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January 13, 2009

Exotic jurors: the ample, the deaf, the nasty.

Incontinent jurors are different than you and me, Ernestine. Lots of weird jury lore out there this week. The facts range from socially uncomfortable to spectacularly unsavory. Where will it end?

First, Milwaukee's Anne Reed wrote about jurors who are Powerless over Twinkies.

Next, at Simple Justice, our anti-PC comrade Scott Greenfield of New York City writes about "The Politically Correct Jury", inspired by a tragic Ohio drowning case in which a homicide conviction was recently set aside. Reason: a hearing-impaired juror couldn't pick up vocal subtleties in a 911 tape of the defendant, a key bit of evidence. Nor could the Ohio trial court have expected that of her. Greenfield:

What bone in their head compelled a judge to allow a hearing-disabled person to sit on a jury? It's the same bone that allows blind people, non-English speaking, non-fluent-English speaking, incontinent, people with attention deficit with or without hyperactivity, and a variety of others to sit on a jury. It's the bone that makes them believe that pigs may indeed be capable of flight and people should not be defined by their challenges in every situation.

I abhor discrimination against people who are disabled. But I similarly recognize that there is a reason why they are called disabilities. There are some things that they cannot do well. It's not their fault, and they should not suffer for being disabled. But they similarly should not be placed in situations where their disabilities preclude their ability to perform a function adequately.

Finally, at ALM's Legal Blog Watch, Boston's Bob Ambrogi, who could probably write a successful and critically-acclaimed novel, gives us "The Case of the Stinky Juror". It begins with his usual spare prose: "Something smelled fishy in the courtroom of Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Nancy Staffier-Holtz." And: "The smell pierced through even into the judge's lobby." Dang. Air Wicks, maybe? At least for federal courts?

Query: Just how do you cover this stuff at the Trial Practice course you're giving over at old Siwash?


Blue-ribbon juror in many U.S. jurisdictions.

(Photo: NYC's Scott Greenfield in formal "high-prole" federal court garb, readying for voir dire in Missouri.)

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzb├╝hel Desk) at January 13, 2009 07:10 PM


Sorry, Scott, but the FCC has been on us lately.

Posted by: Holden Oliver at January 14, 2009 02:46 AM

Haven't I asked you not to use that picture of me anymore. I much prefer the other one, without the waders.

Posted by: shg at January 13, 2009 09:59 PM

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