Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Weighing Guilt When the Man on Trial Did No Killing

Kareen Fahim, Weighing Guilt When the Man on Trial Did No Killing, N.Y. Times, Dec. 24, 2008.

In the glare of public scrutiny, juries in Brooklyn and the Bronx started deliberations on separate cases last week, considering the same shocking charge — the murder of a police officer.

That was not all they had to contend with: Prosecutors in both cases were asking for murder convictions for the defendants who, the authorities acknowledged, were not the men who fired the fatal shots.

In deciding whether to convict, the jurors in Brooklyn repeatedly asked for readings of the law, and explanations, in plain English, for what it meant to be an accessory to murder. In the Bronx, jurors sifted through all of the evidence over and over, to try and divine whether the defendant in their case knew that an acquaintance of his — the man who killed the officer — was carrying a gun.
One defendant was acquitted of felony murder but convicted of attempted burglary. A mistrial was declared in the other defendant's case.

The newspaper story quotes the comments of several jurors, explaining the questions they had during deliberations.

1 comment:

Aussie Pleader said...

Down under we recently had three convicted at trial of murder, which was actually committed by a fourth (the guy with the knife that no-one knew he had). In our jury system what goes on in the jury room is sacrosanctly secret. You could ask in re this case, how would you feel finding someone guilty by law but not in fact? Upheld on appeal. Reason, law wins every time. Hmmm.