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Should we get rid of trial by jury?


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  #21  
June 14th, 2010, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beneath_The_Rose View Post
I will not claim to be an expert having never even been in a jury myself but for what my 2 cents is worth I have sometimes wondered if juries are ever really fair. There are many things that certain people will just be prejudiced on regardless of the evidence. Juries will almost always favor women who claim to be raped, a jury will always listen to a child who claims to have been abused by someone even if there is no evidence against the person at all.

Every day men and women are easily swayed by emotions when knowing nothing about legal jargon and it just sets up an unfair position.
That scenarion is EXACTLY what happened to my uncle. Twenty years ago he was a guardian of a teenaged girl. Him and his wife provided a home for her, paid for her college, everything. After an ugly divorce from his wife, she claimed he had molested the girl. The girl went along with it whether it was brainwashing or $$, I don't know. He was even out of the country when these supposed events occured.

But it was all he said/she said. Because of that, the cards were stacked against him. His lawyer told him he would likely be convicted on a jury trial, and get the maximum sentence because he was a cop, 30 years. He pled guilty and got three. No evidence, no proof. He will forever be tarnished a child molester.

He gets out on December 23rd of this year. Just in time for Christmas and one month before his first grandchild is due.
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  #22  
June 14th, 2010, 10:48 AM
AMDG's Avatar Margaret
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsSarah1 View Post
That scenarion is EXACTLY what happened to my uncle. Twenty years ago he was a guardian of a teenaged girl. Him and his wife provided a home for her, paid for her college, everything. After an ugly divorce from his wife, she claimed he had molested the girl. The girl went along with it whether it was brainwashing or $$, I don't know. He was even out of the country when these supposed events occured.

But it was all he said/she said. Because of that, the cards were stacked against him. His lawyer told him he would likely be convicted on a jury trial, and get the maximum sentence because he was a cop, 30 years. He pled guilty and got three. No evidence, no proof. He will forever be tarnished a child molester.

He gets out on December 23rd of this year. Just in time for Christmas and one month before his first grandchild is due.
Not to diminish what happened to your uncle but that isn't EXACTLY what happened to him or anywhere close. Your uncle never had a jury trial did he? so how can you say that is what happened to him. He took his lawyers advice and entered a plea but you cannot claim that the quote you bolded happened to your uncle because your uncle never had a jury trial!!!
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  #23  
June 14th, 2010, 10:52 AM
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Don't both sides have to agree to the jurors? So if the prosecution wants a jury box full of young SAHMs, doesn't the defense have to agree to have them there? Wouldn't it make for a bad defense lawyer who let his client stand up in front of a jury who would obviously convict him?
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  #24  
June 14th, 2010, 10:54 AM
AMDG's Avatar Margaret
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beneath_The_Rose View Post
I will not claim to be an expert having never even been in a jury myself but for what my 2 cents is worth I have sometimes wondered if juries are ever really fair. There are many things that certain people will just be prejudiced on regardless of the evidence. Juries will almost always favor women who claim to be raped, a jury will always listen to a child who claims to have been abused by someone even if there is no evidence against the person at all.

Every day men and women are easily swayed by emotions when knowing nothing about legal jargon and it just sets up an unfair position.

I'm sorry but this is just not true or anywhere close. Rape is extremely hard to prove to a jury. It is such a hard crime because by the very nature of the act there is rarely a witness and it always involves physical contact and force of some kind (not force meaning against the persons will but trusting, exertion of energy etc). So many victims of rape would be very offended by your claim - many would claim the system is unfairly against them. In reality I think it is just such a hard crime to prove beyond a reasonable doubt especially when there was no actual physical violence against the person and when the victim knew her/his attacker - which is very frequent.
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  #25  
June 14th, 2010, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by AMDG View Post
I'm sorry but this is just not true or anywhere close. Rape is extremely hard to prove to a jury. It is such a hard crime because by the very nature of the act there is rarely a witness and it always involves physical contact and force of some kind (not force meaning against the persons will but trusting, exertion of energy etc). So many victims of rape would be very offended by your claim - many would claim the system is unfairly against them. In reality I think it is just such a hard crime to prove beyond a reasonable doubt especially when there was no actual physical violence against the person and when the victim knew her/his attacker - which is very frequent.
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  #26  
June 14th, 2010, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMDG View Post
I'm sorry but this is just not true or anywhere close. Rape is extremely hard to prove to a jury. It is such a hard crime because by the very nature of the act there is rarely a witness and it always involves physical contact and force of some kind (not force meaning against the persons will but trusting, exertion of energy etc). So many victims of rape would be very offended by your claim - many would claim the system is unfairly against them. In reality I think it is just such a hard crime to prove beyond a reasonable doubt especially when there was no actual physical violence against the person and when the victim knew her/his attacker - which is very frequent.
THANK YOU!! My jaw hit the floor when I read that statement.

Been there. Done that. I will tell you, from firsthand experience, a victim of rape is not a favored shoe-in within our society and judicial process. I was the one put on trial, during the investigation and thereafter. I was guilty, until proven otherwise, of being a **** who had buyer's remorse.

There were two men, with conflicting stories (one denied the rape completely and the other one said that he didn't rape me but his friend did) and one was on probation. They were both arrested and jailed for about an hour, one jumped bond and there were no consequences. The investigation consisted of asking me what I was wearing, if I was a virgin, how many previous sexual partners I had prior to the rape and if I was dancing or behaving inappropriately on the night of the rape. When the case was taken before the grand jury, I was not allowed to be present for the presentation but the defendants were because they had the right to defend themselves against the allegations, statements and evidence presented. It never went past the grand jury.



To the OP: Trial by jury is a constitutional right and, for the same reasons Jess stated, I would never advocate for that being eliminated.

ETA: it censored out the "W" word used to describe a "loose woman".
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  #27  
June 14th, 2010, 04:31 PM
WineKeepsMeSane's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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^^

As a side note, the discussions of what it's been like to be on a jury have made me realize something. In October I may be on trial for murder. I don't deal with stupidity well, and if I'm locked in a room with people I have to walk through logical steps with over and over again, someone may die....

As for them picking - I do know a lot of engineers that have served jury duty.
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  #28  
June 14th, 2010, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amegra View Post
^^

As a side note, the discussions of what it's been like to be on a jury have made me realize something. In October I may be on trial for murder. I don't deal with stupidity well, and if I'm locked in a room with people I have to walk through logical steps with over and over again, someone may die....

As for them picking - I do know a lot of engineers that have served jury duty.
I think you meant you'll be on jury duty for a murder trial, eh?
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  #29  
June 14th, 2010, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keskes View Post
Don't both sides have to agree to the jurors? So if the prosecution wants a jury box full of young SAHMs, doesn't the defense have to agree to have them there? Wouldn't it make for a bad defense lawyer who let his client stand up in front of a jury who would obviously convict him?
I thought Margaret would tackle this one, but I can give the short answer, as well. Each lawyer gets to veto a set number of potential jurors for absolutely no reason. Otherwise, if the lawyer can demonstrate a prejudice toward either the prosecution or the defense, then that juror will be excused.
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  #30  
June 14th, 2010, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Jess is Write View Post
I thought Margaret would tackle this one, but I can give the short answer, as well. Each lawyer gets to veto a set number of potential jurors for absolutely no reason. Otherwise, if the lawyer can demonstrate a prejudice toward either the prosecution or the defense, then that juror will be excused.
I thought it was something along those lines, but I also thought that a "prejudice" could be something like "she obviously has a soft spot for puppies and therefore will be biased against my client who killed a puppy." Or does it have to be a prejudice against the actual person involved.. i.e. "She used to date the defendant/defense lawyer."
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  #31  
June 14th, 2010, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by AMDG View Post
Not to diminish what happened to your uncle but that isn't EXACTLY what happened to him or anywhere close. Your uncle never had a jury trial did he? so how can you say that is what happened to him. He took his lawyers advice and entered a plea but you cannot claim that the quote you bolded happened to your uncle because your uncle never had a jury trial!!!

Wow, maybe it's the way I'm reading it, but I find your post very offensive.

Yes, this is exactly what happened to him. He did enter a jury trial, and because of the nature of the crime, and the lack of evidence, the result would have been what the bolded had said if there hadn't been a plea.

I will break it down for you as apparently this is needed:
a jury will always listen to a child who claims to have been abused by someone even if there is no evidence against the person at all.

1: There was zero evidence against my uncle. Nothing.

2: His lawyer had been a defensive lawyer for these types of cases for 20+ years. I can find her name and I'll find the exact time period if this will further make my post valid, but I know that she has been in that deep, dark corner of the law for a while.

3: By advice of his lawyer, who has a lot of experience in these exact scenarios, she advised him to plea knowing that the outcome would not be good.

4: My uncle went to about five actual trial dates, even went as far as picking the jury and having one day of actual trial. Again, there was no evidence. Just stories, character witnesses (I was called, but DD decided to make her grand entrance the same day as the trial) and personal accounts. After one day of the prosecution calling up basically every person that has ever hated my uncle (easy to do, he is a police officer), my uncle got scared.

As much as we want to believe it, you truly are guilty until proven innocent

Again, I'm not sure if it's just the tone of font or what, but I find your post extremely offensive and quite rude.

My uncle was in fact put in that situation and ended up pleaing to avoid the outcome that we all knew would come about. So yes, that is EXACTLY what happened to my uncle.
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  #32  
June 15th, 2010, 04:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (.Y.)mom2dd(.Y.) View Post
I think you meant you'll be on jury duty for a murder trial, eh?
Nope, I'm set for jury duty in September, and if I'm locked in a room full of idiots I may be on trial for killing one of them in October. Well, it wouldn't be October, our system isn't that fast
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  #33  
June 15th, 2010, 06:06 AM
AMDG's Avatar Margaret
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsSarah1 View Post
Wow, maybe it's the way I'm reading it, but I find your post very offensive.

Yes, this is exactly what happened to him. He did enter a jury trial, and because of the nature of the crime, and the lack of evidence, the result would have been what the bolded had said if there hadn't been a plea.

I will break it down for you as apparently this is needed:
a jury will always listen to a child who claims to have been abused by someone even if there is no evidence against the person at all.

1: There was zero evidence against my uncle. Nothing.

2: His lawyer had been a defensive lawyer for these types of cases for 20+ years. I can find her name and I'll find the exact time period if this will further make my post valid, but I know that she has been in that deep, dark corner of the law for a while.

3: By advice of his lawyer, who has a lot of experience in these exact scenarios, she advised him to plea knowing that the outcome would not be good.

4: My uncle went to about five actual trial dates, even went as far as picking the jury and having one day of actual trial. Again, there was no evidence. Just stories, character witnesses (I was called, but DD decided to make her grand entrance the same day as the trial) and personal accounts. After one day of the prosecution calling up basically every person that has ever hated my uncle (easy to do, he is a police officer), my uncle got scared.

As much as we want to believe it, you truly are guilty until proven innocent

Again, I'm not sure if it's just the tone of font or what, but I find your post extremely offensive and quite rude.

My uncle was in fact put in that situation and ended up pleaing to avoid the outcome that we all knew would come about. So yes, that is EXACTLY what happened to my uncle.
I really honestly am not trying to offend you but you are clearly being blinded by the emotions of the situation that happened in your family and clearly not concerned about the truth or reality.
Unless I missed something you are not a judge, you are not a lawyer, you are not in law enforcement or investigations yet you claim to KNOW that a jury will always listen to a child and that a person is guilty until proven innocent. THAT IS B***S***!!!! plain and simple. do you have anything to back up that claim? anything at all? is that what YOU would do if you were on a jury?
Your uncle did not have a jury trial - he changed his plea to guilty. That is not saying anything offensive about your uncle - that is the facts - is it not?!? You have made it pretty clear that is what happened. Guess what? Lawyers are not God! even ones that have been practicing for 20 + years. Guess what else? it is a FACT that the district attorney's office will not bring a case to trial when there is "zero evidence." I have no idea about any of the facts of your case so I'm not making a judgment about the facts but I can comment on what you have said and pretty much most of it is false. Once again - It is not anything close to exactly what happened to your uncle based on the facts you gave.
As a former deputy district attorney and now county attorney, your posts offend me! I dont expect all people to agree with our justice system but don't lie about it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess is Write View Post
I thought Margaret would tackle this one, but I can give the short answer, as well. Each lawyer gets to veto a set number of potential jurors for absolutely no reason. Otherwise, if the lawyer can demonstrate a prejudice toward either the prosecution or the defense, then that juror will be excused.
oh, I must have missed this - I was wrapped up in another thread
I agree.
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  #34  
June 15th, 2010, 06:19 AM
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Holy cow, I can't believe anyone believes a child on the stand makes a credible witness. It's the exact opposite. Child molestation cases are so incredibly difficult to gain a conviction on. In my experience, hours and hours of hearings take place to prevent the child from having to testify, and the prosecution must attempt to get hearsay admitted. Most defense attorneys latch onto the fact that most children tell a lie at some point, even if it's just saying they pretend to be a horse sometimes. A child who participates in pretend play (and what child doesn't) can bring the prosecution's case crashing down.

Kes, it just depends on the type of prejudice and what the judge will allow. Anyone who knows anyone involved with the case is automatically dismissed. In your example, if the juror works at an animal shelter and the defendant adopted the puppy he killed from that shelter, the juror will be dismissed, even if they've never met. Each juror fills out a questionnaire prior to jury selection and the lawyers reference it when asking questions.
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  #35  
June 15th, 2010, 07:21 AM
(.Y.)mom2dd(.Y.)
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Originally Posted by Jess is Write View Post
Holy cow, I can't believe anyone believes a child on the stand makes a credible witness. It's the exact opposite. Child molestation cases are so incredibly difficult to gain a conviction on. In my experience, hours and hours of hearings take place to prevent the child from having to testify, and the prosecution must attempt to get hearsay admitted. Most defense attorneys latch onto the fact that most children tell a lie at some point, even if it's just saying they pretend to be a horse sometimes. A child who participates in pretend play (and what child doesn't) can bring the prosecution's case crashing down.
I have to agree. I have been trying so hard not to teach my dd incorrect terminology about privates because the police officers I've spoke to said kids using incorrect terminology can be manipulated by the defense so easily, possibly ruining the case.
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  #36  
June 15th, 2010, 08:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMDG View Post
I'm sorry but this is just not true or anywhere close. Rape is extremely hard to prove to a jury. It is such a hard crime because by the very nature of the act there is rarely a witness and it always involves physical contact and force of some kind (not force meaning against the persons will but trusting, exertion of energy etc). So many victims of rape would be very offended by your claim - many would claim the system is unfairly against them. In reality I think it is just such a hard crime to prove beyond a reasonable doubt especially when there was no actual physical violence against the person and when the victim knew her/his attacker - which is very frequent.

I understand what you are saying and I was not in anyway trying to offend anyone who has been raped. It's just that I do know some people who have lied about being raped. Not to a jury but to people around. One of them is DF's sister no less. Claimed she got raped at a party in a driveway. DF's step father who is a cop tried to make her go to court to convict him of rape but she claimed she didn't want to go through the ordeal and whatnot. HER parents believed her, a few friends believed her, Df never believed her once and his family was angry that he wouldn't take his sisters side. But he knew his sister better than that and had heard from actual eyewitnesses at the party that she was the one who led HIM on and had sex. She is now dating the guy who supposedly "raped" her. And is now saying that he never raped her. Df's parents were shocked of course but we knew it was no surprise. Had she gone to court he more than likely would have got convicted of rape and he never raped her.

This is only one example of many instances where woman have lied about rape in order to not get in trouble for having sexual relations. I'm not trying to diminish rape at all i'm actually angry that anyone would LIE about being raped having been raped myself (but decided against court. I was young and it's a very long story) because people lying is one of the reason rape cases are hard to prove and it hurts the real victims. But just because there are indeed REAL victims of rape in the world doesn't take away from the fact that there are other victims who aren't actually the ones who are raped. They are the men (and sometimes woman) whose reputations are being tarnished by a lie and they have no way and almost no hope of anyone to believe their innocence because rape is such a horrendous crime that our immediate instinct as human beings is to just "lock up the rapist" and be done with it without WANTING to hear what they have to say. Even more so when the case is with children and young adults because everyone wants to believe that a little child wouldn't lie but if they are being swayed by someone with ill intentions or just a really sick sort of revenge for something it can and has happened.

I didn't mean to offend anyone.
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Last edited by Beneath_The_Rose; June 15th, 2010 at 08:15 AM.
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  #37  
June 15th, 2010, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by AMDG View Post
I really honestly am not trying to offend you but you are clearly being blinded by the emotions of the situation that happened in your family and clearly not concerned about the truth or reality.
Unless I missed something you are not a judge, you are not a lawyer, you are not in law enforcement or investigations yet you claim to KNOW that a jury will always listen to a child and that a person is guilty until proven innocent. THAT IS B***S***!!!! plain and simple. do you have anything to back up that claim? anything at all? is that what YOU would do if you were on a jury?
Your uncle did not have a jury trial - he changed his plea to guilty. That is not saying anything offensive about your uncle - that is the facts - is it not?!? You have made it pretty clear that is what happened. Guess what? Lawyers are not God! even ones that have been practicing for 20 + years. Guess what else? it is a FACT that the district attorney's office will not bring a case to trial when there is "zero evidence." I have no idea about any of the facts of your case so I'm not making a judgment about the facts but I can comment on what you have said and pretty much most of it is false. Once again - It is not anything close to exactly what happened to your uncle based on the facts you gave.
As a former deputy district attorney and now county attorney, your posts offend me! I dont expect all people to agree with our justice system but don't lie about it!
Wow. I don't even know how to respond to this.

I don't have faith in the justice system at all. I do like jury trials, but I feel that way too many innocent people are put in jail and way too many guilty people are let go.

I am not lying. Why would I lie? I can get the phone number to my uncles attorney, or pull up news articles if you would like. I am not lying and I find it extremely infuriating that you would call me a liar.

What I said is true. No, my uncle did not get convicted of a crime in a jury trial, but for fear of being convicted, he pled guilty.

I am just floored at your attitude and your blatant disregard of my feelings. I am shocked that you would dare call me a liar and disregard my opinions. How dare you.

I really think you should step away from the debate boards and regain your self control as here we do not attack people and call them liars, we debate topics in a civil manner and if you're unable to accomplish that then maybe you should step away until you can.
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  #38  
June 15th, 2010, 05:02 PM
AMDG's Avatar Margaret
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I will quote you:

I will break it down for you as apparently this is needed:
a jury will always listen to a child who claims to have been abused by someone even if there is no evidence against the person at all.

THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE. Again, I will ask you - do you have anything ANYTHING to back this up? telling me about your uncle's case doesn't do much to prove your claim. First off, you dont' know if a jury would have believed your uncle - they never heard his side of the story. Secondly, do you think one single example of where a jury may have listened to a child even if there is "no evidence" (although, like I said, this isn't possible in the first place) is enough to back up such a claim as you make above.
You are right - I should not have said "don't lie about it" - it may not be that you are intentionally repeating things that are false. But here on the debate boards it is customary to request people back up their wild claims with facts.

I am trying to be civil - we are both offended by eachother's words. Do you even see how your claims could be offensive to me as a prosecutor? Your claim above assumes that prosecutors (like myself) would bring a case to trial without having any evidence. And it isn't as though your claims were made just about the one case you were close to.
I'd love to read about your uncle's case - it sounds like he was treated unfairly but that doesn't change the fact that the claims you made were false. Again I apologize for using the word lie because it seems like you really believe it but false nonetheless.
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  #39  
June 15th, 2010, 05:11 PM
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  #40  
June 15th, 2010, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMDG View Post
I will quote you:

I will break it down for you as apparently this is needed:
a jury will always listen to a child who claims to have been abused by someone even if there is no evidence against the person at all.

THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE. Again, I will ask you - do you have anything ANYTHING to back this up? telling me about your uncle's case doesn't do much to prove your claim. First off, you dont' know if a jury would have believed your uncle - they never heard his side of the story. Secondly, do you think one single example of where a jury may have listened to a child even if there is "no evidence" (although, like I said, this isn't possible in the first place) is enough to back up such a claim as you make above.
You are right - I should not have said "don't lie about it" - it may not be that you are intentionally repeating things that are false. But here on the debate boards it is customary to request people back up their wild claims with facts.

I am trying to be civil - we are both offended by eachother's words. Do you even see how your claims could be offensive to me as a prosecutor? Your claim above assumes that prosecutors (like myself) would bring a case to trial without having any evidence. And it isn't as though your claims were made just about the one case you were close to.
I'd love to read about your uncle's case - it sounds like he was treated unfairly but that doesn't change the fact that the claims you made were false. Again I apologize for using the word lie because it seems like you really believe it but false nonetheless.
I think you should re-read my original post. I support jury trials, I think they are as fair as fair can be. I did NOT write the bolded statement, I was quoting someone else. I do NOT agree with the bolded statement 100% because I think it's a generalized blanket statement. I think most of the time, a fair and true trial is held. But sometimes, a jaded jury leans to the "she-said" when there is a lack of evidence and the only "proof" on either said is verbal statements and no physical evidence.

No, I'm not a lawyer. I have zero knowledge of the justice system aside from the few cases I have been involved in through family members/friends (on either side, defense/prosecution) and being a juror in a trial before.

The OP asked the question to us. A mixed population with no prerequisite for a degree in law. I do not have an education to back up my statements. If you would like an official law school opinion, you won't find it here.

I don't see why you're attacking me. All I said was that my uncle was in a situation that turned ugly because of the lack of evidence and my uncles fear that it would result in a 30 year sentence. I never once said that I thought that jury trials were bad. Or that Jurors ALWAYS believe a child/victim.. I did not say that. I simply quoted it, and mentioned my uncles case.

I am done with this. I have not done anything to cause you to speak so rudely to me, and I never once spoke rudely to you and insulted you the way that you have insulted me.
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