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LegalGround >> Will prosecutor challenge me if i say jury nullifi


1/22/10 3:58 PM
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jbapk
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Shaz - It's not a straw man at all - jury nullification, unless there's a lesser included charge, results in an acquittal and the dismissal of the charges.

And I presume the purpose of mandatory minimums was to counteract judges who were a little too friendly with the defense bar and giving ridiculously light sentences for certain offenses.  In my jurisdiction, mandatory minimums are for certain violent felonies, and mandatory minimums are also statutory for those convicted of a second felony within 10 years.

-Shaz!


It's an exact example of a straw man.

J Flip said he didn't think trafficking was an appropriate punishment for the guy.

You turn that around into saying that J Flip claims "he shouldn't be punished at all."

I think most people would find it entirely reasonable he be punished for drug POSSESSION, not drug TRAFFICKING, which was J Flip's point. That the punishment is hugely disproportionate to the actual crime committed.

BTW, the guy shouldn't be punished for drug possession, he should be treated.
1/23/10 11:36 AM
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J Flip
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Shaz - Actually, the decision you cited explains how "trafficking" is used as a term of art, and under that particular statute does not have to involve selling or distributing drugs - just like some of the "making terroristic threats" statutes don't mean you have to be a terrorist to commit them.

Sure it's used as a term of art. Someone charged with "possession" doesn't have to actually physically possess, either. I am not quite sure how this is relevant, so I'll just move on.
According to the facts of that case, Paey wrote forged prescriptions to a number of pharmacies, culminating in his obtaining 700 oxycodone pills, 400 hydrocodone pills, and 320 diazepam pills - in just 34 days.

Like I said, I read this case a couple years ago so I didn't recall numbers and the time span. But the details are irrelevant to my point, which is, simply, that there are times when an individuals actions fit the elements of a crime, and that there exist situations where it is unjust to convict the individual of that crime. In these cases, jury nullification is an integral part of a complete system of justice.

I was using the case to illustrate it because I thought it was a good illustration, but imo none should have been necessary and if you disagree that this case represents a good candidate for jury nullification, we can move on to hyoptheticals or try to find other cases.
In all fairness, the mandatory sentence does seem harsh - but these are the risks you take when you break the law to such an extent - apparently the weight of the drugs was so high that it put his possession of them into the highest level possible.

Apparently it was. That doesn't that necessarily mean he should be punished to that extent. Again, maybe you just disagree with this, and if so we'll have to go to more fundamental notions of government if we want to continue discussing productively.
Are you suggesting that he shouldn't have been punished for this?

Not at all. Like you said, if there is a lesser included charge, then the defendant could be convicted of that. Also, I don't really care to dissect this case; it was just an example. But I _am_ saying that there are times when a defendant should not be punished for actions that fit the elements of a crime.
A nullifying jury would have acquitted him.

Or found him guilty of a lesser crime (assuming it was included in the jury charge) even though they believed he was technically guilty of the greater crime. Again, I think this needs to be a generalized argument rather than arguing about the particular case.
If the concern is the sentence, and not the criminalization of his conduct, no jury would be aware of the potential sentence anyway, so that wouldn't even factor into their considerations.

While that might be true in there case, there are times when it is apparent to the jury that one crime carries a much harsher punishment. Also, none of us have any idea of what the jury considered here.
In most circumstances (except in cases where the juries are involved in the sentencing), the trial jury is unaware of the potential sentence - as it should be - because the potential sentence has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the crime was committed.

This is a law school explanation of the process. Juries are aware of a lot of things, and in what I've observed and read, rarely understand their instructions. They take what they know and what they think is relevant. They might know trafficking = harsh punishment, possession = lesser punishment, know that the elements of trafficking were proved, and know that they don't consider the defendant's actions to be very serious violations of the law. The notion that juries follow the rules does not reflect reality.
As the trial of FACT, what's going to happen to the defendant after a guilty verdict is completely irrelevant to what happened when the crime was or wasn't committed.

We are getting off track. All I am saying that there are times when the crime the defendant is charged with a crime, and where the prosecutor has proven that the actions fit the elements of the crime, but that the conviction would be unjust. (If you don't agree with me here, then I think we have a much more fundamental disagreement about the nature of the process, government, etc.)

Since the only check against the power of the State in situations is jury nullification, I don't understand how you can say that it should not exist unless you deny that unjust conviction can possibly happen in the described situation.

This entire post is getting redundant now so I'll shut up.
1/23/10 11:43 AM
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J Flip
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wow that was a poorly organized post on my part.
1/23/10 1:50 PM
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J Flip
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lol. poorly written too.
1/28/10 12:21 PM
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Fake Pie
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 An example of prosecutorial discretion failing and jury nullification possibly being necessary:

12 and 13 year olds sexting= kiddie porn charges
(17) [368] by PatK
1/30/10 1:08 AM
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Shaz
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Fake Pie -  An example of prosecutorial discretion failing and jury nullification possibly being necessary:

12 and 13 year olds sexting= kiddie porn charges
(17) [368] by PatK
I see you failed to read the article discussed like the majority of the responders on that thread.

-Shaz!
 
2/4/10 8:15 AM
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Fake Pie
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Edited: 02/04/10 8:36 AM
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Shaz - 
Fake Pie -  An example of prosecutorial discretion failing and jury nullification possibly being necessary:

12 and 13 year olds sexting= kiddie porn charges
(17) [368] by PatK
I see you failed to read the article discussed like the majority of the responders on that thread.

-Shaz!
 


I was using it as an example. I don't think the juvenile charges were appropriate either, though I realize a jury won't likely be involved at that level (I honestly don't know much about juvenile court). I didn't literally mean that case, though that is my fault for not being clear. Just using the facts as an example. Kids in the same situation have been charged elsewhere as adults. That would be a time for jury nullification IMO as it is inappropriate (again, IMO) to charge the class of people a law is meant to protect with the very violation of that law.*

*And just to avoid any confusion on that point, I don't mean you don't ever charge a minor with kiddie porn charges if he makes legitimate kiddie porn. I mean you don't charge someone with victimizing themselves. You beat up yourself! Battery! You took pics of yourself! Kiddie porn! Etc... It is an error in drafting the law that is being compounded by irresponsible prosecutions. Jury nullification is a perfect bulwark against that sort of nonsense.

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