Pro-tip for jurors: don't write on Facebook about your intent to convict defendant


Judges need to specifically say ‘NO FACEBOOK. NO TWITTER.’ Otherwise people won’t even imagine it applies to those. Why, that’s like not breathing! I post my crimes there, why wouldn’t I post my jury stuff there?

Or maybe s/he did. Even if the Judge outright says NO FACEBOOK some people won’t think it applies in their case.

Am I the only one bothered by the specific comment he posted? As a juror, your job is never to “fuck up” the accused – sentencing is done by the judge, not the jury. Instead, jurors are supposed to differentiate between the innocent and guilty. We rely upon them to ensure that the ones being “fucked up” are actually the ones that have broken the law.

As far as the law is concerned, we cannot differentiate between the innocent and guilty until sentencing occurs. Until we decide whether the defendant is innocent or guilty, the rights of the innocent and guilty must be the same. And yet here, this juror’s thought process denies the accused their right to a fair trial – not on the basis of any evidence, but solely because of the gravity of the charges. In effect, the prosecution need only level a sufficiently grievous charge and he’ll assent to it. Imagine being an innocent standing before such a jury!

I post not because the comment isn’t reprehensible (it is), but because I fear it is common and symptomatic of a greater flaw in our instinctual social consciousness. In effect, the emotional urge to see justice done overrides the rational need to sentence only the guilty. And so, we see a tendency to conflate verdicts and sentencing.

If justice is to be done, this tendency must either be eradicated. I’m unconvinced that any pre-trial educational procedures would be sufficient to purge this sort of emotional response. A functioning educational system might help curb this tendency, but U.S. civics education is already woefully inadequate.

While I understand the important role of a jury of peers, I’m beginning to doubt whether the peer of contemporary America is actually qualified for the position.


sigh more evidence of why the jury-of-your-peers is merely the lesser evil of all the ways that we can find to try to decide whether some among us should spend years in a box made of rocks.

EDIT: or what @Corollax said…

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As you are only the second post it is hard to judge, yet, whether you are the only one. You may want to check back later.

Right. You can read that statement as “I’ve always wanted to fuck up some one up and feel like a hero for it too.” Now take that sentiment and apply various parameters for “a hero” to see the depths of depravity of which humans are capable.

Yeah, more like “I’ve always wanted to Fuck up [someone accused of being] a paedophile & now I’m within the law!”

I’m so very deeply suspicious of any attempt to define a class of people as so bad, it’s okay to throw away the rulebook when dealing with them…

That shit opens the floodgates to tyranny and systemic injustice, plain as day. Unfortunately, many people are fuckwits who can’t discern something so obvious.

England, this little bit of stupidity happened in England.

And the juror is totally in trouble /because/ he decided the defendant’s guild based on the charges instead of the evidence, in addition to using social media to talk about the case.

Sure, a better civics education could have probably helped the second juror found in contempt, but the first should have been weeded out at jury selection; no amount of pre-trial educational procedures can rein in deep-seated prejudice.

In their ruling, High Court judges Sir John Thomas and Mr Justice
Sweeney said they rejected as “untruthful” Davey’s contention that his
message was not meant seriously.

People say that kind of thing all the time - and it’s one of those not nice gut reaction reprehensibles completely inappropriate in the context of a law court.

But people can be persuaded to change their minds. It does actually happen when cases are made and when evidence is presented. An honest person with a prejudice can be persuaded. It’s only the doggedly determined bigot who refuses to be confused by facts.

So doesn’t the above judgement mean that Thomas and Sweeney are ascribing to the accused, with very little evidence, a personality immune to a change of mind after hearing evidence? Have they no faith in their own system?

So far as I’m aware, we don’t have ‘jury selection’ in the UK.

Which is a good thing. Jury selection is about stacking the deck.

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