How To Blow A Trial

One of the news stories on the current Enron trial relates that the judge in charge told prospective jurors not to seek "vengeance":

More than 100 jurors packed a cavernous courtroom to undergo questioning by U.S. District Judge Sim Lake, who has said he plans to seat a panel of 12 jurors and four alternates by day's end. If he succeeds, the long-awaited trial of Enron's former top two corporate titans will get under way Tuesday.

Lake told the pool that the jury box was no place for anyone seeking vengeance.

"We are not looking for people who want to right a wrong or provide remedies for those who suffered from the collapse of Enron," he said.

Whatever the results of the trial, Judge Lake has given the Enron defense attorneys grounds for appealing the trial or asking for a mistrial.

Howcum? Because it can be argued that by raising the issue of "right[ing] a wrong", Judge Lake implied that Lay and Skilling, the defendants, were guilty. This violates the "presumption of innocence" standard, and will in all probability end up with the trial results eventually being thrown out and a whole new trial [perhaps] being called for.

Thanks a lot, dumbass.

(If I were really really cynical, I'd want to see if Judge Lake's bank account had a BFD -- Big Fat Deposit -- made recently.)

1 comment:

talpianna said...

The more I think about this, Bruce, the more I think you are mistaken. I think that the judge was saying, "We don't want jurors who want to find someone to punish for the collapse of Enron and the losses it caused"--the fact that there was a collapse, and that it did a lot of harm, is not in dispute. What IS at issue is whether or not criminal responsibility on the part of the defendants is involved. So the judge's comment does NOT imply their guilt; it just cautions prospective jurors that no one already intent on blaming someone is eligible.