Chiv: Constitution be damned, as long the Prosecution thinks you’re guilty.

judges gavel

Really John???

Yesterday, local court blogger John Chiv got on his soapbox and ranted about the unfairness of convicted criminals appealing decisions which may have been unfair.  In his post, Chiv wrote, “Don’t like your sentence, use every loophole provided in the criminal justice system to delay taking responsibility”.

Chiv used, as an example, the case of “Sleazebag” Timothy Littlefield.  Chiv has gone on and on about what he had “heard” about the reasons for the jury verdict in the Littlefield case being dismissed.  Here’s what Thaddeus Greenson from the North Coast Journal wrote about the subject:

One of those jurors, Clanton said, told his investigator that he simply felt the defense didn’t prove Littlefield was not guilty during the trial. “I almost fell out of my chair,” Clanton said. Knowing the criminal justice system places the burden of proof on the prosecution in all cases, and that he, Feeney and the prosecutor, District Attorney Paul Gallegos, had all gone to lengths to explain that to the jurors, Clanton said he then had the juror sign a sworn declaration saying he felt the defense didn’t prove its case.

Turns out that the juror signed not just one, but two affidavits on separate occasions.  In those declarations he stated that he believed the defense didn’t prove their case.  That is a clear violation of the constitution.  The integrity of the jury process depends on all members of the jury knowing that the burden of proof rests with the prosecution.  In this case, there was doubt as that integral part of the trial, so the judge had to set aside the verdict.

Now, the Examiner Staff feel that the “lowlife” Mr. Littlefield may indeed be completely guilty and that his punishment, if convicted, should be severe.  However, is it really a loophole to ensure that a defendants constitutionally protected rights are protected?  If we don’t protect both the rights of the guilty and the innocent, then this system would be even more unjust than it already is.

Many rights we take for granted have been cemented in case law because the rights of guilty persons were violated.  Almost everyone in the US knows their Miranda Rights, including; “having the right to remain silent”.

What many people don’t realize is that Ernesto Arturo Miranda was convicted of kidnapping, rape, and armed robbery.  That conviction was set aside because Mr. Miranda’s constitutional protections were violated.  At the second trial, he was convicted.
lady justice
Although it may have been time consuming, costly, and a hardship on the victim, we all benefit from the courts decisions regarding upholding the constitution.

Chiv wrote, “Instead both are using the criminal justice system and legitimate processes to ensure rights to see if they can get a get out of free jail card.

Wrong John.  Both cases seem to be using the “tactic” that everyone of us should be guaranteed if were are ever arrested or charged with a crime.  That “tactic” is ensuring that the constitutional rights of the defendant are protected at all times, even if the defendant is guilty.

Welcome to the US criminal justice system, John.  It may not be pretty, or always fair, but its the best we have.

Advertisements

17 thoughts on “Chiv: Constitution be damned, as long the Prosecution thinks you’re guilty.

  1. I see your point, T-E. But if I recall an earlier paragraph in the NCJ article mentioned someone contacting jury members after the trial and having conversations with them about the trial. I think it was someone connected to Littlefield’s defense. The pattern of hanging around ex-jury members to see if you can get them to say something uncareful, and then using that to get a conviction overturned, is very dubious to me. A skilled salesman or interrogator could easily back an ex jury member into a corner and get them to trip themselves and sign who knows what, not every jury member but probably some. I predict there will be some legal intervention like a gag order for jury members to keep the proceedings confidential even after the trial. Like HIPAA. Chiv’s outrage is not baseless, to me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re probably right. Even so, that juror signed his/her name. It might be skilled interrogation, or the juror really felt that way. In the NCJ article, it sounded as if the juror changed his tune when questioned in court. Did the prosecution intervene and tell him what to say? Who knows. My guess is that both sides conduct themselves behind the scenes in ways that would raise eyebrows. But that’s just a guess.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Having served on a jury in which one member stated, “he didn’t prove he didn’t do it” with several others concurring. After a discussion about what “innocent until proven guilty” means, the accused was acquitted. I doubt that my experience is unique.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I doubt that my experience is unique.

      Just read the comments accompanying any news story about someone arrested for a crime- sex related crimes being a great example- and you’ll often see most comments calling for execution of the defendant, if not worse.

      I’m not trying to suggest that comments to newspapers are representative of the general public, but I can’t help but wonder if the attitude of the defendant having to prove he’s innocent is fairly widespread.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Like most issues I’m of two minds on this.

    On one hand, I would like criminals to “man-up”/”woman-up” (“person-up?”) and if they did the crime they just suck it in and do the time. Especially in cases involving severe trauma to a victim.

    On the other hand, it is necessary to keep open reasonable avenues of appeal to guard against courtroom malpractice. The system gets it wrong too many times to do away with that.

    I’ve served on some juries too. I’ve met some bright people that way. I’ve also met some profoundly stupid people that way too. I have no doubt that after almost any trial if an investigator has access to all the jurors, he or she will find at least one who is easy enough to confuse who will sign anything.

    The Littlefield case is especially bizarre when one reads of times when jurors, or even full juries… petition courts to overturn convictions when they realize they got it wrong… only to be ignored by the system.

    Ultimately, we have judges to even these things out… and like all things, it works when it works. In the Littlefield case, I don’t think it worked. But the appeal process is just too important of a safeguard to ditch because bad guys take advantage of it.

    Mr. Chiv is simply stating his opinion… which he is welcome to have and welcome to share… or at least should be.

    Since I have called all sorts of people unpleasant things (and the Tuluwat Examiner isn’t shy about that either) I think our questioning Mr. Chiv on the use of his adjectives just exposes how flimsy our own glass houses are.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh… Congratulations Mr. Chiv. You are now a star.

    Like

  5. Yup. The person must have been confused by an unethical defense investigator. I mean, if the investigator works for the defense then he/she has that sleazy taint. It definately couldn’t be the case that the juror was honest with the investigator, and then changed his story after Gallegos spoke with him. Gallegos is one of the ‘good guys’ and the defense side are filled with ‘villains’.

    Liked by 3 people

    • True. It might have been the way you describe. My intuition about the situation is that the juror was saying something closer to “the defense didn’t make a good case” rather than that “they didn’t prove him innocent.” But I never have been on a jury and I believe the commenters above illustrated how people do expect the trial to prove innocence. With the Littlefield case I could see it would be easy to conclude his guilt within the first five minutes of the trial and spend the rest wondering if anyone will provide a believable counter to one’s own quick decision. And then say something like that juror did. But yes I cannot assert that Gallegos’ side is “good.”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Give JC some slack, he religiously attends all these trials so we don’t have to. However, does he have to knit while attending?

    Like

    • I would say John attends religiously. I have a well of love and respect for the religiously observant, half of my family is, but my opinion is that John’s political and civic advocacy stems from his religious convictions. That is well and good, but I think it should be noted that his writings are in the end as political as mine. While I try to advocate from an ideological stand point, I contend both a) John’s writings are advocacy, b) it’s advocacy from a religious conservative point of view.

      Again, nothing wrong with a religious or conservative point of view. John comes from a good place and is a good person, him and I will simply more often than not being diametrically opposed on the issues.

      The reason John used to get the My Words and former Green Presidential candidate David Cobb’s were unceremoniously removed is the conservative status quo of Eureka needs spokespeople to marginalize the left. One tried and true way to do this is to make the argument of what is right and wrong based on morals before ethics.

      Like

  7. The biggest underlying reason most criminal indictments don’t go to trial is because of the uncertainty of jury decisions. Personally, I wouldn’t want to go to trial where my only defense is to raise doubt that the evidence against me doesn’t completely exclude other possibilities.

    The people who go to trial are usually either those whose lawyers aren’t competent to negotiate a reasonable plea or those who think only law enforcement could believe the charges against them are true.

    Like

    • I wouldn’t want to go to trial by jury if I was innocent, for sure. The caliber of jurors is disgraceful. The number who don’t pay attention and miss important testimony and/or just want to hurry up and convict so they can get out of there is horrific.

      Plea bargaining is another problem with DA’s bargaining exaggerated charges down to lesser and innocent people with overworked PDs encouraging them to plead rather than gamble for a long prison sentence if they lose before a jury.

      Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s