Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I mean, jurors are human beings

The Arkansas Supreme Court is hearing an appeal for a death penalty case in which one juror was found to be using Twitter – from the jury box – and another was asleep. Neither were bounced from the state, a practice which the state of Arkansas is defending. The assistant attorney general says the first guy only tweeted a few times, and only about his feelings about the trial, not about its substance (he was caught doing it during the trial, was questioned by the judge, and went right back to doing it from the deliberation room).

The other juror had his eyes closed. Asked by the judge if he’d missed anything, he said, “Not really.” Which was good enough for the judge. And for the assistant attorney general, who points out that it was after all a long trial, and he seems to have heard “the vast majority of the evidence.” “I mean, jurors are human beings.”

Further, the judge told the jury that the state supreme court would automatically review any death sentence, suggesting that they didn’t have to worry their little heads too much about making a mistake. They used to pull that shit pretty regularly in Texas. I thought the Supreme Court had stomped on that practice, but I may recollect incorrectly.

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