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November 6, 2007 A Trial by Jury, Graham Burnett Trial
In what ways do ordinary people “contract In the habits and tastes” of judges? the What about the role of the jury is What “conscience of the community,” sometimes resisting the lure of the law? sometimes N.Y. v Monte Virginia Milcray N.Y.
A murder trial Defendant pleads self defense because Defendant be believed he was in danger of being raped raped Acquitted by a jury of 12 on February 19, Acquitted 2000 2000 What does the story of jury deliberations What tell us? tell Charges against Monte Milcray Charges
Could find Milcray guilty of murder in Could the second degree, or, failing that, of manslaughter (a lesser charge). manslaughter Distinction between these is intent. Manslaughter = no “intent” just Manslaughter recklessness that resulted in death. recklessness How is the jury to discern intent (the How state of the defendant’s mind)? state Self Defense Self
One may justifiably use force (with the intent to kill) if one reasonably believes one is in imminent danger of unlawful bodily harm, and the use of deadly force is necessary to avoid the danger. If actions that led to the death of the attacker were justified, the defendant must be found not guilty. Self defense. Legal elements Legal
First requirement is necessity.
– Ensures that people do not use deadly Ensures force until it is really necessary to do so. force Second requirement is imminence.
– Defendant must honestly and reasonably Defendant believe that the bodily injury from the attacker is about to happen. attacker Third requirement is proportionality.
– Amount of force must not be excessive. Reasonableness Reasonableness
The first three elements of self-defense The are not absolute requirements. are
– Qualified by the reasonableness Qualified requirement. requirement. – The court does not expect the defendant to The be correct about necessity, imminence, and proportionality, just that a reasonable person in his place would do the same thing. It turns on perceptions. thing. Law versus Justice Law
Compromise? Self-defense as opposed to second Self-defense degree murder or manslaughter degree Should bad actions go unpunished? Narrow consideration – if there is Narrow reasonable doubt that the defendant had not acted in self defense, we must acquit. not Adelle’s question Adelle’s
If the law isn’t just, how can it have any If force? force? Burnett’s answer Burnett’s
Law’s rigidity is there for a reason. The law should be the same for everyone Justice lies in equality of treatment Jury nullification Jury
The right of the jury to reach its verdict in a The criminal trial based on its conscience, even when the verdict is at odds with the law. law. A jjury may set aside the judge’s ury instructions in order to reach a verdict of acquittal as a matter of conscience. acquittal The defendant has the right to have the The jury so instructed. jury Burnett’s observation Burnett’s
Where jurors are concerned, the courts Where pay particular attention to ignorance. pay Keeping the jury in the dark is an Keeping important part of the adversarial process . . . About evidence deemed inadmissible About About procedural technicalities About sentencing Legal Stories in Trial by Jury Legal
Sincere folks can differ vehemently about Sincere the same events – there is rarely any easy way to figure out what actually happened. way ...
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- Summer '07
- Law, Graham Burnett, Jury nullification Jury, trial Defendant pleads