As I was writing this post
on the defendant who cold-cocked one of his jurors and whose case was mistried, I was thinking that if more people read this blog, my post would pull an indignant comment or two. It did
, from Anonymous, who commented on two posts in a row.
(Anonymous' comments are in red
Anonymous had two beefs with the outcome of Richard Glawson's first trial
: First, that the mistrial appeared to reward Glawson for his bad behavior. Second, that the mistrial wasted taxpayer's money."I guess the esteemed "judges" weren't in law school when they taught that a person was not entitled to profit from his own wrong."
The judges probably were in law school when they were taught that there was a tree called "he who comes into equity must come with clean hands
." (which is the origin of the maxim that anonymous stated in the negative) But they also learned that there is another tree called "a person is entitled to be tried on the facts of the crime of which he's accused, not on his past" and another tree called "a person is entitled to be tried on the facts of the crime of which he's accused, not on facts not having to do with the facts at trial" (those tree's nicknames are 404
b and 403
More importantly, the judges also learned about a forest
called "due process
" and another forest
called "impartial jury
Glawson was on trial for shooting a cop, carjacking, etc. He was not
on trial for battering that juror; if he was, that would have been proper and relevant evidence, and the jurors from the first case would be witnesses
, not jurors.
"It never ceases to amaze me how liberal bleeding hearts always feel sorry for criminals
Actually, when I first read the article, my heart
said, "serves that little sh>> right;" then my brain took over and realized that even dicks are entitled to a fair trial. Its also interesting to note that the "no profit from wrongdoing /clean hands" maxim is one of the maxims of equity
. Equity, as in not the law, but an emotional response serving to excuse a decision not to uphold he law "It just ain't fair." (or in this case, "But look what he did!")
(Besides, if the "sleep in the bed you made" maxim really applied, Geo. Bush (FT leader), Condi Rice (a-gunner), Dick Cheney (SAW) and Don Rumsfeld (rifleman) would be patrolling Sadr City, winning hearts and minds.)
A criminal trial is not a societal determination of whether a defendant is a bad person. A criminal trial exists to determine whether a discrete bad act occurred. It is the jury's duty to determine whether that discrete act occurred, free from evidence other than the discrete bad act. Their decision must be free of things that would distract them from finding or not finding whether those discrete acts occurred. Distractions include the accused's record,(who, given his crime, likely has a record as long as my arm
) his behavior, his color, his national origin, etc.
(Of course there are exceptions, but they have yet to completely swallow the rule)
It is a human tendency to judge the whole person, not the act. That's partly why the 400 series
of the evidence code exists. And that's why I initially thought "Good - the little turd deserves it" That's also the reason why the mistrial was ordered; after intellectual reflection rather than emotional reaction, that was the only just result.
As for Efficiency, that's the Founding Fathers' problem. They're the ones who thought justice was more important than money. I agree. Our system is inefficient, and the only way to really make it more efficient is to make it less fair. (Remember when habeas
review actually meant something?) I can think of a lot of things that are a lot more wasteful of my tax dollars than our criminal justice system. A standing army is a hell of a lot more wasteful and inefficient; but I'm not ready to give that up, either.
As for "tell that to the taxpayer who's money was wasted by a criminal
" - he's not a criminal. He won't be one unless he's found guilty of a crime. (Unless we make the justice system so efficient that we can determine guilt or innocence merely by reading about something in the paper or on the internet.) Under the law, an accusation does not make you a criminal; nor does an accusation make you less truthful. For anonymous and the court of public opinion, that may be (unforunately) so; but it's not supposed to be that way in a Court of Law, which is where Glawson was.
I have no doubt Glawson will be punished, but there'll be a time and place for it. Inside the trial for a different set of events is not the right place or time. The time to be punished for hitting the juror is not in his other trial, but after trial (or plea) on a charge for assaulting the juror. Remember the Red King
(verdict first! trial later!
) from Alice in Wonderland? He demanded that the jury consider the verdict immediately after the reading of the charges. It was satire then, and just as wrong in reality now.
I've gone on long enough, so I'll Godwin
myself here - I don't want a system where the Courts run on time
; I want Courts that listen, and I want Courts whose bottom line is justice, not money. In reality, Courts end up in a balance between justice and inefficiency on one side and efficiency and injustice on the other. We sure as heck don't need any help overbalancing on the efficiency side. There are countries
where the justice system is a lot more "efficient
," but I wouldn't want to claim citizenship in any of them.