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Judge Slams City Prosecutors for Excluding Gay Juror

Judge Slams City Prosecutors for Excluding Gay Juror

 

A San Diego judge, dismissing an entire jury panel on Tuesday, has condemned city prosecutors for excluding a gay juror in a case related to a Proposition 8 protest.

Reports the San Francisco Chronicle:

Superior Court Judge Joan Weber ruled defendants in the case were denied a representative jury and called the actions of the city attorney’s office “shocking,” U-T San Diego reported.

Her ruling means the lawyers will have to pick a new panel if the case goes to trial.

[...]

Outside the courtroom Tuesday, Assistant City Attorney Andrew Jones said that the case is only about whether defendants unlawfully blocked the operation of the county clerk’s office.

“It has nothing to do with same-sex marriage,” Jones said.

Attorneys for the accused activists disagreed, saying prosecutors systematically excluded gay people from the jury.

“There has been a fundamental violation of a constitutional right to a jury trial by my client’s peers,” said Todd Moore, an attorney representing one of the defendants.

The case relates to an August 19, 2010, Proposition 8 protest where nine people were arrested for, among other charges, disrupting business at the county clerk’s office. This is a charge the defense denies.

City prosecutors said that the potential juror in question had himself indicated he’d protested in support of gay rights issues and, for this and other answers he gave, he was deemed unsuitable for the case.

Judge Weber said that this was entirely unacceptable because the juror’s prior gay rights advocacy did not indicate that he would be biased on the entirely separate question of whether protesters were in violation of the law or not.

Weber is quoted as saying that she has “never had so many jurors express concerns about why a prosecutor’s office would move forward and spend time and money on a case of this nature.”

City prosecutors have indicated that, following the judge’s recommendations, they are willing to dispense with the jury and settle for pursuing lesser charges against the protesters.

 

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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to s_falkow.

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31 comments

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2:09PM PDT on May 7, 2012

@Tony C.: If you're willing, go read 'Starship' Troopers' and see what you think of the concept of 'moral philosophy' - i.e. from Rico's 'History and Moral Philosophy' classes. How similar is this to your idea? Feel free to ignore most of the rest of the novel, but I always found it a good read.

12:45PM PDT on May 6, 2012

Norma V.: you took the words right out of my mouth :) There really is nothing else to say on this outrageous case.

11:10PM PDT on May 5, 2012

Oh good grief....

11:52PM PDT on May 4, 2012

William Y. I have nothing against those subjects. I was only using them as examples. There only so many subjects a child can take in a day. I was thinking that a class in respect and responsibility and later on in sex education would be the most important class that a child could take. These would prepare them for life. For example one child who is good in sports would help another child who is not. Maybe that other child is good in math or science or other subjects and could help the child who is good in sports. It would be a win win for all children. Children would learn no child should be bullied because of any differences such as gender, race, religion, LGBT , size (big, little, overweight, thinness and others) Early on they would learn to respect the differences, not use it as an excuse to bully. Mandatory Sex education would be taught that children should respect their loved ones and any question a child has about sex should be answered. These classes would continue until graduation and hopefully they would take what they learned into their future lives.

8:28AM PDT on May 4, 2012

@Tony C. Your post makes perfect sense until, "Cut out Geography or History early on then put it back in. Geometry and Algebra can be learned in college if needed." What do you have against these subjects? Geography, History and Math are 3 of the four topics that Americans are poor at, the other is Science. There should be more emphasis on these not less.

3:06AM PDT on May 4, 2012

A class in RESPECT AND RESPONSIBILITY should be taught from Grade one to graduation. Children should be taught that anything is permissible as long as it does not hurt themselves or anyone else. If children are taught at a very early age that every child has their own strengths and weaknesses and that they should use their strengths to help others not to tease or bully them.
It should not matter if a child comes from a FAMILY of a mother and father, 2 mothers or 2 fathers or a single mother or father as long as they are LOVED.
Sex Education should be taught on LGBT, Contraceptives, Masturbation, Pregnancy and all forms of sex. Let us face it whether we like it or not children are curious and are having sex earlier. Children should be taught the JOYS and the CONSEQUENCES of having sex ( Pregnancy, STD, AIDS and others.) Cut out Geography or History early on then put it back in. Geometry and Algebra can be learned in college if needed. I believe this is a solution. Stopping the damage before it starts so that Bullying, Sexual Assault, and many others will be greatly diminished if not eradicated. It is my belief that when children graduate with these principles where they are taught RESPECT for themselves and others and to take RESPONSIBILITY for their actions. If children grow up with these values, I believe business and government would benefit greatly. Within a few generations this world would be a much better place to live in.

1:11AM PDT on May 4, 2012

@ Sandy E. What special rights?

4:11PM PDT on May 3, 2012

ty

4:01PM PDT on May 3, 2012

Sandy E. is always trolling around here & spreading hate.

3:39PM PDT on May 3, 2012

Give me a break, Sandy E! The LBGT community is NOT seeking special rights. It is asking the SAME rights that heterosexual people already enjoy.

'Course, maybe, in a sense, you're right; those ARE pretty special rights, aren't they? (or do you take them for granted?)

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