Exit Survey »
Poll 1: I lean liberal
This is the story
that ran in Outlook on Sunday, about my service on a jury. There was a great deal of reader reaction; some was complimentary, some was denunciatory.
Based on questions I have received, here are a few additional facts you might want to know: Neither the demeanor nor appearance of the defendant was remarkable in any way -- he looked to be in his mid-20s, dressed nicely in a shirt and tie. He did not testify. The policeman who acted as "the eyes" in this case did not claim he had used any binoculars or other sight-enhancing device. Race did not seem to be a factor of any sort: Most of the police officers, including "the eyes," were black, as was the prosecutor. There were 10 white jurors and four black; both alternates were white, so the jury that deliberated was split 8-4. Half were men, half were women.
Had you been a juror on this trial, how do you think you would have felt and voted?
I would probably have felt the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; I probably would have voted to convict.
I would probably have felt the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; I probably would have voted to acquit.
I would probably have felt the defendant was guilty, but not beyond a reasonable doubt; I probably would have voted to acquit.
I would probably have felt the defendant was innocent; I probably would have voted to acquit.
I'm just not sure how I would have felt.
The judge had asked the jurors not to investigate the case on their own. Specifically, he said that we should not Google the case or any of its principles, and that we should not visit the alleged crime scene. Do you feel I violated this stricture by testing the limits of my vision at 170 feet?
Yes, you did.
No, you didn’t.
I'm not sure.
If you had been on the jury, might you have done the same thing, (testing your vision)?
I'm not sure.
When I was in college in 1968-1970, I occasionally used heroin. I have written about this many times. Should I have included this fact in the story?
In general, if you feel a defendant in a criminal case is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, do you think you could EVER ignore the instructions of the judge and still vote him innocent? (Choose as many answers as applicable)
Yes, if I felt police had lied or had otherwise misbehaved.
Yes, if I felt the defendant's punishment would be greater than the crime deserved.
Do you feel it is okay for government to spend this amount of time and money setting up and prosecuting a $10 undercover heroin buy?
I'm not sure.
In general, how do you feel about police officers lying a little to assure the conviction of someone they KNOW is guilty? (Assume here that the defendant IS guilty, and that the crime is serious.)
I think it's okay.
I don't think it's okay, but I understand why they might do this, and sympathize with them. I don't think it makes them bad people.
I think it's very bad.
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