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  • Tuesday, December 20, 2005

    Philly prosecutor calling fair juries "ridiculous"

    The following is an excerpt from a training video featuring Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Jack McMahon telling how to pick a jury. From Democracy Now!:

    JACK McMAHON: [inaudible] to get a competent, fair and impartial jury. Well, that's ridiculous. You are there to win, and in order to win -- and the defense is there to win, too -- and the only way you’re going to do your best is to get jurors that are as unfair and more likely to convict than anybody else in that room. Let's face it again. There's the blacks from the low-income areas are less likely to convict. It's just -- I don't understand it. It’s an understandable proposition. There's a resentment for law enforcement, there’s a resentment for authority, and as a result, you don't want those people on your jury, and it may appear as if you’re being racist or whatnot but again you are just being realistic, you're just trying to win the case.

    If you are sitting down and you’re gonna take blacks, you want older blacks. You want older black men and women, particularly men. Older black women, on the other hand, when you have like a black defendant who is a young boy and they can identify as, you know, a motherly type thing, are a little bit more difficult. The men don't have that same kind of maternal instinct towards them, and they are a little bit more demanding and a little more law and order.

    You don't want smart people, because smart people will analyze the hell out of your case. They have a higher standard. They hold you up to a higher standard. They hold the courts up to a higher standard, because they are intelligent people. They take those words “reasonable doubt,” and they actually try to think about them. And you don't want those people. Bad luck with teachers, bad luck with social workers, bad luck with -- intelligent doctors are bad. I always feel doctors are bad, too.

    Jack McMahon was the prosecutor who had Harold Wilson wrongfully convicted of a triple murder.


    At 12/21/2005 12:17:00 am, Blogger Red, White, and Poly-A said...

    We appreciate logical voices, although we do not consider ourselves logical in any way, shape, or form. We have, however, considered juries quite extensively on our blog (see the lowest post on the totem pole for a legal analysis of racism in jury selection). Also, we inspire to contain more political content within our blog and, therefore, appreciate your efforts as such. And, as always, we accord to you dignity to persons as persons.

    A-P Collective

    At 12/21/2005 01:22:00 pm, Blogger DJEB said...

    Gosh. Thank you.

    At 12/21/2005 04:00:00 pm, Blogger Jez said...

    Macmahon is probably right. The question is, should prosecution and defence really have a say in the choice of jury in a democracy?

    At 12/21/2005 05:05:00 pm, Blogger DJEB said...

    He's correctbut absolutely amoral.

    At 12/21/2005 05:13:00 pm, Blogger Jez said...

    still; whaddaya think about 'the question' as I put it?

    At 12/22/2005 01:33:00 am, Blogger DJEB said...

    The question is good - it's grammatically correct. As for the answer, I'd have to think about it for a long time.


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