Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Judge Reinhardt quotes 12 Angry Men...

...in this case. HT: MC. Good stuff:

Scene One

Juror #8: I just want to talk.

Juror #7: Well, what’s there to talk about? Eleven
men in here think he’s guilty. No one had
to think twice about it except you.

Juror #10: I want to ask you something: do you
believe his story?

Juror #8: I don’t know whether I believe it or not
— maybe I don’t.

Juror #7: So how come you vote not guilty?

Juror #8: Well, there were eleven votes for guilty.
It’s not easy to raise my hand and send
a boy off to die without talking about it
first. . . . We’re talking about somebody’s
life here. We can’t decide in five
minutes. Supposin’ we’re wrong.

Scene Two

Juror #6: I said . . . this is a very important case
and we should be very convinced that if
the defendant is found guilty that it is
beyond a reasonable doubt. . . .

Foreman: We have spent some time now trying to
understand the reasonable basis for his
doubt, and I personally did not yet
understand it . . . . I would say that twothirds
of the jurors have tried to persuade
— have actively tried to persuade . . .
him that his current view is incorrect.
. . .

Juror #4: Well, I guess he believes from the evidence
that he’s seen that there hasn’t
been sufficient proof. . . .

Juror #5: I think the question may have been
raised: “Do you have a political agenda?”
I think [it] might have been in the
heat of the argument, because it does get
heated back and forth from a bunch of
different people. It may have been said.
. . .

Juror #9: Well, he said this is a serious thing, and
I don’t really feel that there is enough
cause for — or something to that effect.
. . . What he said was, “I wouldn’t want
to take anyone’s freedom away, unless,”
you know, “I was sure that certain things
took place.” . . . .

The first passage above is dialogue from the classic Academy Award-winning 1957 film, Twelve Angry Men, in which Henry Fonda plays a holdout juror who, over two tense hours, convinces his eleven peers that the defendant in a murder trial
should be acquitted. The second excerpt comes from the transcript of proceedings during the petitioner’s murder trial, in which each juror was examined and cross-examined, seriatim and mid-deliberation, after it was reported that one juror was
taking a different view from the others. In the end, the trial court dismissed that juror on the ground that he was “biased” against the prosecution. With an alternate juror in place, the jury returned a guilty verdict.

Twelve Angry Men made for great drama because it violated the sanctity of the jury’s secret deliberations by allowing the audience into the jury room. It was, of course, a work of fiction. We are presented here with a similar intrusion into heated deliberations involving a holdout juror, except that this one took place in open court, and it resulted in a woman being convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment after the holdout was dismissed. Under the precedent that existed when petitioner’s conviction became final (and exists today as well), the trial court’s actions violated the petitioner’s Sixth Amendment rights, as incorporated with respect to the states under the Fourteenth Amendment. We therefore conclude that petitioner is in custody in violation of the Constitution, reverse the judgment of the district court, and remand with instructions to grant the writ.


Anonymous said...

A Just opinion based on integrity, respect for the United States Constitution, and the Rule of Law.

I can recall 4 times in this district in the last 10 years where the presiding judge, at the urging of government prosecutors, removed a juror who believed the government failed to prove its case beyong a reasonable doubt and thus voted not guilty, because the other jurors believed (after many days of deliberation) that the other juror "refused to deliberate."

This specatacle of a district judge putting a juror on the witness stand and intimidating the juror in that manner, invading the sanctuary of the jury room and its deliberations, was un-American, disturbing, and insidious.

Shame on any judge who tramples the Constitution by removing a juror in circusmtances described above , where no cause exists.

Anonymous said...

whats with all the hot tall male ausa's? are they hiring on looks over there now and not brains?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Judge Reinhardt is AWESOME!! Judicially speaking, he has a huge brass set, and the intellect to match. He is one of those old school judges who will work until his last breath - probably working hard on an ardent dissent. God bless him.