Normally I won’t post about my criminal law practice. However, making the Chronicle seems to be a good reason to make an exception.
The Cliff’s notes version of the story is I had jury duty, and the picture below was displayed in the jury assembly room.
No one wants to do harm to any of the charities listed. However, the district clerk has a history of inappropriately tainting jury pools, and the picture above taints a jury pool. The above picture is disturbing because it is a similar type of activity as has lead to mistrials in the past. This picture was unknown by the defense bar, and who knows how many trials have been tainted by the messaging given by the District Clerk’s office. Defendants deserve a fair and impartial jury.
In today’s society, politics are too extreme on both ends of the spectrum. I have a belief that when a problem is identified it’s more important to take action and resolve the problem than making political points. Society is better served when problem solutions originate from common ground. To that end, I approached one of the criminal judges – who asked to remain unnamed – and reported my concerns. The judge raised the issue, and the Chronicle article came about from the chain of events.
I’m the defense attorney referred to in the article. I almost didn’t post because I didn’t do this for publicity. However, the issue is important. If a mistrial is declared or if a case is overturned on appeal because of a tainted jury pool the case is almost certain to be retried. Right now I’m considering appealing a conviction for sexual assault of a minor where I am convinced the defendant is not guilty based on the A World for Children charity language. If the conviction is overturned that means another jury trial has to occur.
These are incredibly difficult cases to sit through, and are tough on all parties involved. All parties suffer – defendant, alleged victim, district attorney(s) trying the case, defense counsel, and court personnel. Cases like this take a toll on everyone. It creates real, lasting, harm to everyone who has to go through one of these trials. The District Attorney’s office regularly rotates prosecutors in and out of the division because of the sheer accumulation of impact the cases have on the prosecutors.
Society is better for the issue being addressed in a quiet solution oriented manner. That’s my philosophy for life, and my philosophy for resolving criminal matters. Always be ready to try the case and have a technically sound sound, robust defense; but if at all possible try to craft a solution with the prosecutor that benefits society and has as minimal an impact as possible on the defendant.
I want to thank the judge involved for their assistance in this matter.