A cert petition to watch
Question: is a requirement of unanimous vote to convict part of the Sixth Amendment, and is it incorporated against the States? The petition for cert. is up for vote in the first conference of the Supremes, likely to be announced in a few days.
The Sixth Amendment on its face says nothing about the question, but as the petition notes, it's quite clear that that was the practice, and the understanding, at the framing period. The idea of decision by less than a majority was, I suspect, an innovation of overloaded courts. The issue puts a judicial decisionmaker in a bit of a dilemma. The Sixth calls for juries "in all criminal proceedings," but the practice has been to limit them to major criminal cases, based on framing-era practices. I can't easily see how that can be reconciled with allowing less than unanimous findings, based on the same practices.
1. Obama challenges the 2nd Amendment ... The Right To Bear Arms.
2. Obama challenges the 1st Amendment ... The right of Free Speech.
Obama pressures all media who accepts NRA advertising.
3. Obama wants a Civil National Security Force ... with the same budget as the Pentagon.
So, Obama does not want any opposition, so he stops Freedom of Speech.
Then, to make any opposition defenseless, he wants to take away our right to bear arms.
Next, he wants a Civil National Security force to put down any insurrection.
Sounds like the stepping stones to a leftist dictator taking over this country.
Posted by: PAUL REVERE at September 30, 2008 06:55 AM
Re: Paul Revere's comment.
Posted by: Alan A. at September 30, 2008 08:08 AM
Yeah, but completely off topic.
Posted by: BR at September 30, 2008 10:17 AM
Seems to me this is a bad idea. Requiring a unanimous verdict in today's society, with the makeup of a lot of today's juries will allow a lot of guilty scumbags to go free.
Too many people these days won't beleive a defendant is guilty unless a nun saw him do it and testifies, it's caught on video, DNA evidence proves it, and he admits it. They've gone beyond any "reasonable" doubt and have come up with an "any outlandish alternate explanation" standard.
Recent cases here in Richmond, VA bear that out. A guy who was so clearly guilty it was just stupid - he shot and killed the guy across the hall. Jury said not guilty because, after all, all the prosecution had was that the defendant and the victim had argued earlier that day; the victim had kicked the guy out for not paying rent; the defendant had been shot with an unusual type of handgun ammo (I can't remember now what it was - maybe 9 mm Makarov); the defendant had that same ammo in his room; the defendant had been drinking and passed out; and he had powder residue on his hands.
But nodoby saw him do it.
Requiring a unanimous jury makes it too easy to walk.
Posted by: Bill at September 30, 2008 02:45 PM
Yeah Bill, but requiring less makes it too easy to convict innocent people.
I am disappointed to hear or read any American thinks that is preferable.
Posted by: straightarrow at September 30, 2008 04:13 PM
I dunno Bill, without matching the bullet to the gun and the gun to the owner's hand with the powder residue, I could see why that would be reasonable doubt.
Sure he probably did it, but last I heard the chances of a wrongful conviction were between 8%-15%. Sounds like a little more police work would have turned the acquittal around.
Posted by: Jim D. at September 30, 2008 07:36 PM
Jim D. is exactly right. Too often cases are lost due to poor police work or poor prosecutors. I realize everyone is overworked, but the solution to overworked civil servants is not a reduced standard for convictions.
Posted by: Jim at October 1, 2008 03:16 AM
OTOH, I was on a jury that convicted 11-1 (10 required, I was the holdout) a woman of a petty drug offense based on nothing more than the forceful, convincing, and polished testimony of an undercover narc, basing his testimony that she was involved on a single observation of a female in the back seat of a dark car where he was in the front seat (for a total of less than 3 minutes) consumating a deal with the driver. Her arrest was more than 6 months later.
This is the case that I often cite where one of the jurors (the stereotypical little old housewife) made the comment that "the police wouldn't have arrested her if she hadn't done something". From my anecdote, the danger is unthinking trust in the police.
Posted by: bud at October 3, 2008 11:28 AM
Bill - Our system is set up to give the benefit of the doubt to the defendant.
Posted by: ParatrooperJJ at October 4, 2008 10:37 AM