Friday, September 03, 2004

Can Blakely come out to play?

Upon further review: if ¾ of criminal juries are ready to convict a crim defendant upon commencement of a crim trial, perhaps the notion that we should trust juries is somewhat stilted, and that makes the decision in Blakely even more important. Does this correspond to civil juries and civil trial verdicts, however? To go out on a stereotypical limb, let’s say that conservatives/Republicans don’t like the Blakely decision (they're "tough on crime" after all, right Kenny Boy?), and want uphold the Sentencing Guidelines, placing the sentencing fact finding out of the hands of the jury and in the hands of the judge. (of course, this disregards the fact that Nino Scalia wrote the majority opinion, and that Senator Kennedy, no neocon, he, and Senator Feinstein are signatories to the amicus brief just filed in the Booker and Fanfan appeal. But I digress…). And let’s further assume that liberals/Democrats are in favor of the Blakely sentencing repercussions e.g. the guidelines are unconstitutional because they don’t allow one to have a trial by jury (again, those Dems are a bunch o' wusses on crime, right Rush?). Such a notion, then, would be squarely in line with the current “tort reform” charade being pushed by the Republicans and George W. Bush. The underlying truth to “tort reform” is one of distrust of juries to be able to dispense fair decisions and corresponding awards. Removing the handy-dandy fact that an attack on “trial lawyers” (isn’t that simply anyone who handles cases in a courtroom and thus including lawyers on the defense side too, as well as prosecutors?) doubles as a not-so-subtle attack on Johns Kerry and Edwards, one is still left with the distinct and troubling notion that caps on jury awards effectively say “we don’t give a shit what the details of a case are…we don’t trust the jury to do the right thing, so we’ll remove the discretion from them preemptively.”

It makes me chuckle, then, to think of Shrub’s line from the 2000 debates: “My opponent trusts the government; I trust the people!” Right, George. And I trust you too, because you’ve been so forthcoming with the truth about everything from your TANG service to the reasons for your war hard-on to those lost years in the 1970’s when you were blowing coke up your nose.

The question that still remains, however, is the empirical one at the start of this entry: does the ¾ figure apply to civil juries as well as criminal juries; if juries are ¾ predisposed to find for the plaintiff, that might be somewhat persuasive evidence that tort caps may be needed, but for now, I’m not buyin’.

1 Comments:

At 2:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was anyone else scared shitless that the phrase "No one will stop us" or "Nothing can stand in [My] our way" was used repeatedly throughout the Bush speach?! If no one can stand in our way, what will stop us from taking out all of those evil bastards (sarcasm) but seriously, if God is on Bush's side...you either agree with God or are a "heathen"...the choice is yours to make. Iran continues to rear its head up in the tickers everyday, and I can't help but think that they are next. After all, "No one will stand in our way"..."we are making the world (or only the U.S.) a safer place." It's Ok if the rest of the world is one big cluster fuck of death, right?!

 

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