Thursday, 6 June 2013

Justice or Injustice? What really happens in a jury room

FURTHER UPDATE: 

Florida judge frees George Zimmerman on $9,000 bond in domestic case

A central Florida judge freed George Zimmerman on $9,000 bond on Tuesday and forbade him from possessing weapons or ammunition on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence during a dispute with his girlfriend. Nov. 19, 2013

UPDATE: Zimmerman was acquitted this past week.  6/6/13
The ramifications of this trial will be deep and long. 
For example:

Hayward City Blues Fest, CA
Lester Chambers (FB page), appearing at the Hayward Russell City Blues Festival, was assaulted by a woman after dedicating a song, People Get Ready, to the deceased 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Dylan (Chambers) Here.... Lester was just assaulted on stage at The Russell City Hayward Blues Festival by a crazed woman after dad dedicated People Get Ready to Trayvon Martin. He is on the way to the hospital now
And more:
Zimmerman acquittal in Trayvon Martin death sparks protests, vandalism
"At the courthouse, Nelson said she would allow the jurors to set their own working hours. The panel worked through lunch on Saturday, returning only at about 6 p.m. to ask for the clarification on the manslaughter charge."
 
Justice or Injustice? What really happens in a jury room: indictment of the US Justice System
With the current *Zimmerman trial in the US, and the recently finished #Hutt trial, this book was a timely one, sent from a PR agency, as with most of my book reviews. This book tells of the authors time as juror on the case of The State of SC vs. Kimberly Renee Poole. Simply written, the first of Hardee's books, it illustrates the process of jury selection and the trial.

A true story, the author: J.L. Hardee, was a juror. If you have never sat on a jury, you really need to read this book. Whilst the US and the Canadian systems are similar, they are not exactly alike. Canadian jurors are not permitted to discuss deliberations. This being a US author, he lays it all out. With respect to juries, they all must deliberate, and come to a decision. Sequestered jurors do not have a great time.

It is an easy read, with very little in the way of descriptions it lacks any portrait of the setting, people, and is a bit stark in its simplicity. Hardee isn't an experienced author, and it tells. I've read many memoirs, and they all seem similar in that little is given to time, place, characterization.

It is also a compelling read, in that one can understand how things go in the direction that they do with peer pressure. I don't want to give away the book. It is a true story, but the ending, horrific.

The author's blog posts:
Justice or Injustice, by J. L. Hardee, ranked #38 in criminal law books, is being picked up by law schools across the US to show law students some insight into a jury’s verdict. The jury was hung 6-6 and how they came to a verdict will surprise you all.
Written by a young man with 15 years service, including work as a firefighter, paramedic, instructor and fire chief, it is an intriguing story of the process in which a US jury engages to determine guilt or innocence.


I was quite shocked to read some of Mr. Hardee's writings regarding the Zimmerman trial, in which he states,
"I haven’t seen one shred of evidence that shows Zimmerman as a racist. He has a neighbor, which is black, that supports him and says he isn’t a racist. His instructor, a black male, was called by the prosecutor today, and he supports Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense."
It worries me that Mr. Hardee, with experience in listening to trial evidence, while a trial is ongoing, receiving TV coverage, has already pronounced Zimmerman innocent and that he will be freed. Not all of the evidence has been introduced in court.

*Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012. Zimmerman told police that the teenager looked suspicious and that there had been several break-ins in the neighborhood. The two got into a physical altercation and Zimmerman said he was forced to draw his gun and kill Martin in self-defense.

#Hutt found guilty of first-degree murder - Ottawa - CBC News An Ottawa man accused of scalding his wife with boiling water and then leaving her to die in 2009 has been found guilty of first-degree murder.

What differentiates Canada from the United States is this:
  1. Pickton juror regrets taking part in trial - British Columbia Aug 9, 2010 - Jurors in Canada are allowed to talk to news media after a trial ends, but can never publicly discuss their deliberations with fellow jurors.

6 comments:

jlhardee said...

Thank you for your review and kind words for Justice or Injustice. As for the Zimmerman trial, I live in Florida and I have been following the trial and the evidence for some time. I have viewed the SPD police reports, that lists evidence, and their conclusion that there was no evidence to justify charges. The Feds took this case over under orders from President Obama.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

Fair enough, Mr. Hardee, but I'm not sure that "15 years in the fire service as a firefighter, paramedic, instructor, and chief" qualifies you to pass judgement and predetermine the outcome of the trial! Just sayin'! It made me very uncomfortable. That is the difference between the US and Canada, I suppose.

jlhardee said...

Mrs. Jilks, I don't know how long or how much you have followed the trial or the preceding events, but the police publicly released a report over a year ago with their findings, which said they didn't find any evidence which warranted any charges and that it was a justifiable homicide and self defense. This finding was based on some additional evidence which wasn't presented at trial, such as Trayvon Martin's criminal record, drug use, and fight history. There are videos of him participating in street fights that show the level of violence he was capable of. If those videos had been shown at trial, it would have been easier for you to understand why I feel and a lot others do, that this was a big waste of tax payer dollars taking this case to trial. As for passing judgment, it's an American thing for sure. I've never been to Canada, so I can't comment on how things are there, but here we feel the right and privilege to do so.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

You were right. 'Not guilty'.
I've been following the trial. It saddens me.

It's a sad day when a white man can chase a black teen, having been told to go home by police. Then shoots him dead with no consequences. Does that mean a gated community = a man's castle = 'self-defense'? I thought neighbourhood watch programs are meant to inform police, to let them do their jobs, by trained professionals who know how to handle guns.

"A 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman that officers were on the way and not to follow the allegedly suspicious person. But Zimmerman still got out of his car, later telling police he just wanted to get a definitive address to relay to authorities."

Does that mean a wannabe police officer (applied, not accepted to the force) can take justice in his own hands? Trayvon Martin was judged, determined guilty, and shot by a volunteer who was poor at self-defence, who called this young black kid 'an f***ing punk.' Where is the responsibility a volunteer has to hand over law enforcement to the police? He wasn't defending his home or his community, he was going after this kid.

If Zimmerman had gone home, police could have taken Trayvon Martin in, to safety, where he could have had consequences, some justice– to be assumed innocent until proven guilty.
That is my Canadian point of view, where we do not have the right to bear arms in order to shoot people down. Where the awful influx of handguns from the US has resulted in "about 75% of handguns and all automatic weapons used for violent crimes in Canada are either smuggled or stolen."

jlhardee said...

Mrs. Jilks, I respect your right to have an opinion, but I think your opinion is based on a distortion of the facts. For 1, Zimmerman is MEXICAN, not white. Big difference. His father appears a lil white, but he is also half Hispanic. He was raised in a Hispanic culture. As for him profiling Martin, I agree he did, and if you lived in the environment that we do, you may have also profiled him. Do a search of crimes in Florida, especially Jacksonville or Miami and you may understand why this takes place, whether it's right or wrong. I don't agree with Zimmerman's actions and never claimed to. I just know he didn't break Florida law and I don't agree with my tax dollars being wasted just to appease a small portion of the population, especially when it was done for mere appearances. If you also did a search for 'Stand Your Ground' homicides, you will see that there have been several that have died since Trayvon Martin and no charges filed. This law was created and meant to deter violent armed robberies which is a major issue here in Florida. It was also meant to deter violent assaults which is also an issue. I hope that they re-release the Trayvon Martin street fight videos so you can get a real glimpse of what George Zimmerman was up against. Martin was not the youthful child they made him out to be. He was 6'2 and 200 lbs and participated in street fights for fun. Watch some of the videos of this Black minister, who tells some of the truths about the incident. https://www.facebook.com/pages/ATLAHWorldwide/150345810898?ref=br_tf

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

It's Ms. Jilks, Mr. Hardee!
I'm glad you respect my right to my opinion, as I do yours. I wanted you to understand how our opinions go up here.
I understand Trayvon's background.
I understand the Stand Your Ground law.
I do not understand how someone could chase a kid down, shoot him, and claim he 'stood his ground'.
This was no violent armed robbery. I thought Trayvon was unarmed.
If you listen to the 6 (female) jurors, who are talking to the press, you'll hear that they were tied 3-3, at one point.
This has been an interesting conversation across borders and cultures!