english”… it can be a good clue if someone is appropriate or inappropriate as a ‘fair juror’…

      But the jury selection process does bear more scrutiny/thought.

      Good exchange of thoughts…

       

  11. Biddlin

    “This is just not on topic.”

    Then enforce the rules equally. I report the off-topic  comments and as a favorite of yours would post “nada.”  You allow all manner of libel against some posters, but allow exemptions for certain others.

    1. Barack Palin

      Debating Moderator Practices. An article’s comments section won’t be used to debate these guidelines or a decision of the Content Moderator. Concern about the removal of a comment should be addressed in an email to the Content Moderator. The moderator will keep confidential all email exchanges related to disagreements, and the identities of those raising concerns.

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