Thursday, 21 February 2013

Twelve Good men and True?

Notes to a judge?

Dear your judgeship, can you anser a couple of points for us yeah only we can't find anything on Wiki`. Like how come that lady with the specs is sat in that big box every day? like does she have a vip pass or something cos she always gets the best seat and has it all to herself. And like is the pervert that got lost, like a pervert in porn, like, you know, bondage and stuff and where was Justice actually going before the pervert altered his course cos we can't work out how his course got messed up if he had like TomTom or a Google Maps app.   And Teagan wants to know if she can find that lady in the big box guilty because she looks like Mr. Bean and I know you said we had to consider the fax but there isn't even a photocopier in the jury room.

Thanx and stuff


sparkflash said...

Politics withstanding, in what other walk of life would you trust an important job to just anyone, without bothering to weed out any unqualified fuckwits?

Hogdayafternoon said...

Sparkflash: I always remember my first foray into the upper courts; Inner London Quarter Sessions, 1972. pre trial jury vetting. Barrister turns to me and says, `any jurer wearing a pinstripe suit and carrying a copy of the Daily Telegraph under his arm will have no chance and be on his way back to work before 10.30am`. He was right.

(and I think that `unqualified fuckwit` is actually a qualification these days).

MTG said...

That our CJS and police suffered simultaneous mishaps, is the reality.

Yet 'mishap' is such a gentle euphemism when damage extends to the pulverisation of both black boxes.

Blue Eyes said...


I was listening to the explanation on R4 this morning and chuckling to myself. I am lucky enough to have done jury service. I would recommend it to anyone.

But the chances are unless you live in some particularly prosperous rarefied part of the country there will be one person at least who doesn't really "get" what they are supposed to be doing.

We had one guy who didn't really understand why the defendant was on trial.

He handled stolen goods. Yeah but he just sold on a bike, why should he care that he got it cheap off some bloke that always offers him cheap bikes? Most people woulder done the same thing. Etc.

To not remember the judge in his intro doing the whole "you can only decide on the basis of what you see and hear in this court room" and "don't do your own research or listen to the media" thing beggars belief.

I would be tempted to stick them on for contempt.

Anonymous said...

There's no answer to this problem.If you had to sit a test before being selected then everyone would deliberately fail.
I did jury service before I joined the police and it was eye-opening.The law was changed a few years so police can now be called,I can't wait!

Hogdayafternoon said...

Blue: Yes, you are indeed lucky to have served. I have made my views known on trial by jury in the past. If I was in real trouble, I'd want a jury, especially if I was guilty.

Jaded: I too await my call. I will claim my expenses with pride.

MTG: It's very hard to bear when it's all we have.

Blue Eyes said...

The expenses are rubbish. (My employers thankfully stepped in to ensure I wasn't out of pocket.)

Hogs I know your views on trial by jury and mine are approximately identical. If we could come up with a better system we should embrace it. Like democracy, it's the worst system apart from all the others.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Blue. I'm all for that, but what do we do about Dave?

Blue Eyes said...

Well the flaw in democracy is that it requires lots of people to take part. If most people just let things slide we get chancers like Blair, Brown, Cameron, Clegg, Milibands.

TonyF said...

"and I think that `unqualified fuckwit` is actually a qualification these days"

A reference to our imperious 'leaders' and their, er, opposition?

So far haven't been on a jury. Have been an 'expert' witness though. Sort of.

Anonymous said...

I think in this case we may be unfairly accusing all of the jury of not grasping what it was they had to do. It seems that at least one or two of the jury understood what was going on but the other members either would not, or more likely could not, understand the proceedings so the foreman sent the note to the judge as a final resort.
Like any police officer of long service I have horror stories about juries but I always took the view that the person in the dock would invariably come again.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Retired. Agreed. I didn't think it was more than a couple of planks. But like you I've seen a few over the years where jurors had clearly peaked in the year before they left primary school.

allcoppedout said...

NVQ level 2 to be precise Hoggie.
Blue has juries and democracy about right. I think we should have the confidence to try harder though. I suspect all of us think the banksters should be facing juries and doing time for their frauds. Pistorius seems to have been tried at his bail hearing, involving some of the most boring news coverage ever. It seems a guy with a fortune stashed abroad, 3 bullets in a dead girlfriend and who fired off a gun under a table is neither a flight risk nor 'dangerous'.

Back to Blue's point - on reflection I thought such until about 10 years ago and now think our legal system and democracy are broken. I wouldn't change much but do think everyone needs to live knowing the will be up in front of their peers (including half and fuckwit jurors) if they get caught, rather than have to use their get out of facing court free lawyers. It might not be perfect but it is deterrent! Registering a company in Delaware is equivalent to buying indulgences in the dark ages. Comments on my comment can be sent to Allcopppedout (Cayman) Offshore via a secure server in Panama. I have a feeling that the daftest juror who thinks the guy is guilty because he uses offshore accounts is as likely to get it right as those of us who can follow the trail of hypothecated dead donkeys repoed.

Tadanori said...

My solution would be this:

1. You need to get an 'A' in a parenting exam (including 12 month practical with a sleepless robot baby) before being allowed to have children.

2. Anything the child/teenager does that breaks a law, the parents are to be treated as an adult co-defendants and punished accordingly.

3. Anything remotely like Eastenders ad nauseum is prohibited from production/transmission and made a criminal offence.

4. I'm all for preservation of local dialects but only the Queens English is acceptable outside the home unless outside England.

The list might go on for a bit but you get the idea...

Hogdayafternoon said...

I think an old pal has a good idea. Ducking stools and trial by combat!
Social control, as ACO intimated, requires a deterrent factor today more than ever. What we have is largely bullshit, and beyond that there is little else to impose fear of punishment, hence fear of being caught isn't even in the game plan. The majority consent to rules basically because they have a sense of right and wrong, but it sure is frustrating when you feel you are the only one playing to those rules.
Libs won't like this, but when I was deployed as an armed plod on a task and a suspect came into view, although we were intent on arrest rather than dispatch to a better place, my first thoughts were usually, `at what point does he have to get to before I have a good chance of getting off accurate shots` - everything else was a close second. Said suspect may have been a nice bloke on his way to buy a copy of The Guardian or flowers for his wife of equal status, but I couldn't help my thought processes - just saying.

Blue Eyes said...

ACO and Hogs are right. We invented these systems to stop the King from putting people he didn't like in the tower. It's not the same era. Even if convicted by a jury the punishment is usually bollocks. For most people who come on here a spell in prison would be awful but for most career crims it's just part of the cost of doing business. Like fare evaders they do the sums and realise that 83% of the time you won't get a knock on the door.

Hogs is right most people stick to the rules irrespective of the punishment, they are just civilised people trying to live their lives in peace and harmony. The problem is the 0.05% or whatever it is who use the system to screw everyone else over. This includes your corrupt politicians, bad bankers, etc. as well as the thieves, murderers and rapists who know how to trick the judges into think they are the victim not the perpetrator.

Maybe the judges should be selected from the population as a whole rather than from the elite of the legal profession? Maybe magistrates duty should be as compulsory as jury service? Maybe we should elect some pols who aren't human rights lawyers and public relations interns?


Hogdayafternoon said...

I like the concept Blue. Professional judges who have to consult with a 'peoples panel' to maintain a feel of the real pulse of the nation. When you live with your head above the clouds its always sunshine and blue skies. Judges and pols need to know when its pissing down in the streets and fields.

Anonymous said...

Having considered this over the weekend I don't think there is an easy answer. The jury system will, from time to time, deliver perverse verdicts. We just have to accept this and move on. Elected judges? A resounding no is the answer on my part. All you will get is a party hack who will do the bidding of his/her masters and play to the gallery and public opinion. A good thing some of you may think but what happens when you or one of your family are on the receiving end of rough justice. I actually want judges to be dispassionate when it comes to dispensing justice and free of outside influence. History tells us what happens when the judiciary are politicised. I also do not want a system like the one they have in some parts of the USA where a defendant can use a firm of 'jury consultants' to pack a jury to ensure a favourable result.
All I can say from my time when I 'ran' a Criminal Justice Unit and had regular meetings with the Resident Judge was that he down to earth and was concerned that justice was dispensed correctly and in the public interest. He would criticise the CPS for undercharging and the defence team for timewasting so in my opinion he was totally even handed and if anything was concerned that too many people escaped justice through procedural cock ups.
I don't have an answer for what is wrong. In true British fashion I suspect we will muddle along and hope something turns up.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Pax Brittania for Britons. I pity any poor Jewish defendant who finds he's got George Galloway MP sitting as a juror on his trial.

allcoppedout said...

They have measured perverse jury results (complex statistical approach) at about one in ten. The problem with our system is extensive and we need radical overhaul - including Blue's suggestion. The problem is compounded by the fact we don't design systems well and this leads us to prefer muddling through. The Soviets had the most comprehensive performance management anywhere and look what a disaster that was.

Blue Eyes said...

Indeed ACO! And having proved that "capitalism" was much better at weeding out poor performance than central planning was, the formerly capitalist countries adopted central planning wholesale and the formerly communist countries learned the correct lesson.

Totally bizarre.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Thank you Comrades, one and all, for your fine contributions to this post.

And now, here is tomorrow's news.........`At PMQ's tomorrow, Millicent Headband will call the PM an Etonian toffeenose and the PM will retort by calling Headband a swotty schoolgirl. Both will be correct`.

Justthisguy said...

Oh, don't get me started on the jury thing, and how the corruption of a once-noble institution proceeds apace.

Oh, did you know that "voir dire" is a Mediaeval French phrase which means "jury tampering"?

If I am ever called to serve on a jury, I will play it as dumb and stupid as I possibly can when the lawyers ask me questions, in the hope that I might be empanelled and maybe inject a bit of justice into the system.

Oh, sometimes, in a trial, the State is in the wrong. Often, the defendant is in the wrong. The juror should "call it as he sees it" and tell the truth and shame the Devil.