Jury Verdicts, 300 words, APA

Jury Verdicts

Competency 1: Articulate how the rules of criminal procedure apply to a criminal justice practitioner.

Introduction

In our criminal justice system, defendants have the right to a trial by jury. This right is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, specifically, the 6th Amendment. While the Constitution does set forth requirements as to the size of the jury, it does not require that the jury reach a unanimous verdict. A non-unanimous verdict is a verdict by a jury that is not the result of a unanimous vote. In Apodaca v. Oregon, the Supreme Court held that a 10-to-2 vote for conviction is constitutional. In Johnson v. Louisiana, the Supreme Court held that a 9-to-3 vote for conviction was constitutional. Given the defendant’s right to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the lack of requirement for a unanimous verdict may beg the question as to whether it is appropriate to allow majority verdicts rather than unanimous verdicts.

Instructions

For this discussion, consider the fact that the Supreme Court has discarded the argument that a less-than-unanimous verdict violates the reasonable doubt standard, stating that the term reasonable doubt refers to the individual juror and not the entire jury.

In your main post:

Explore whether all criminal trials should require unanimous verdicts, using a related case as the basis for your position.

Articulate two practical issues that might arise under unanimous verdict requirements.

Describe the implications of non-unanimous jury verdicts as a criminal justice professional.

Discussion Objectives

The competency addressed in this discussion is supported by discussion objectives, as follows:

Competency 1: Articulate how the rules of criminal procedure apply to a criminal justice practitioner.

Explore whether all criminal trials should be required to have unanimous verdicts.

Articulate potential practical issues that might arise under unanimous verdict requirements.

Describe the implications of non-unanimous jury verdicts.

Resource-Use your Criminal Procedure e-book to read Chapter 12, “Basic Constitutional Rights of the Accused during Trial,” pages 374–408.

Please put answers underneath the questions, instructors wants to see that the questions are being answered. General Information

Description:

The central figure in the S&L scandal, Charles Keating, is back in court in Los Angeles, one week after he was found guilty of stock fraud in California. This time Keating is charged with insider trading and other federal violations. Keating will have top-drawer legal help, something beyond the reach of most poor people in this country.

Keywords:

Sixth Amendment, 6th Amendment, Charles Keating, Counsel, Law, Defense, Assistance of Counsel,

Constitution, Bill of Rights, Amendment, Judicial Branch, Prison, Prisoner, Inmate, Incarceration, Trial,

Public Defender, Life in Prison, Sentence, Guilty, Innocent, Lynn Borsuk, Steven Bright, Richard Bright,

Saunders Cochran and Harry Hutchinson

Transcript

The Sixth Amendment and the Assistance of Counsel

TOM BROKAW, anchor:

The central figure in the S&L scandal, Charles Keating, was back in court in Los Angeles today, one week after he was found guilty of stock fraud in California. This time Keating was charged with insider trading and other federal violations.

If found guilty he could be sentenced to 5 to 10 years in prison of course, Keating is sure to have top-drawer legal help, something beyond the reach of most poor people in this country. And that’s the subject tonight of our Bill of Rights anniversary series: We the People. The Sixth Amendment provides the accused the right to the assistance of counsel. That’s the ideal. In reality, however, you do get what you pay for.

NBC’s Bob Herbert

BOB HERBERT reporting:

Saunders Cochran is in Georgia State Prison, for life. He was in a fight in which a man was fatally shot by Cochran’s cousin. Three eyewitnesses testified that the shooting was accidental. The cousin pleaded guilty to manslaughter and got 20 years. But Cochran, who had no weapon and insists he was innocent, was tried and convicted of murder. He says it was because his lawyer was incompetent.

Mr. SAUNDERS COCHRAN (Inmate): He didn’t interview any of the state witnesses, he didn’t talk to the medical examiner to find out the man had all kind of cocaine inside his system. Reporter: Mr. Hutchinson, could I ask you a question, please?

HERBERT: Cochran’s lawyer, an Atlanta public defender named Harry Hutchinson, wouldn’t talk to us.

Reporter: Mr. Hutchinson?

HERBERT: But he admitted in a sworn statement that he had spent only 45 minutes with Cochran before the trial, that he never interviewed the eyewitnesses, and that he needed more time to prepare the case.

Mr. COCHRAN: If I would have had money to buy a lawyer and go out and get the proper help that I need, I said I wouldn’t have done all this time HERBERT: While all Americans have the constitutional right to a lawyer, for poor people this can be a crapshoot. Very often the lawyer they get is a joke.

Mr. STEVEN BRIGHT (Prisoners’ Rights Lawyer): Not long ago in California there was a case where the lawyer on his way to court was stopped; his blood alcohol level was so high that he couldn’t operate a motor vehicle, and yet he continued a capital trial that day which resulted in the death penalty being imposed.

HERBERT: Incompetent attorneys are one problem, but a bigger problem is the sheer volume of cases being handled by public defenders. Lynn Borsa quit her job as a public defender in Atlanta.

Ms. LYNN BORSA: I had so many cases I didn’t know who some of my clients were. I couldn’t remember what their cases were what they were charged with, what the defense was–it was out of control. I’ve also seen innocent men, men I truly believed were innocent, plead guilty just so they could go home.

HERBERT: Richard Todd says that’s what he did. After spending three months in jail and not being allowed to post bond, Todd pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property. If he had pleaded innocent he would have had to wait in jail another three months before going to trial. By pleading guilty he was fined and released immediately.

Unidentified Judge: I’m satisfied then, sir, that you are pleading guilty knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily.

Reporter: Are you guilty?

Mr. RICHARD TODD: No.

Reporter: Why did you plead guilty?

Mr. TODD: I pleaded guilty to get out of jail.

HERBERT: We are celebrating the Bill of Rights, but the Sixth Amendment will remain largely an empty promise as long as we continue to punish thousands of defendants for the crime of being poor.

Bob Herbert, NBC News, Atlanta.

Citation

APA

Herbert, B. (Reporter), & Brokaw, T. (Anchor) 1991, December 12. The Sixth Amendment and the Assistance of Counsel: Television series episode NBC Nightly News. Retrieved from https://highered.nbclearn.com/portal/site/HigherEd…

 
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