Friday, September 3, 2010

Keep an open mind when on a jury

Hadley Jons of Warren was removed from jury duty because she declared in a Facebook post that the defendant was guilty before the trial was over.

This blog isn’t about what we should all know, but apparently some of us don’t know. Even if we never attended a government class in high school or college we should all have seen enough cop and lawyer shows to know what jurors should or shouldn’t do. Of all the things, don’t talk about what is going on till after the trial.

This post is about how the Macomb County Circuit Judge Diane Druzinski is punishing Hadley Jons. She has to write a five page essay on the 6th amendment. It would be easy enough to fine Hadley the $250 and remove her from the jury as the judge did. The Judge Druzinski would have rid herself of the trouble of seeing Hadley again and perhaps save the case. (The remaining jurors and the replacement found the accused guilty.) By making part of the punishment the writing of a five page essay, the judge insures herself and the community that Jons will have a deeper understanding of the crime she committed beyond just that she shouldn’t have done it. The essay should be posted on Facebook and made required reading for every juror in the future.

It is of course important that people living in a community know what is wrong. It is also important to understand why things are as they are. This will enable all of us to not only obey the letter of the law but also the spirit. In this situation, the foundation of any fair and equitable system of justice is a trial by jury. This removes the system of prosecution from the hands of law makers, police, lawyers and judges. It places it squarely in the hands of every day people that live in the community. When called on to be part of a jury, the people on trial are owed your open minded consideration. Even if you come to an opinion before the end of the trial, by allowing the evidence that is presented to challenge your opinion, you can feel certain of the correct decision.

The community then can have confidence in the justice system.


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