Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: America

Jury system

Zaccharias Moussavi trial shows how one juror can make the system ineffective. The juror opposed death penalty and did not assign any reason. Hence Zaccharias Moussavi was sentenced to life.

There is one film in which Demi Moore acts the role of a juror. A criminal is on trial. William Baldwin acts the role of an associate of the criminal. William Baldwin befriends Demi Moore and later threatens her in taking the side of the criminal. Demi Moore wants to opt out of the jury. She approached the judge. The judge tells her he had warned her and whatever she has to say has to be in the presence of defence and prosecution lawyers. Demi Moore is not ready for that. She follows instructions of Alec Baldwin. She is asked to carry a devise which enables William Baldwin to hear jury deliberations. Demi Moore convinces most of her colleagues that the criminal is innocent and the criminal is acquitted.

Zaccharias Moussavi case also may have suffered due to the juror who was threatened.

Rodney King episode shocked USA and led to riots. Blacks could not believe that the found the policemen who hit Rodney King not guilty. Later some blacks who hit a white man in a similar manner were aquitted by jury.

It is good to discard jury system. If USA, UK and other countries want to continue with the jury system the rules must change.

The jury decision should be by majority. It need not be by unanimity even if the punishment is death penalty. If the jury can not decide, the judge should decide.

The jurors should be free to decide as per law. They should not be restricted. In Rodney King case the jurors were asked to identify which act of the police was excessive force. Breaking down the act into 56 parts and asking which part was excessive force was wrong.

To be a juror for several days the person has to be rich or self-employed or unemployed or must take leave from job. One who has to attend to his business or work regularly can not be a juror.

In one case, murder of child of Eappen couple, jury reached the decision that Louise Brown was guilty of second degree murder. BBC threw objectivity to the wind and sided with Louise Brown stating she could not have committed the murder. They did not know how difficult it is to control a crying baby. Judge overruled jury and Louise Brown was allowed to walk free.

Bush visit

English: Official photograph portrait of forme...

Official photograph portrait of former U.S. President George W. Bush.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

President George Bush visited India and nuclear deal was signed. There were protests against the visit. Our government had invited him. It was not proper to protest.

Bush has nothing to do with Danish cartoons. Protests in that regard were targeted wrongly.

Whether the nuclear deal is good for India is debatable. It needs to be ratified by US Senate before it comes into force.

War crimes

The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ...

The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed tens of thousands of Japanese civilians. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After World War II there were trials for war crimes and many were punished. None belonging to victors were punished. All belonged to vanquished. Not that soldiers of USA, UK, USSR, France and other countries who were their allies did not commit any war crime. USSR soldiers raped two million German women. Australian soldiers raped women in Bombay. Atrocities committed by allied soldiers were not less than that of axis soldiers. Dropping of atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were greatest war crimes for which everyone from President of USA to the pilots who dropped atom bombs should have been punished. That did not happen.

Presently some from countries like Serbia and Montenegro and Croatia are facing trial for war crimes. Nobody is tried for war crimes committed by USA in Iraq.

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