Saturday, November 15, 2008

Racism as trial strategy.

Here is an article about a Ute man who was convicted of assaulting a BIA employee on the Ute Mountain reservation. After the trial, a juror came forward and told attorneys that other members of the jury had made racist remarks concerning Indians.

The jury foreman allegedly remarked that "when Indians get alcohol, they all get drunk." Another member of the jury allegedly asked "what would happen if we found him not guilty? What kind of message would we be sending back to the reservation?" Thanks for the paternalism.

After hearing testimony concerning these remarks the District Court granted a new trial, and the government appealed. Relying on Rule 606 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that the juror's testimony concerning jury deliberations is inadmissible in any proceeding, and that the defendant could not therefore establish bias on the part of the jury.

That's all well and good, and there are certainly good reasons to keep the substance of jury deliberations private. Where I have an issue is with the United States Attorney's office opposing the new trial. Some of the most inspiring language issued by the Supreme Court has to do with the purpose of a prosecutor, which is not to obtain convictions, but to seek justice. What the United States Attorney for the District of Utah has done is to subvert justice, for the sake of keeping a conviction.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

At least Sheridan came right out and said it.

I hate being right all the time.

No mention of tribes on Obama transition website.

Check it.