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.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Is he Muslim?

We shouldn’t care if President Obama is a Christian, Muslim or any other religion. It doesn’t matter as long as his decisions are in the best interest of the country and of religious freedom. In the Constitution it states that no religious test should be given so the country can’t even make that part of the requirements for office.

President Obama’s religion continues to come to the top of the news stories. This latest reason is a survey taken recently of Americans asking, among other things, if they think the President is a Muslim. 20% of the average Americans believe he is and 31% of Republicans believe he is. High profile personalities have either said he is a Muslim or profess doubts about the President’s claims that he is a Christian. Many think that because his father was a Muslim that he must be also.

If he is a Muslim, no proof has ever been offered that can be cited from a reliable source. (Fox “News” doesn’t count). There are no hidden videos of him attending a mosque or pictures of him praying while facing east. Even if there were pictures of him reading the Qur’an it doesn’t mean he was Muslim. If it did, President Thomas Jefferson would also be Muslim. Jefferson openly admitted he read the Qur’an to further his education of religions.

President Obama has openly said that he is a Christian. He has repeatedly said that he believes in Jesus Christ. Until proven that the statements are not true, we should take him at his word.

The thing that all of us should be concerned about is our fear of Islam. In the early years of our country and even as late as the Kennedy administration, we feared Catholics. The popular belief was that the Pope was coming to America and would take over the government. Just as they did in England during the time of Queen Mary (Bloody Mary she was called) the Catholics would then purge Protestants from the government and establish just one religion in the country. During the election of Kennedy in 1960, it was rumored that the President had a secret agreement with the Pope to move the Vatican to the states.

Does all of that sound familiar? Urban legends now have it that President Obama will hasten the establishment of Sharia Law here in America. That Muslim Imams will take up residence in the White House and “guide” the president’s decisions. Any day now, we will all have to stop what we are doing and pray five times a day while facing east.

The courts of this country have stood firm in removing all religions from government. That is why we must continue to support rulings that keep government and religion separate. If we allow one religion to be part of the operation of government because it happens to be the most favored or majority religion at the time, then the community risks a change when another religion becomes more popular.

It shouldn’t matter to anyone what one man’s religion is, even if that one man happens to be the President.