Thursday, September 13, 2007

Cutts juror poll forces deep thought ..

Thanks to all of you who took part in my blog poll on what screening criteria is most important when choosing impartial jurors for the upcoming Bobby Cutts trial.

To recap:
  • 20 of you feel that a juror's thoughts on the death penalty mean the most
  • 16 feel that a person's thoughts on race and interracial dating is tops
  • 7 feel that internal feelings about police officers should be considered first
  • 1 felt that personal judgements of those who commit infidelity should be out in the open
Again, this assumed that knowledge of the Jessie Marie Davis case would be the first area jurors would share, but what about the rest?

I'm surprised that death penalty was the top choice. Not because it's not important, but rather because the DP only becomes necessary with a conviction .. and that tells me most people feel that Cutts is guilty so deciding his fate is the only real question on the table. Additionally, it's the most black-and-white question because those who are not willing to consider a death sentence would be excused from being jurors.

I'm not surprised that race was second on the list. We could discuss this all day, but all of us have views and thoughts on race and race relations. The racial makeup of this jury will be scrutinized plenty .. to say nothing for the prejudices each juror brings with them. The question becomes, "can you as juror put prejudices aside and not allow them to affect your decision in this case?" Remembering that "prejudice" means to "pre-judge" something. I think it's difficult for anyone to argue that they're not prejudice against someone out there ... be it short people, skinny people, white people, minorities .. etc . How do those prejudices affect a person's decision to decide a murder case?

Thoughts about police officers and police work are ALWAYS an issue when selecting a jury. If a juror thinks that all cops are "ego maniacs" or -- on the flip side -- that all police officers are "perfect beacons of society who can do no wrong" how can someone say that won't affect how they see Bobby Cutts?

As for the impact of infidelity, this lone vote surprises me. The talk shows seemed to be full of people slamming Cutts for having a relationship while still married while also attacking Davis with "that's what you get for messing around with a married man" statements. Have affairs become so common on the news that people aren't as likely to let that cloud their judgement? Still, if it's something that a potential juror feels strongly about, wouldn't it certainly impact their ability to reach a fair verdict?

Where does this leave us? Waiting .. and waiting .. we don't even know if the trial will be held locally or moved elsewhere ... but the topics raised above must be discussed and debated wherever the trial ends up if Bobby Cutts is to have an impartial jury.

1 comment:

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