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Neil Lindholm
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Joined: 12 January 2005
Location: China
Posts: 4837
Posted: 01 April 2021 at 6:44pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Every person should be allowed the most rigorous defence possible in a court of law. In Canada, the government recently stepped in and changed the laws to reduce the ability of the defendant to defend himself in court, since the outcome of two prior trials did not conform to the government narrative and infuriated the progressive class. This is a very dangerous precedent and hopefully it will be shot down in the Supreme Court. 

"It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer".

That said, I believe he is guilty as hell but my beliefs are completely irrelevant in a criminal court case. The case needs to be proven beyond a doubt and Derek Chauvin should be allowed to present the most vigorous defence possible. If not, it becomes a show trial. 

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John Wickett
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Joined: 12 July 2016
Location: United States
Posts: 184
Posted: 01 April 2021 at 6:46pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

"I'm commenting on the slant where all a perpetrator has to do is throw enough dirt and confusion around at the expense of their victim(s) and people have to presume they may be innocent, because they allow that in the U.S. court system."

There are times when a victim's/accuser's character is very relevant to a case.  So I would take issue with the idea that it is never okay for a defense attorney to raise character as an issue in a case.

Unfortunately, some lawyers attack character when it is not relevant, but that's not what is supposed to happen.  

Its up to the judge to decide when character evidence is admissible and when it is not.  Rules of admissibility can be complicated.  What I mean by that is that a piece of evidence may be admissible for one purpose, but not admissible for another. Often attorneys will try to get a piece of evidence in by mischaracterizing the purpose for which the evidence is being presented.  A judge will do his/her best to filter out evidence that should not be admissible, but criminal defense lawyers are given extra latitude, because as mentioned, the defendant is presumed innocent, and the system is designed to protect his/her rights.

On top of that, some judges are just better than others, and some judges are not very good at all.  

You're right that in some cases a victim or the family of a victim may feel victimized again by having their character unjustly scrutinized in a trial.  But the goal is for that not to happen unless there is a good reason for it.  

Of course, there are thousands of cases that come before courts in the US every day.  Most judges I have seen do a pretty good job controlling what is seen by jurors, but the system is imperfect, because the people participating in it are imperfect.  

In the Trayvon Martin case, I don't think that character evidence put on by the defense played any role in the verdict.  

Likewise, I don't believe it will play a decisive role in the George Floyd case.

On an unrelated note, I'm not sure why you are objecting to the use of medical evidence.  In the Floyd case, I think the medical evidence favors the prosecution.  But suppose it didn't.  What if the evidence showed that Floyd really did die from a drug overdose, as Joe suggested?  Would you still believe that Chauvin is guilty of murder?  Don't you think that is something the jury should be entitled to see and decide?

I understand you want justice for Mr. Floyd.  I do too.  But it seems like you're suggesting that a trial is not necessary at all.  

I think its extremely important that the court system be as consistent as possible.  Just because the prosecution has phenomenal evidence in this case, doesn't mean we get to bend the rules.  Chauvin is still entitled to the same due process that any other defendant would receive.  If we start to bend the rules to get the outcome we want (even when that outcome is morally right) we are opening the door to errors that could result in miscarriages of justice in thousands of cases in the future.    


Edited by John Wickett on 01 April 2021 at 6:48pm
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Rebecca Jansen
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Joined: 12 February 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 2632
Posted: 07 April 2021 at 1:24pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

A few more days of this sensational trial on multiple tv channels for our infotainment, but I just see the same old throwing in of everything but the kitchen sink. Long, repetitious, expensive, and as likely not to come to any real justice at the end as what reality should suggest. It remains to be seen if Chauvin gets charged with anything beyond some minor negligence under this system even with the poor quality defensive decisions made.

I don't 'get' what is not to get about saying the U.S. has had a long history of bizarre show trials, from the Scopes-Monkey one (and look at the brilliant decision it resulted in) to the joke that was the O.J. rich celebrity athelete gets away with murder one, to the following Trayvon with a deadly weapon and standing your ground on the basis of sidewalks existing one. How does some of this business like O.J. putting a glove on get allowed? And that's just one famous and obvious example of what not to have in a trial. George Floyd's health status is minimally involved I can grant, should be settled in quite short order though, but the whole drugs business has zero bearing other than to try and defame and blame the victim. This should be infuriating to all people, not just of one skin pigmentation. I can accept some were fooled into grasping at a false victory over O.J. (or even Michael Jackson), but are there any adults in the room to say hey, supposed justice served up as infotainment is likely not serving anything but ratings?

I don't see the celebrity lawyers much in other countries. I don't see the huge wait times that themselves often get someone off the hook in the U.S. system (although we do have that part where I am). You could almost think the criminals are writing most of the rules.

I don't have an informed or educated enough right to an opinion maybe, but this Chauvin trial is so much like many other high profile examples and impeachment proceedings... lots of talk, lots of splitting hairs on technicalities often divorced from any reality, and a big joke result a real possibility yet again. People want to explain how things work, fine, but I see them obviously not working a lot of the time. Great if it happens to work this time but you can't blame anyone for having doubts, that someone could be filmed from multiple angles in front of multiple witnesses physically crushing the life out of someone and still with a lot of crap thrown around enough doubt for just one juror... flipping a coin seems to be not dissimilar in terms of end result.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Joined: 12 February 2018
Location: Canada
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Posted: 07 April 2021 at 1:25pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

What outcome I personally want has nothing to do with seeing results that appear to defy the real events concerned.
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Rebecca Jansen
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 12 February 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 2632
Posted: 07 April 2021 at 5:51pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply


 QUOTE:
a piece of evidence may be admissible for one purpose, but not admissible for another. Often attorneys will try to get a piece of evidence in by mischaracterizing the purpose for which the evidence is being presented. A judge will do his/her best to filter out evidence that should not be admissible, but criminal defense lawyers are given extra latitude, because as mentioned, the defendant is presumed innocent

I know there are often things not allowed for inclusion in U.S. trials. We've even heard jurors when told of something that they didn't get to hear, omissions, saying that it could well have changed their decision.

George Floyd using drugs has zero bearing on his death and should not have been allowed in the case. They were trying to re-read his saying 'I ain't do no drugs' as 'I ate too many drugs' today. All they need is plausible deniability a.k.a. reasonable doubt for Chavin wuth one juror. A big black man being allowed to become a big black man on 'drugs' is a miscarriage being allowed. Perhaps, probably, the defense has already favored jurors with anti-drugs sentiments for selection.
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John Wickett
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Joined: 12 July 2016
Location: United States
Posts: 184
Posted: 07 April 2021 at 6:09pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

"George Floyd using drugs has zero bearing on his death and should not have been allowed in the case."

When this first came up it was because Joe was suggesting the drugs contributed to Mr. Floyd's cause of death.  

If that is an argument being made by the defense, then his drug use would absolutely be relevant to the case.  


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Eric Sofer
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Joined: 31 January 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 4570
Posted: 07 April 2021 at 6:32pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

John W, I do not find any relevance between his use of drugs, and dying of heart failure after nine minutes without oxygen. A perfectly healthy person would die under the same conditions.

It amazes me that the defense is tap dancing through this mine field trying to find some straw to grasp onto. But hey... it's their money for their witnesses and experts, I guess. I don't think Chauvin is gonna have a lot of places to spend money in another few months.
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John Wickett
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Joined: 12 July 2016
Location: United States
Posts: 184
Posted: 07 April 2021 at 6:39pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Eric, I agree with you.  I don't think the drugs had anything to do with George Floyd's death, and the medical examiner's report clearly indicates that.  

But if the defense wanted to argue drugs were contributory, then obviously it would be relevant to know what drugs were in his system when he died. 
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John Wickett
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Joined: 12 July 2016
Location: United States
Posts: 184
Posted: 07 April 2021 at 7:01pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

"It amazes me that the defense is tap dancing through this mine field trying to find some straw to grasp onto."

They don't have any choice.  More than 95% of criminal cases are resolved without a trial through a plea bargain.  But if Chauvin won't take a deal, the attorneys have to go to trial and put on the best defense they can.  

Given that the entire incident was captured from multiple angles on video, there are numerous eye witnesses, and experts on department policy and use of force have all lined up against Chauvin, his lawyers don't have much of a case.  Grasping at straws is a good description.   

When I was in school, my eventual law partner and I worked together on some cases for the Innocence Project.  We were supervised by attorneys from the Clark County and Federal Public Defenders' offices, and one of them invited us to observe a murder trial.  

The defendants were 3 young men who shot and killed an older man in order to steal a silver cigar case they saw in his possession.  The incident started in a night club on the top floor of a casino/megaresort, so there were cameras everywhere.  There was clear video footage of the young men following the victim out of the casino, following him as he walked through the garage, and then following his vehicle when he left the resort.  

The victim drove about 3 miles away, and pulled into the drive through of a Jack in the Box.  There, another video camera recorded crystal clear images of the defendants approaching his vehicle, shooting, and robbing the victim, and then leaving in the same vehicle they were seen leaving the casino in.  Later, the victim's property was recovered from the home of one of the defendants, along with the murder weapon.  

By the time opening statements were finished, this case was OVER.  There was no question what had happened, but the attorneys still had to conduct a trial, and put on the best possible defense.  

Since we knew the lead defense attorney from school, we got a lot of background information, including that all of the defense lawyers (they each had their own; only one was a public defender) had counseled the defendants to accept plea bargains, because the evidence against them was so strong, and they would face tougher penalties if they lost at trial, but none of the defendants were willing to listen to their lawyers.


Edited by John Wickett on 08 April 2021 at 5:36am
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Rebecca Jansen
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Joined: 12 February 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 2632
Posted: 08 April 2021 at 11:12am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

It should be fairly simple to establish from medically educated people that what was done to Mr. Floyd would kill anybody not on any substances. There is only one reason to include this, to play to prejudices about drug use and possibly confuse the confusable. All the emotional testimony for drama purposes plays a negligible role if they would simply have a focus on the medical and observable facts of this 'case'... a man died of asphixia as the result of force exerted by the individual the true subject of the trial.

How can everyone not see how ass-backwards this kind of trial is? They take something that is far more documented and witnessed than almost any other and still turn into a big tv show spectacle of drama and all kinds of doubts thrown in from all directions that are patently ridiculous. This man did not coincidentally experience a drug overdose at the precise time someone exerted extreme force to their neck for a time span exceeding what it would require to be lethal to anyone, and then interfered with any attempts to revive the victim. Instead one juror at least is going to be so overwhelmed with meaningless junk they will give some minimum negligence sentence to Chauvin. I saw it, seen it before, although I'm not an expert. it is plain, it will keep happening until the U.S. changes things to something more reality based. If they can and do keep some evidence out of past trials through two teams of lawyers and a judge 'negotiating' it's laughable to say they can't or shouldn't do it for things that are only intended to blame and defame a victim.

Your justice system is let's make a deal too often and that is not justice at all. This is why you get such ridiculous outcomes as with George Zimmerman or O.J. or the Rodney King beaters. The evidence is that there is a flawed system, not that an observer from next door is wrong. I am right and when the days of repetitious emotive 'testimonies' and splitting of technical hairs on matters not all relevant to this death have passed you will not see a maximum sentence but something that is not sufficient for the deliberate action of a bad cop presuming he could be above the law. Not addressing that continues to be a huge problem for the country.

Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 08 April 2021 at 11:14am
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Michael Roberts
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Joined: 20 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 13759
Posted: 08 April 2021 at 12:04pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply


 QUOTE:
Your justice system is let's make a deal too often and that is not justice at all.

Why do you keep saying YOUR justice system when Canada is built on the same UK common law as the US? Yes, there are differences, but none in the ways you are complaining about.


 QUOTE:
How can everyone not see how ass-backwards this kind of trial is? They take something that is far more documented and witnessed than almost any other and still turn into a big tv show spectacle of drama and all kinds of doubts thrown in from all directions that are patently ridiculous.

The defense is doing its job. As long as they don't lie or commit fraud, what else do you want them to do?


 QUOTE:
Your justice system is let's make a deal too often and that is not justice at all.

Again, Canada's system works the same way. 90% plea deals.


 QUOTE:
This is why you get such ridiculous outcomes as with George Zimmerman or O.J. or the Rodney King beaters.

Do I think OJ murdered Nicole? Yes. Do I think the prosecution bungled the case and left too much doubt for the jury? Yes.

Do I think Zimmerman should have gone to jail for killing Trayvon? Yes. Do I think the prosecution proved that it was second degree murder? No.

Too many people, especially POC, are wrongfully incarcerated because jurors have your mentality. They are basing their decisions on emotions and "common sense" instead of what the prosecution actually proved.

Also, get off your fucking high horse. Canada has the same issues with racism and police brutality. You guys are just ignoring it by complaining about the US.



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Matt Reed
Byrne Robotics Security

Robotmod

Joined: 16 April 2004
Posts: 33912
Posted: 08 April 2021 at 1:22pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

 Michael Roberts wrote:
Also, get off your fucking high horse. Canada has the same issues with racism and police brutality. You guys are just ignoring it by complaining about the US.

Couldn't agree more.  
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