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No Jury for Me

July 11th, 2007 · 5 Comments

I heard back from the court today, and as I expected they do not want me for the case. The case is described in the Tempe Tribune.

The defendant is charged with murder and the prosecution is seeking the death penalty. In Arizona (and I think every state after a recent Supreme Court ruling), the jury has to decide the penalty, not just guilt. A death penalty has to be a unanimous jury decision. I stated on the questionnaire that I do not support the death penalty and would not vote for it, so obviously the prosecution would reject me.

I can understand feeling so badly about a crime that you want the perpetrator to die, and if this guy is guilty he is a real scumbag. However, data shows that the death penalty is not a deterrent, and the only other reason would be revenge. To me, that results in the state itself committing murder.

Data shows that a large percentage of the people in the US feel the same way I do. When asked if they would support the death penalty when there was an alternative such as life without parole plus restitution, more people chose that alternative than the death penalty. That’s probably one reason why they had a pool of 80 people to select 12 jurors and 4 alternates.

So I still have never got to serve on a jury! Maybe next time…

Tags: Family Updates · Opinion

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Daryl // Jul 11, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    Interestingly, note that Derek is being charged with killing Devon…

  • 2 Don // Jul 12, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    I’m for the death penalty and not as a deterrent but as both a punishment and to keep the people from having to support someone who has forfeited their right to life.

    When you say a “large percentage feel the way you do” you forgot to mention a “large percentage also feel opposite of the way you do”. The page you linked to says 44% are opposed to the death penalty and 41% are for it which leaves 15% unsure. If they are unsure that means they aren’t diametrically opposed to it which means they are probably for it in some cases so I’m just gonna say 56% are for it and 44% are opposed.

  • 3 Grandma // Jul 12, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    Interesting that the South has a much higher number of crimes. I hope that in this instance, we are considered West.

  • 4 Daryl // Jul 12, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    Don — you’re right that the data on public opinion as presented is slanted. I think that when just asked if they oppose the death penalty in all cases, a much smaller number (1/3?) agree. Of course, this is only true in the US. In Europe and most of the world there is much less support for capital punishment.

    There is a contention that it costs more to execute a prisoner than to incarcerate him for life, so “having to support” them is a questionable argument. Also, saying they have “forfeited their right to life” is just a reiteration of the position that the death penalty is appropriate.

    A big problem I have with the current system is that anyone who opposes the death penalty is automatically excluded from the jury. This produces a skewed jury even for deciding guilt or innocence. Studies have shown that such juries are more likely to convict. This is not a jury of peers. I don’t think jurors should be asked their position on the issue as a part of the selection process.

  • 5 Don // Jul 12, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    In that link I kept reading how much it costs for a death penalty trial but I couldn’t find how much it costs to keep a person locked up for the rest of their life. I’m sure it’s in there but of course it’s played down because when you compare the 2 it’s probably not a very large difference.

    I’ve gotta say I like it when someone is excluded if they express an opinion that is contrary to the current laws of a state. What’s the difference between that and saying you don’t think someone who commits murder should even be arrested? You know, the old slippery slope argument.

    If Arizona has a death penalty and you don’t believe in it then work to change the law, don’t complain that they exclude you.