Monday, October 5, 2009

Cameron Brown Retrial: Mistrial Request Denied

After questioning Juror Number 1, the defense requested a mistrial. The motion was denied. The jurors were strongly admonished to disregard anything they read, may have read, or may have heard regarding the printout of the dictionary definition of malice that was brought into the jury room. Judge Pastor clearly told the jurors the definition was wrong as it relates to this case.

All jurors agreed that they would disregard the information and could continue deliberating.

Sprocket will give an update when she gets home from court.


Katprint said...

Not to second-guess the judge, but I think the taint of the dictionary definition may be impossible for the jury to overcome.

The legal definition of "malice" as in "with malice aforethought" is very different from the dictionary definition.

For example, let's say that my heart is filled with malice (per the dictionary definition) towards my evil exhusband who deliberately made my life a misery until all our children had finally turned age 18. Let's say that every time I hear about bridge collapse or a killer tornado or some other catastrophe in Minnesota, I eagerly check to see if my evil exhusband is listed among the victims. Even if he does eventually get killed by a bridge collapse or killer tornado or flash flood or falling off Mr. Rushmore or whatever, I cannot be held criminally liable for wishing him ill.

CaliGirl9 said...

Using words like “malice” or phrases such as “with malice aforethought” are put there to confuse people who have not lived through SAT preparatory coursework.

It’s like the word “turpitude” and the phrase “moral turpitude” that was tossed about freely during the molestation trial of Dr. William Ayres when describing one of the victims who has gone on to a life of crime and is now in prison. Why not just say “morally depraved?” How often are the words malice or turpitude used in everyday conversation? I can’t remember the last time I used the word malice in a normal conversation. I prefer the word “spite” or “grudge.”

I’m not suggesting that law itself be so oversimplified so everyone can run out and purchase a copy of “Law for Dummies.” But I am suggesting that the courts and lawyers simplify language used in front of a jury.

Wouldn’t it have been so much easier to say Cameron Brown acted with spite or had a grudge toward Lauren’s mother?