Monday, July 02, 2007

A dozen of one's peers

Two related items on the same topic:

One thing I've learned more about during this summer is with juries in our legal system. I am currently on a litigation rotation, and the trial I am on recently finished the jury selection phase. I personally think juries are great in principle, as they serve as great equalizers on our legal system, that despite all the efforts of evil legal enterprises around the country, defendants are dependent on a dozen of their peers. And in large metropolitan cities, a jury of their peers likely would consist of the poor and brown. And at least the trial I am on, the litigation guys are deathly afraid of the jury, and used all sorts of frivolous challenges to disqualify people that are viewed of as too defense-unfriendly. There's a unique sense of irony that the biggest baddest defense lawyers charging $500+/hr are scared to death and feel powerless when they have to defend a case in front of a largely poor and brown jury.

The second point is what happened today. Scooter Libby's appeal with the DC Court of Appeals was denied. And a mere hours later, his 30-month sentence in federal prison was commuted by Dubya. According to W: "I respect the jury's verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive." So, the lesson of the day is that juries generally are powerful and strike fear in defense lawyers. Unless the client knows the president.


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