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Old 03-14-2006, 06:21 PM   #1
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Should crimininal defense have limits?

Don't know any of you remember the photo that made national media a few years back--a sheet dangling from a prison window, the escape route of a prisoner accused of murdering several people. Five bodies were found buried on the property he lived at. (Another embarassing moment for Northeastern PA) Well his murder case is with the jury now and Hugo Selinski has become sort of a folk hero (he was accused of two of the murders, but all the victims were suspected drug dealers). The consensus is he'll be acquitted or the jury hung, even though everybody is pretty sure he did it. (The prosecution sounds like it is pretty inept--what with forensic experts contradicting each other and to be fair, a pretty circumstantial case).

This isn't really the point of the post--just our big trial of the year...

The question I wanted to put out there, is do you think all is fair in a criminal defense--with the understanding that a prosecutor has a lot of arsenal at his/her disposal? For example, how often do we hear conspiracy theories, fantastic drug cartel theories, etc.
Should the defense attorney be bound by anything (other than not suborning perjury) in his defense?

I tend to love some of the defenses the legal shows like Boston Legal, the Practice, etc. put on. While they are often farcical, I see a little bit of truth in the presentations (along with a little gratuitious political speechmaking). Do you want an attorney who makes sure you get a fair trial or one who makes sure you get acquitted? Do you want an Alan Shore to defend you?

My instincts have often been in favor of the defense, because I don't trust the prosecution, but I've found so many of the defenses over the top (okay, probably not in 95% of the criminal trials, which are probably pretty mundane affairs, but in the high profile cases).

And do you find yourself in a trial favoring the prosecution or defense in general? And do you think for the most part that either side seeks justice or just a win?

(I ramble. Sorry, the beginning of mad cow disease.)
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Old 03-14-2006, 06:30 PM   #2
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No. There should be no limits.

Let the judiciary sort through the circus, which is not limited to the defense. The U.S. government made a circus out of the Moussaoui trial here, and the judge is not too happy. But that's the job of the judge, not Congress.

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Old 03-14-2006, 06:40 PM   #3
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Re: Should crimininal defense have limits?

Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint
Do you want an Alan Shore to defend you?
Well doesn't everyone my dear?

I encourage all of you to read Alan's arguments, they are the stuff legends are made of. Of course it's all in my delivery. Check it out tonight, you will love it.
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Old 03-14-2006, 06:52 PM   #4
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Not to worry.
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Old 03-14-2006, 06:54 PM   #5
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So who's the better defense attorney--Alan Shore or Denny Crane?
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Old 03-14-2006, 07:23 PM   #6
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I don't think there should be limits to criminal defense. After all, you're supposed to be innocent until you're proven guilty. The pressure should be on the prosecution to prove guilt. This is not fun and games.
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Old 03-14-2006, 08:21 PM   #7
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To say there should be no limits ignores the problems in the current system.

In the current criminal justice system, all a defense attorney needs to do is create a seed of doubt in a juror's mind. That means the introduction of fabricated theories that have no basis in fact. For every high profile case that illustrates this point (think OJ), there are countless others.

Perhaps the issue could be addressed by "professional" juries. Currently, we do not seat the people best suited for evaluation of fact.
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Old 03-14-2006, 08:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
To say there should be no limits ignores the problems in the current system.

In the current criminal justice system, all a defense attorney needs to do is create a seed of doubt in a juror's mind. That means the introduction of fabricated theories that have no basis in fact. For every high profile case that illustrates this point (think OJ), there are countless others.

Perhaps the issue could be addressed by "professional" juries. Currently, we do not seat the people best suited for evaluation of fact.
It's not as if the prosecution presents unbiased facts. The prosecution exists to get a conviction, and any seeds of doubt that they might have encountered are going to be ignored in their presentation.

It's an imperfect system that we have, but it works better than the alternatives before it.

"Professional juries" will just get jaded and cynical after a while. And they won't bite the hand that pays their salary after a while, which means less of a chance of a successful defense.

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Old 03-14-2006, 08:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
It's not as if the prosecution presents unbiased facts. The prosecution exists to get a conviction, and any seeds of doubt that they might have encountered are going to be ignored in their presentation.
There are, however, limitation placed on what the prosecution can present (or withhold), which do not apply to the defense.

For example, if the prosecution finds evidence that could favor the defense, they must present it to the defense (or risk losing the case entirely).

Conversely, the defense can deny or hide evidence that would favor the prosecution.
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Old 03-14-2006, 08:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
"Professional juries" will just get jaded and cynical after a while. And they won't bite the hand that pays their salary after a while, which means less of a chance of a successful defense.
Grand Juries usually sit for one year.

I agree that individuals in the position for a much longer term may lose sight of their function.
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Old 03-14-2006, 08:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
There are, however, limitation placed on what the prosecution can present (or withhold), which do not apply to the defense.
That may be, but that would be by design. The burden was always supposed to be on the prosecution, not the defense; a side-effect of the anti-government attitudes of the Founding Fathers.

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Old 03-14-2006, 08:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Currently, we do not seat the people best suited for evaluation of fact.
Can you expand on this a bit? I mean, what would make for a person best suited for evaluation of fact? And with professional juries, it would be a job or career? Based on what?
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Old 03-14-2006, 09:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Angela Harlem
Can you expand on this a bit? I mean, what would make for a person best suited for evaluation of fact? And with professional juries, it would be a job or career? Based on what?
The basic premise of our judicial system is a trial by peers (instead of "the Crown" handing down judgment).

Theoretically, you would pull jurors from all aspects of life. However, you lose people who do not respond to jury notices, or who find an excuse for not serving. It is a job that most people would rather not do.

Let's just say I've heard more than one attorney refer to jury pools (the group of potential jurors) as the people not smart enough to get out of jury service.
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Old 03-14-2006, 09:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Let's just say I've heard more than one attorney refer to jury pools (the group of potential jurors) as the people not smart enough to get out of jury service.
I will say that this is a major problem in the American legal system, but in other countries, the daily pay received for jury duty is often substantially higher. Not lavish, but enough to make it seem worth your while. In America, however, it's generally so low that it feels like a waste of time. Maybe our government should think of this the next time it wants more tax cuts.

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Old 03-14-2006, 09:25 PM   #15
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Hell No! Defense Attorneys are SCUM!! They protect the innocent about 5% of the time. The rest of the time they get the guilty off.

I'm a Chicago Homicide Detective. All of their conspiracy theoricies are B.S. The sad fact is that you all believe in them.

"I'm a doo-gooder. Let's believe in it.' I'd bet my mother's life that O'J'. was guilty.

But let's blame it on a "racist" detective. Fuhrman said "nigger" sometime in his life so he is a racist. I blame the outcome of that trial on judge ito. He let it get out of hand.

The outcome came down to the fact that Detective Fuhrman said "nigger", not to the fact that there was inconclusive evidence to prove that O'J' killer his ex-wife.

Give me a fuc*ing break. Nigger! Kite! Honkey! Spic! Polack!

This is why I hate liberals. They don't think rationally. They think with emotion. "That poor Osama Bin Laden didn't wish the twin towers would fall" "He only wanted to make a staement"
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