Juries

My Persistent And Impossible Dilemma

My Persistent And Impossible Dilemma

14th Amendment, 8th Amendment, citizenship, civics, community, conflict, constitution, critical judgment, Discernment, Enlightenment, Equality, First Amendment, Ideology, Juries, law, political rhetoric, Rationality, Uncategorized
The following is a true story.  It is a story that has been haunting me for the past 20-plus years. The reason it has been haunting me is because I may have been inadvertantly complicit in convicting a man of a serious drug charge by denying him the benefit of the principle of the presumptive innocence of a defendant in a criminal trial. I make no judgment as to the man’s actual guilt. That will be as it may. The point, rather, is that, in retrospect, I believe that we, the jury in the trial, followed the letter of what seemed in retrospect to be a very bad law and -- pursuant to that law -- presumed the man to be guilty, and that this presumption seemed to be “hard coded” into the relevant drug-possession law.  At the time, we believed we acted in good faith, because we believed o