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9 Jurors Good Enough For Death?

by C1ay / February 10, 2007 12:23 PM PST

Bill would ease jury rules on death penalty

They all agreed Wesley Harris committed double murder in a horrific fashion.

But they couldn't agree on his sentence.

With the jury hopelessly deadlocked at 10-2, a Gwinnett County judge had no choice but to sentence Harris to a life without parole.

For the 10 jurors, this was an outrage, a miscarriage of justice. If anyone deserved the death penalty, they said, it was Harris....

would not change the rules for deciding guilt: That would still require unanimous agreement.

If approved, the bill would make Georgia one of five states that allow judges to impose a death penalty without a unanimous jury vote, according to Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit organization that analyzes death penalty issues.

More at the AJC...

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Thoughts?

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The law is the law
by grimgraphix / February 10, 2007 2:53 PM PST

I am no fan of changing the way sentence of penalty is handed out to criminals just to meet the sensibilities of a particular prosecutor, politician, or political party.

Is the situation palatable? As the way I read it... no. However, overturning the jury process just because of one or two trials where the bulk of a jury thinks... "the verdict they felt was stolen from them"... defeats the spirit of the law and the long tradition of trial by jury.

Inj a for instance... why don't we just change California law and try OJ Simpson over and over until we find him guilty? Because the law should be considered both consistent and impartial in its application. Simply put, changing the law to address the complaints of a small group puts everyone of us in danger. There has been a demand for strict adherence to constitutional law in the US for the past 2 or 3 decades. That same demand for strict adherence to constitutional precedence should trickle down through all levels of society without the hypocrisy of calling for exceptions when the results of our criminal law system don't match what we think is fair.

Should the guy be taken out and shot on the side of the road where he killed the woman and her daughter? I think that would be fair! Should the trial and verdict by jury system be changed to meet my sensibilities in this case? Of course not.

grim

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adherence to the law is usually
by jonah jones / February 10, 2007 10:47 PM PST
In reply to: The law is the law

superceded by "the man with the best lawyer wins"

jonah "would vote for 'Hanging' Judge Jeffries" jones

.,

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Yeah, and the money to hire
by John Robie / February 11, 2007 12:10 AM PST

that lawyer if not pro bono.
I say change the law to retry OJ and Baretta out of State, say like in Texas, and find a relative of old Judge Roy Bean who has graduated law school (or any kind of school), appointing him special prosecutor or Judge.

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"Money buys justice" & "Hang em high"...
by grimgraphix / February 11, 2007 1:37 AM PST

... are both emotion driven arguments. There is some truth to the former and some appeal to the later but neither perhaps have a bearing on this case.

In this particular incident and the attributed desire to change legislation is the idea that if you don't like the cards as they were dealt... then next time you claim the right to stack the deck. After all, that is what this legislation is all about isn't it? These people didn't like the verdict so they choose to rig the law to allow for a verdict to be overturned and made more to their liking.

Look, I'm not saying the guy got what was coming, but if you read the article... a case is made for a conspiracy almost, of anti death penalty advocates acting as sleepers in a jury... as if their only raison d'

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That's kind of my point
by C1ay / February 11, 2007 12:10 PM PST
One thing I see no mention of here. Many people rant and rave about the undue power of judges in our legal system. Of course those folks are actually talking about "activist" judges who mandate decisions that influence social issues, but can you reconcile the call to take away or restrain judicial powers on the one hand... with the call to give judges the power to kill people despite the findings of a jury?

If we as a society are going to legally execute people I'd rather have more participants in the process, not fewer...
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Looks like that is up to the states to decide.
by Angeline Booher / February 11, 2007 2:48 AM PST

In this particular case, maybe the jurors were not vetted as to their stand on the death penalty. Or they lied in order to be on the jury. Or they found they could not sentence a person to death after looking them in the eye. I surely don't know why they could not agree.

I have mixed feelings about jurors being in the penalty phase. But, again, that is for the states to decide .

Angeline
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