Author Topic: Day Four Thoughts, June 13, 2013  (Read 2663 times)

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Offline RickyJim

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Re: Day Four Thoughts, June 13, 2013
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2013, 09:25:26 AM »
I still don't understand how they can get from asking about the knowledge the PJ has about the case from media coverage to asking how they would vote if they had to do it now.  The discussion you quoted seems to me to be out of bounds  I assume they will eventually ask the PJs about their understanding of reasonable doubt.  If I judge by the web postings on this case, very few will say anything sensible on that matter.

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: Day Four Thoughts, June 13, 2013
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2013, 10:59:37 AM »
I still don't understand how they can get from asking about the knowledge the PJ has about the case from media coverage to asking how they would vote if they had to do it now.

As I understand it, the scope of the first phase of the voir dire is threefold.

1. Factually, what the candidate has heard and seen, from the media and from people they are in contact with.

2. What impressions, reactions, or opinions the candidate has formed or experienced as a result.

3. Whether the candidate can disregard, put aside, those things when deliberating on the verdict.

Does that help? Probably not.

Quote
I assume they will eventually ask the PJs about their understanding of reasonable doubt.  If I judge by the web postings on this case, very few will say anything sensible on that matter.

What's to say?

I think jury charges usually include an admonition to the effect that the word 'reasonable' is doing some work. 'Beyond reasonable doubt' does not mean beyond all possible or conceivable doubt. Beyond that, jurors are presumed to be reasonable people, who know reasonable when they see it. I think all the efforts to frame a legal definition of 'reasonable doubt' are just fancy talking around and around that point.

Offline RickyJim

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Re: Day Four Thoughts, June 13, 2013
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2013, 11:11:03 AM »
Without naming the sites, the vast plurality of the postings on them have the premise that Zimmerman must prove himself innocent beyond a reasonable doubt.  Do you think it will have to wait until the judge to give instructions for the jurors to get disabused of that notion?

Offline cboldt

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Re: Day Four Thoughts, June 13, 2013
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2013, 11:40:41 AM »
Without naming the sites, the vast plurality of the postings on them have the premise that Zimmerman must prove himself innocent beyond a reasonable doubt.  Do you think it will have to wait until the judge to give instructions for the jurors to get disabused of that notion?

They'll be disabused on their own time (if at all), but I can tell you from personal experience that they will hear "presumed innocent, burden is on the state to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt" so many times that it'll be burned into their brains.  That message usually comes from the court before opening argument, sometimes from the state, previewing that it will prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and the message is hammered hard by defense in opening argument.  Burden is on the state.  Prove.  Beyond a reasonable doubt.

It will come up again in closing argument, and it is an integral part of the written instructions.

Offline RickyJim

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Re: Day Four Thoughts, June 13, 2013
« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2013, 12:22:10 PM »
"presumed innocent" is too subtle for most people.  It goes in one ear and out the other.  They could latch onto better, "Your job is to decide whether or not it is reasonable that George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in self defense".   

Offline cboldt

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Re: Day Four Thoughts, June 13, 2013
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2013, 12:47:17 PM »
"presumed innocent" is too subtle for most people.  It goes in one ear and out the other.  They could latch onto better, "Your job is to decide whether or not it is reasonable that George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in self defense".

Even if "presumed" is too subtle, they will hear "innocent," "it is the state's burden to prove," followed by "beyond a reasonable doubt."  Many of them won't "get" the "reasonable" word either, at least not at first, and will process the legal standard as the state has to prove its case beyond a doubt.

I've been on several juries, and the "innocent until proven guilty" meme is powerful, and is heard from all of the important people in the courtroom, to the point of excess repetition.  To your original question, if the lawyers had to wait for the judge, the judge gets the first word, and she's going to make that point before the lawyers introduce themselves - then the lawyers will make that point.

 

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