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View Diary: Hot Coffee -- Most Important movie in years (updated) (112 comments)

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  •  The nastiest underlying assumption (29+ / 0-)
    If someone wins a big award like the one in the McDonald's case, then, by definition, it wasn't a frivolous lawsuit. The verdict was one considered by a jury who took their task seriously, after hearing the evidence. That's how the system is supposed to work, and it's this system that the corporations have worked so hard to undermine.
    Unfortunately, after 30 years of hard propaganda, the working assumption is that such verdicts are frivolous and – most repugnant of all – that jurors themselves are easily fooled, hence no such cases should be brought at all. It's not by accident that the reputation of the jury system is in tatters. Jurors are smeared as stupid or naive; every time an O.J. Simpson-type verdict is delivered the press is all over it, but there is little to no coverage of boring (but fair) outcomes. Despite countless procedural drama shows on TV, there is almost no in-depth examination (let alone celebration a la Twelve Angry Men) of the juror process.

    Everything now revolves around the premise that American citizens are passive blobs to be manipulated. CLE advocacy courses are offered to game the system with various techniques to keep jurors in the dark; anyone paying attention at voir dire can see how far the elimination of troublesome (aka responsible, intelligent) jurors can go.

    •  Excellent observation. (10+ / 0-)

      Irony in that Johnny Cochrane's firm does great plaintiff's work

      Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

      by FischFry on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 09:44:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  In the eighties (11+ / 0-)

      as a poor art student I got a three day job with a large law firm for being a mock juror candidate for a pending law suit they had coming up.  I was not told the specific's of the case  but but they sure figured out their strategy to find me ineligible. Punitive damages seemed to be bantered around a lot as I recall.  

    •  I'm not even allowed to sit on juries. (8+ / 0-)

      My brother is a corrections officer in the state prison system of the state in which we both live.

      Every time I've been called since he's had the job (20 years now), it comes up by the time I get to voir dire, and I get the boot.

      Apparently, it's some kind of rule -- not sure if it's written or unwritten -- that family members of CO's can't serve on juries.

      The first two times I was called, I was a full-time college student, and they used to automatically excuse you. But I think I've been called four other times, in various cities of the state; never chosen.

      If I ever get called again, I'm just going to ask them up front if that means I can't serve. I'd actually like to be on a jury -- I just hate all that sitting around crap before you ever get to voir dire.

      "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

      by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 12:25:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That shouldn't be a problem in most civil cases. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Or at least I've never heard of it being one in jurisdictions I've been in. (And they won't admit it up front.) But not that many civil cases get to trial these days, because courts are understaffed and backlogged, and criminal cases take priority. I went through many years of this (for a different "disqualifying" reason) but eventually got to serve. It's an interesting experience. I hope you make it some day.

    •  "anyone paying attention at voir dire..." (7+ / 0-)

      Exactly this. Voir dire is so stacked in the defendant's favor that, if you've got the deep pockets for a jury consultant (a la O.J.), you can win a trial before open arguments. They go out of their way to find stupid people with no critical thinking skills who will follow whatever conspiracy theory the defense spins and sabotage the deliberations.

      And even though the rules of voir dire favor the defense, poor defendants don't have the means to exploit them. So the rules only help the wealthy defendants (same as the rest of the court system).

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