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Ash writes: “If Cecily McMillan can be convicted by twelve New Yorkers of assaulting a police officer, based on the evidence presented at her trial, then anyone can be convicted of anything, anywhere – regardless of the facts. Congratulations to the New American Security State.”

(photo: Giles Clarke) New York Police arrest a demonstrator on day 7 of the Occupy Wall Street Demonstrations, 09/23/11.
(photo: Giles Clarke) New York Police arrest a demonstrator on day 7 of the Occupy Wall Street Demonstrations, 09/23/11.


The Betrayal of Cecily McMillan

By Marc Ash, Reader Supported News

02 June 14

 

rial by Jury – it’s a powerful thing. If the state accuses an individual of a crime, that individual in America is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution a trial by a jury of peers. That guarantee ensures that the state cannot by caveat or in secrecy assign guilt to an individual of its own accord.

But what if the state could by promulgating fear and manipulating process convince juries to carry out its will without question?

If Cecily McMillan can be convicted by twelve New Yorkers of assaulting a police officer, based on the evidence presented at her trial, then anyone can be convicted of anything, anywhere – regardless of the facts. Congratulations to the New American Security State. The jury itself is now an efficient tool of political oppression.

The prosecutor in McMillan had to prove not only that McMillan struck the officer, Grantley Bovell, but that she did so with intent to harm him (with malice). The case should never have gone to trial, and never would have gone to trial had it not been for the political nature of what McMillan was involved in. She and all Occupy demonstrators were targeted by the NYPD. There was a clear message: “You will not do this here … we will stop you.” It was personal, it was violent, and it showed no concern whatsoever for the constitutional rights of the protesters.

The burden of proof in a case like this is so high that under normal circumstances it never goes to trial. Bovell was significantly larger and stronger than McMillan and far more capable of doing bodily harm to her than she was to him. Unsurprisingly, her injuries were far more significant than his. She was literally covered in bruises, suffered a seizure, and ultimately required hospitalization.


Image showing the injury to Cecily McMillan’s breast. (image: Cecily McMillan/Occupy activists)

Defending such a case is normally so routine that no prosecutor wants to touch it. In fact the prosecutor offered McMillan a deal: plead guilty and avoid jail time. McMillan refused, stood on principle, and put her faith in American justice and a jury. That was a big mistake.

What Cecily McMillan did not know, and what her attorney Martin Stolar should have impressed upon her, is that American juries are quite susceptible to manipulation by the court. The court has significant power to shape the proceeding and steer the outcome. Ultimately the jury must do what it is instructed to do by the court. They did.

Normally when a jury of twelve finds a defendant guilty of a crime there is a presumption that they were moved by the evidence, but this case would take a strange twist.

Enter Juror Number Two. [And eight others.]

On May 6, 2014, only days after the conclusion of the trial, Charles Woodard, Juror #2, speaking on behalf of “9 of the 12 member jury,” wrote to Judge Ronald Zweibel pleading for leniency in sentencing for the woman they had just voted to convict. A woman then sitting in a prison cell at New York’s notorious Rikers Island detention center.

To the jurors’ credit this extraordinary act of civil engagement may very well have spared McMillan a much longer sentence. In the end the sentence handed down by Judge Zweibel was 3 months. Far less than the 7 years she could have faced.

The jurors in McMillan did however have another option, independence and conviction in their beliefs. In allowing themselves to become an instrument in a political prosecution, the jury abdicated its primary purpose.

The primary function of a jury is not to convict criminals or decide innocence or guilt, the jury’s most important function in a free society is to compel the government to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. They are all Catchers in the Rye, the last and most important safety mechanism in the American justice system.

For a police state to flourish, the police must have a reasonable expectation of impunity. That is to say that regardless of what they do in the line of duty, no jury will ever convict them of anything. The trial of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer Johannes Mehserle was a case study in how easily an American jury can be convinced to ignore evidence in pursuit of a ruling favorable to police.

Mehserle was on trial for shooting suspect Oscar Grant in the back of the head at point-blank range while Grant was handcuffed and lying face down on the ground. All captured on video and presented to the jury. Ultimately the jury found Mehserle guilty of involuntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to two years. With time off for good behavior and time served, he was free in less than eight months. Had the roles been reversed, a police officer handcuffed and executed by a suspect, that suspect would in all likelihood have been convicted of first degree murder, with special circumstances, received the death sentence, and even in California most likely executed.


On the streets of Oakland, California, a handfull of rubber bullets, 10/26/11. (photo: dinab/Flickr)

American juries simply do not question authority. As a result they do not exist. Instead they all too often function as a public relations instrument of the police state. Particularly in politically motivated trials.

It was great that the McMillan jurors threw her a life preserver. That would not however have been necessary had she not been thrown overboard to begin with.


Marc Ash was formerly the founder and Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

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+114 # universlman 2014-06-02 13:13
Back in 1984, I recall observing to myself that the brutal world of Big Brother depicted in George Orwell's famous novel of the same name had not really materialized.

Since then, and particularly since the tragedy of 9-11, I have witnessed the knee-jerk overreaction of the insecure neocons under George Bush, the futile gestures of the Occupy Movement, the stunning inside disclosures of Manning and Snowden, and many other examples of how irrelevant our Constitutional "guarantees" of freedom really are in practice under the law.

My world now resembles Orwell's chilling 1984 more than I ever would have imagined.
 
 
+47 # NOMINAE 2014-06-03 02:17
Quoting universlman:
Back in 1984, I recall observing to myself that the brutal world of Big Brother depicted in George Orwell's famous novel of the same name had not really materialized......

My world now resembles Orwell's chilling 1984 more than I ever would have imagined.


Well put !

It was a little late getting here, but when it came, it came in like a rabid Lion.
 
 
+19 # Radscal 2014-06-03 11:07
In some communities, the police state has always been here.

What is changing is that middle class whites are finally feeling the wrath of the deadly gang in the blue costumes.
 
 
+54 # Pikewich 2014-06-02 15:05
Unfortunate that the description of Oscar Grants murder is not quite right. But the reasoning holds true anyway. If what was done to him was done to a cop, we would see a far different outcome.

Oscar grant was NOT shot in the back of the head execution style. He was shot in the back, the bullet ricocheted off the concrete floor and re-entered his body from the front. He died because they allowed him to bleed out. Had they gotten him to a hospital quickly, he may have survived.
 
 
+49 # spenel334 2014-06-02 19:42
What a sad commentary, not only because of what happened, but also because few people even know about it. RSN and the like are not well known sources of news.
 
 
+41 # Doubter 2014-06-02 20:36
RSN and the like are not well ENOUGH known sources of news
 
 
+21 # Anonymot 2014-06-03 03:10
I have told and emailed almost everyone I know about RSN and Truthout. Everyone should do the same. And this Lofgren article also: http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/22216-a-shadow-government-controls
 
 
+69 # Villon 2014-06-02 20:02
This is a good piece written by Marc Ash, and I agreed with much of what he wrote. However, there is one thing that stands out on which he is mistaken, and that is when he wrote that "ultimately the jury must do what it is instructed to by the court." Almost everyone believes this, but almost everyone is complete unaware of the fact of "jury nullification." Please look it up under your favorite search engine. I work in the criminal justice system as a private investigator who specializes in criminal defense. In 2002, I believe, I closely followed the trial of U.S. vs. Ed Rosenthal. Rosenthal was a designated marijuana grower for the City of Oakland, yet, the Federal prosecutor, George Bevan, was successful in pretrial motions in keeping that information away from the jury. The government's case was that Rosenthal was a big time grower in it for profit alone. Rosenthal was convicted. The next day the entire jury, now aware of the facts, showed up at the Federal building in San Francisco in protest. Had they been aware of jury nullification, where it is not only your right, but also your duty to vote your conscience if you think a defendant is not getting a fair trial, Rosenthal would have never been convicted. If the jurors in McMillan's case had been aware of the true facts and how much was being withheld from them, Cecily McMillan would have never been convicted. We need to get this information out with increasing frequency. Jury nullification. Know it.
 
 
+39 # John_Fisher 2014-06-02 20:55
With respect, sir or ma'am, one thing troubles me about your recounting of the Rosenthal trial. Even had the jury been fully aware of jury nullification, how could they have exercised it if they did not know the facts until after they had rendered their verdict? Seems to me the injustice in Rosenthal lies in the prosecutor's being allowed to withhold that information from the jury. Makes me wonder if the prosecutor had valid legal grounds to hide that information from the jury, or was this some kind of sleazy political thing, perhaps comparable to the NYPD's you-shall-not-d o-this-to-our-o ne-percent attitude?
 
 
+23 # NOMINAE 2014-06-03 02:21
Quoting John_Fisher:
With respect, sir or ma'am, one thing troubles me about your recounting of the Rosenthal trial. Even had the jury been fully aware of jury nullification, how could they have exercised it if they did not know the facts until after they had rendered their verdict? Seems to me the injustice in Rosenthal lies in the prosecutor's being allowed to withhold that information from the jury. Makes me wonder if the prosecutor had valid legal grounds to hide that information from the jury, or was this some kind of sleazy political thing, perhaps comparable to the NYPD's you-shall-not-do-this-to-our-one-percent attitude?


Or, in McMillan, where loads of evidence were simply disallowed by the judge in the first place.
 
 
+22 # kreutzersonata 2014-06-03 03:29
Thank you, Villon, for your very important correction. Making our fellows aware of jury nullification seems to me one of the most useful things we can do, and our helping friends and relatives called for jury duty to become aware of their options (despite what the judge tells them) essential.
When you look closely at this trial, you see such things as the jurors trying to learn from the court what would be McMillan's sentence were they to convict, and being refused that information. It is clear that had they understood the possibility of jury nullification, they would have seized on it. You can bet that they're all aware of it now, but too late. Don't let this happen to you!
 
 
+6 # Adoregon 2014-06-03 10:24
RTFO, Steve.
The jury does NOT have to do what it is instructed to do by the court. That is why most of us has a conscience.

See:
http://fija.org/
 
 
+49 # DaveM 2014-06-02 20:02
As noted in the article, anyone can now be charged with anything, at any time, provided law enforcement and prosecutors with to do so. By the same token, the most heinous of crimes can be not criminal at all, should the authorities wish it not to be.

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

God help us all. This is not going to be resolved by "working within the system"
 
 
+18 # Doubter 2014-06-02 21:02
I REALLY don't want to be a bird of ill omen nor further the intimidation of the masses, but I felt obliged to research these obvious quotes for the benefit of us all: "Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom" by Dr. Thomas Sowell, an American economist and philosopher. (from "http://www.ask .com/")
Then there's the one preferred by right wing nuts but which I nonetheless deem worthy of consideration. Full quote by Thomas Jefferson: “What country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms...The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” I agree this is disagreeable and unpleasant. It can even be fatal. But who dare deny its veracity? Not I.
 
 
+5 # Cassandra2012 2014-06-03 07:18
"Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom" by Dr. Thomas Sowell, an American economist and philosopher. (from "http://www.ask .com/")

This is a quote from Benjamin Franklin ... I thought,
 
 
+4 # NAVYVET 2014-06-04 04:16
No, Cassandra, Jefferson wrote that. You may be thinking of the dialogue between Franklin and Tom Paine:

Franklin: Where liberty is, there is my country.

Paine: Where liberty is NOT, there is mine.
 
 
+6 # tomtom 2014-06-03 06:15
That's what democracy is all about, love it or change it!!
 
 
+5 # RHytonen 2014-06-03 09:24
Quoting tomtom:
That's what democracy is all about, love it or change it!!

Exactly what the corporations and even 'small business' decided to do 200 years ago.
 
 
+23 # DaveM 2014-06-02 20:05
I am reminded, somewhat strangely, of the words of Malcolm X, who said (and I am quoting from memory here, so bear with me): "Don't go looking for a fight. But if a man lays hands on you, you make sure he never lays hands on you again".

We just might have more common ground with those currently being idly dismissed as "gun nuts" than we have believed.
 
 
+5 # Doubter 2014-06-02 21:09
Your second paragraph says it in a lot less words than it took me to say it in my post!
 
 
+7 # Radscal 2014-06-03 11:14
Indeed, the "99%" has MUCH more in common than we are led to believe. "Divide and rule" has been one of the most successful strategies of Power since the dawn of civilization.
 
 
+12 # Maxwell 2014-06-02 20:07
I grow ever more fearful that DaveM is correct.
 
 
+52 # Emmanuel Goldstein 2014-06-02 20:17
Not only is the US now a police state, but it's a police state within a global empire. Our Constitutional rights are routinely violated by security personnel here at home, while our military forces routinely violate people's human rights in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Cuba.
 
 
-4 # Doubter 2014-06-02 21:12
Have they got Cuba back?
I don't think so, but I'd like to know.
 
 
+2 # Radscal 2014-06-03 11:14
Guantanamo?
 
 
+35 # Villon 2014-06-02 21:32
John_Fisher, the whole point of jury nullification is that you don't have to "know the facts," as in the Rosethal case. If you're a juror, and you sense that too many objections for the defense are being overruled and the same number for the prosecution are being sustained, this is a red flag. There was plenty of testimony in the Rosenthal case for the jury to smell the rat that AUSA Bevan had loosed in the courtroom, but, again, jurors are under the impression that they have to strictly follow the judge's instructions when the truth is they don't under jury nullification. More and more juries are using nullification in drug cases, where juries don't even think a case should be brought to trial, so jury nullification is used. I had a case last summer where prosecutorial misconduct had reached a criminal level. Fortunately, the prosecution's main witness was exposed for the psychopathic liar she was, but after the trial the jury was incensed that the case was even brought to trial. The jury could have used jury nullification and refused to even deliberate because the prosecutor's main witness was such an obvious liar. You don't have to know all the facts. Pay attention. Trust your instincts when you're sitting on a jury. Does it seem like a fair trial, are you getting to hear all of the trial, or is much of it consumed in sidebars or discussions in the judge's chambers. The bottom line is that you don't have to follow the judge's instructions. That's nullification.
 
 
+14 # NOMINAE 2014-06-03 02:27
Quoting Villon:
John_Fisher, the whole point of jury nullification is that you don't have to "know the facts," as in the Rosethal case.....


Thank you *SO* much for contributing "news we can use".

It is incredibly refreshing to encounter cogent and applicable fact rather than uninformed opinion in these comment Qs.
 
 
+17 # tomtom 2014-06-02 22:23
With 25% of the world's prisoners in U.S. prisons, either our justice system is extremely dysfunctional or we're all just friggin criminals. What kills me is all the suffering that's being perpetrated on so many good people. I'ld love to see many of our fellow Americans freed from our prisons. Since we're quoting, "America's a Hole, and it's Full of Shit," , Sweeny Todd
 
 
+11 # jwb110 2014-06-02 23:16
We know the police are crooked in NYC but who knew that the juries could be bought and sold!?
 
 
+12 # NOMINAE 2014-06-03 02:33
Quoting jwb110:
We know the police are crooked in NYC but who knew that the juries could be bought and sold!?


Neither one of those facts are uncommon, but it is about time someone has shone the spotlight on the fact of how easily juries can be cowed and intimidated by authoritative sounding judges.

What's a scream is that concepts such as jury nullification are *not* part of the standard instructions given to a jury before they are even empaneled - for painfully obvious reasons, of course.
 
 
+11 # dick 2014-06-03 02:40
Best piece by Marc Ash I've ever read. Thank you, Marc.
 
 
+29 # RMDC 2014-06-03 02:51
Thanks for this article. It is right on the mark. The jury system is broken. Juries are intimidated and manipulated by prosecutors so that they simply do not do their jobs.

Remember the case of Lynne Stewart. In her trial, the prosecution invoked 9-11 about 75 times even though her case had nothing to do with 9-11. They judge did not stop the prosecution. They jury was, in effect, psychologically terrorized into returning a guilty verdict.

All of these are "political trials" and the person charged is a political prisoner when convicted. These are enemies of the state. They have committed no crime, other than being an enemy of the state. The police and court system is the vengeance system of the state. It crushes anyone who pisses off the state.
 
 
+26 # oprichniki 2014-06-03 06:58
Recently I attended a police armaments conference.Thes e terrorists are literally getting the weapons of war thanks to Federal DHS and DOD programs involving surplus equipment from the recent Middle Eastern wars. Within a year or two every law enforcement organization in the US will be equipped at the level of a US Navy Seal Team. SCARY and UNACCEPTABLE in a democracy.
 
 
+13 # PCPrincess 2014-06-03 07:43
This will continue until we, the citizens, do our job and put a stop to the rampant gun proliferation in this country. I am no fan of corrupt officials, including the police, but I dare say that I'm sure that is also a result of the fact that half the country is arming themselves and one fourth of them are threatening to use them. We are failing in many ways, most importantly in our messaging and ability to reach voters. We have damn near a completely corrupt legislative branch, save for a few fine individuals.
 
 
-1 # Radscal 2014-06-03 11:19
What does police brutality, false charges, manipulated judicial proceedings and an unquestioning populace have to do with "gun proliferation?"

The only guns in this sordid story are the ones carried by the most deadly gang in the world, the ones wearing the blue costumes.
 
 
+4 # theshift 33 2014-06-03 12:47
That is what it's all about, $kachink, $kachink, $kachink and the power to control it and perpetually keep it going to turn
silver pockets into gold.
 
 
+14 # Johnny 2014-06-03 07:19
The jury system is not broken. The judicial system is broken. Judges permit utterly irrelevant and inflammatory evidence by the prosecution, and exclude defendant's evidence. Courts of appeals then uphold the convictions. The trial of the Holy Land Five is a paradigm of the modern kangaroo court. And if the defendant's attorney even hints to the jury that they are free to make up their own minds, the judge declares a mistrial and that attorney is disbarred. Nobody should be surprised that the same international banksters' money that owns the media and buys the executive and legislative branches of government also buys the judiciary.
 
 
+6 # tpmco 2014-06-04 01:11
Johnny--the jury system is broken. It is rigged, and there is no oversight of the process of how a juror becomes a juror.

Go watch a few trials, observe, and you will see. Attend a jury orientation and ask yourself afterward if jury nullification was covered. Ask yourself, after observing a trial, whether or not a judge admonished jurors to not do independent research of the law, case law, or independent verification of facts as presented by either party.

You will see an insidious, creepy, form of our judicial system.
 
 
+13 # Kathymoi 2014-06-03 07:57
Everything in this article and also in the comments is so significant, and so excluded from mainstream news reporting. Juries are manipulated by what the judge allows them to hear and not hear. American television watchers are manipulated by mainstream news that excludes meaningful information and analysis of issues. The police are definitely militarized, and brutal. There is a new system going into high schools, called ALICE. Supposedly, it is to respond to violence among the students. I don't remember what all of the letters stand for. The L is for lockdown. It is a step by step procedure to capture and lock up entire high school student bodies. This is not OK.
 
 
-22 # arquebus 2014-06-03 09:01
Let us be clear about something. No one swings an elbow to the head without the intent to do grievous injury. An elbow to the head can kill and certainly maim. She is an adult...hard to believe she didn't know that when she lashed out.
 
 
+19 # Rusty Idols 2014-06-03 09:47
When someone is sexually assaulted by surprise from behind (the imprint of the officers clutching fingers could be seen in the huge bruise on her breast) they lash back instinctively. How is this even remotely confusing?
 
 
-21 # arquebus 2014-06-03 11:02
In which case, the charge was correct...she lashed out with intent to injure and did so in a matter that was grossly out of proportion to her injury.

And, I've been in crowds....I've had people run into, grab me my mistake, etc. And, am I to believe that she thought someone was about to rape her in front of all those people and cops--she claimed she feared a sexual assault?

I don't think so.....if she did, perhaps she shouldn't be out in public alone. Her story just doesn't hang together very well. For all that, the lighter sentence is appropriate as the original request was prosecutorial overreach.
 
 
+17 # NOMINAE 2014-06-03 14:52
Quoting arquebus:


And, I've been in crowds....I've had people run into, grab me my mistake, etc.


Have you ever had someone come up and suddenly grab you by your genitals from behind in a crowd ?

If one doesn't react instinctively to that, there is something seriously wrong with one's basic survival wiring.

That would get more than my elbow swinging.

This woman was reacting from her basic survival instinct.

Perhaps plain clothed police need to resist the temptation to "cop a feel" from a stranger during the course of simply beating the living crap out of them for the sin of exercising their Constitutionall y Guaranteed Right to Free Assembly.
 
 
+14 # theshift 33 2014-06-03 12:49
And law enforcement is well honed and trained in professional and tactical take downs. Grabbing a breast
is not and I repeat NOT part of that.
 
 
+14 # dascher 2014-06-03 13:09
Quoting arquebus:
Let us be clear about something. No one swings an elbow to the head without the intent to do grievous injury. An elbow to the head can kill and certainly maim.

Are you seriously proposing that this woman's elbow is a lethal weapon? when supposedly wielded against the head of a man who was at least 5 inches taller than she?

Was she supposed to have jumped up into the air to strike this attempted death blow? Was there evidence that she is an expert practioner of some exotic martial art?

Not only was the judge obviously biased, but her lawyers would appear to have been fools for not introducing the obvious physical impossibility of her having assaulted a person behind her who she couldn't see and who was significantly taller and stronger than she.

Were they afraid of being accused of playing "the gender card"?
 
 
+17 # Rusty Idols 2014-06-03 09:16
"Ultimately the jury must do what it is instructed to do by the court."

This is not true. It's very important that it is not true.

Jury nullification allows a jury to refuse to convict even if it is proven the defendant has committed a crime. jury nullification is what made reversal of prohibition inevitable. When juries flat out refuse to convict people for breaking a law that law becomes unenforceable.

When a prosecutor is engaging in extreme overreach in defence of brutality a jury has the right to 'nullify' the application of the law in relation to a specific case.

Prosecutors and judges certainly don't like it, and judges routinely lie to juries advising them they have no choice but to follow the law regardless of their personal feelings.

But arguably, jury nullification is the POINT of juries.
 
 
+5 # NOMINAE 2014-06-03 14:56
Quoting Rusty Idols:


Jury nullification allows a jury to refuse to convict even if it is proven the defendant has committed a crime. jury nullification is what made reversal of prohibition inevitable. When juries flat out refuse to convict people for breaking a law that law becomes unenforceable.


Thank you *SO* much for representing the voice of fact-based REASON.

Kudos
 
 
+7 # James Marcus 2014-06-03 09:31
We have ALL been betrayed. She was brave enough to speak up, and found out, 'For Real'. Our turns are next, should we similarly elect to assert/demand our Constitutional Rights or Protest too loudly.
The Rule of Law is dead. If we permit it.
It turns out, our Law Makers, are the Biggest Law Breakers. Big Time.
War, for instance, as a 'Means to Prosperity', is a Socio-Psychopat hic endeavor. This has been a rather consistent 'Leaders' Choice' in the United States. And not, by any means, exclusively there. Not initially, even. And Not Constitutionall y Either!
But they are doing it; and disregarding Legal Constitutional Rights of any and All who Protest too loudly, too publicly.
Well, exposing them is embarrassing! Why do you think they go to such ends to Cover-up, and Frame-up? They KNOW their actions are wrong!
But they can't seem to help their selfish Selves.
Psycho-Sociopat hic.
And, they have convinced Armed Forces , Domestic and Off-shore, to personally enforce their Psychotic Biddings, even unto self Sacrifice!
Astonishing.
And, they have convinced the Rest of Us to Finance it all.
Less Amazing, as this is done with fabulous Misrepresentati on, Embezzlement, Fraud, and Lies.
Talk about slight-of-Hand! Gotta hand it to them!
 
 
+10 # Texan 4 Peace 2014-06-03 14:43
In fact, most criminal cases never go to trial. Prosecutors habitually overcharge defendants in order to force a plea bargain. Low-income defendants especially, who must depend on impossibly overloaded public defenders (and an often incomplete understanding of their rights) are easily intimidated into pleading guilty to a "lesser" charge, even when they are innocent, when threatened with years or decades in prison. Increasing funding (and reducing caseloads) for public defenders is a tough sell in today's political climate, but without such measures the 6th Amendment has basically become meaningless.
 
 
+4 # NOMINAE 2014-06-03 16:06
Quoting Texan 4 Peace:
without such measures the 6th Amendment has basically become meaningless.


Excellent post.

It would now appear that the *ONLY* Amendment making up the Bill of Rights that has *not* been abrogated, gutted, gnarled and nullified, is the Second Amendment (which obviously does *not* say what Gun Manufacturers *wish* it said.)
 
 
+2 # Radscal 2014-06-04 21:57
You may not believe the laws at Federal, State and Local levels regarding firearms are sufficient (I don't), but it looks to me like the 3rd Amendment is the only one not " abrogated, gutted, gnarled and nullified."

Amendment III
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

And even that one is being cited in a case where local law enforcement forced a homeowner to allow them to set up a surveillance and monitoring station inside the home of a neighbor of someone the cops were monitoring.

The homeowner refused to allow the cops in, let alone set up a monitoring station, but the cops did anyway.
 
 
+6 # tpmco 2014-06-04 00:36
Although not totally a naive article, Marc, you have to know two things:

1. Cecily McMillan had a gutless attorney.

2. Juries are predetermined.

That attorney she had should have been jumping up and down over any objection the prosecution had to admittance of evidence--to the point of raising a warning of contempt. A gutless little wimp who doesn't even realize that a career would not be threatened, but, in the opposite, would actually be enhanced. A fundamental concept understood by business people but slow to be adopted by the legal community.

You are correct in your advice that jurors are really not well schooled in the duties and powers of their position. They are chosen from a previously determined group of people who, no matter which individuals are chosen from the "pool" , will render a verdict desired by the prosecution and the court. Uniformly, jurors all want to do a duty, but duty is a colored proposition. So who should control our jury pools? The court? The prosecutors? Or some other body?

I think our process for the technicalities of trials has become fucked up--from nominating jurors to their selection to their manipulation during trial--it's all fucked up.
 
 
+5 # Andrew Chase 2014-06-04 11:05
"1. Cecily McMillan had a gutless attorney."

Gutless, or bought off.
 
 
+4 # NAVYVET 2014-06-04 04:56
It would be good for your group to get a copy of JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG, show it free to the public, and dicuss Jury Nullification afterward. Even back in the 60s when I first saw that film as a Navy Lt(jg), in 1961 or 62, along with 5 other junior officers, we were shaken by too many creeping similarities between Nazi Germany and our country--too much secrecy, reckless warmongering, the bigotry of the entire South, and in the North threats to justice not just by the late Joe McCarthy but by Thomas Dewey, Truman's opponent in 1948 & a former NY state prosecutor. Afterward we went to someone's apartment to talk, and I've never forgotten that urgent discussion. One of us was the son of a wealthy African American banker & a fervid supporter of civil rights. In college I'd been illegally arrested for civil rights petitioning at my Southern university and as an Ensign I'd written a series of 12 articles on the Bill of Rights for the Armed Forces Press Service (published in military newspapers from 1958 to at least 1968, when I resigned), and another was a lawyer & Navy legal officer. We were probably better informed that most Americans, but I never heard the phrase "jury nullification"! Most of us felt safe with Kennedy in the White House (being young & naive) but we stayed up in an all-night bull session discussing the film, and even the law'n'order supporters were haunted by it.
 

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