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Jury Acquits Citizens of Illegally Filming Police 277

Posted by samzenpus
from the lights-camera-legal-action dept.
sexybomber writes "The Springfield (MA) Republican reports two men accused of illegally filming the process as they bailed friends out of jail that last summer, were acquitted of all charges Tuesday. Pete Eyre and Adam Mueller initially were granted permission to film the bail process, but later were forbidden by jail officials from recording the procedure. When they continued to digitally recording their encounter with jail officials, they were arrested by police. Eyre and Mueller testified that they never attempted to hide the fact that they were recording at the jail. Not only did they ask permission to film the bail-out process — which initially was granted — but their recording devices were 'out in the open,' Eyre said. The Jury found the defendants not guilty of three criminal counts: Each was acquitted of unlawful wiretapping, while Mueller also was acquitted of a charge of resisting arrest."
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Jury Acquits Citizens of Illegally Filming Police

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  • Not justice (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @07:26PM (#36829838) Journal

    There won't be justice until we can hold the people who arrested and tried these men accountable.

  • by osgeek (239988) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @07:28PM (#36829864) Homepage Journal

    Cop Block is a brilliant resource for those wanting information on abusive state practices.

    As always, government needs to be on a short leash. Give these folks too much power and they'll abuse it time and time again.

  • by D'Sphitz (699604) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @08:43PM (#36830444) Journal

    jury nullification---its a good thing

    Would this also apply to, say, an all white jury acquitting a KKK member of bombing a church and killing 4 young black girls?

  • by Moryath (553296) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @09:39PM (#36830844)

    Yeah. This was more a case of "You idiot prosecutor, the law you charged them under has nothing to do with this case and is completely inapplicable. Oh, and by the way, we don't agree with the trumped-up 'resisting arrest' bullshit you tried to tag on either."

    From comparison of experiences of numerous acquiantances, friends, co-workers, and family who have ever dealt with police, "resisting arrest" is a bullshit charge they throw in just to punish people for bothering to assert their right to trial instead of plea-bargaining guilty.

    The plea bargain system is about forcing the innocent to plead guilty, nothing else. [latimes.com]

  • by Ixokai (443555) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @10:22PM (#36831066)

    I think you're confused about what "jury nullification" means. It is not the right of a single juror to decide not to vote to convict -- it is when a jury reaches a verdict that is contrary to the law. Thus, by definition, it has to be all 12 people -- otherwise there is no verdict. Jury nullification is not a mistrial, its not a hung jury.

    The law says "this act is a crime"; the judge interprets and applies the law (including determining if the law is valid or not, and such), and the jury then determines the *facts* of the case -- they determine what is true and not true, evaluating evidence and deciding what did, or did not, happen. Then they use those facts to determine if the law was violated or not: but the law is the law. They aren't (in general) supposed to determine if the law itself is invalid, if the act itself shouldn't really be a crime or not, or what not.

    Jury nullification isn't about a juror voting their conscience, or failure to convict -- jury nullification is about the jury looking at the facts, deciding that the person did do the thing, and voting not guilty *anyways*, thus... (especially if it becomes a pattern) nullifying the law itself, as it applies to that case at least.

    Yes, its a power juries have innately, by being... juries, and there's nothing you can do to take away the power, really. But its not, in general, SUPPOSED to be their part of the job to counter and nullify law. That's what the legislature and the judicial branches are supposed to do. Juries are the triers of fact, not law.

    Jury nullification can be used for good or ill. You can have them vote not-guilty in some tragic one-off case where despite the law, in the interests of justice and their conscience, they can't convict someone due to extenuating circumstances. Or, a community can decide that killing black people is A-OK, and in effect essentially nullify the law against murder so that it only says "thou shalt not kill white people".

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @10:46PM (#36831172) Homepage Journal

    Haven't citizens already passed judgment on a law in the very process of creating it?

    Not in the USA. The citizenry have nothing to do with crafting the law here. That's done by legislators, pre-selected by the political party machines, where both said political machines and legislators work for lobbyists, who in turn represent special interest groups such as "Drill, baby, Drill", "Zygotes Are People Too", "OMFG homos!, LLC" and the hon. Rev. Dumbkopf, Holy Leader of "Mythology Should Control Sexuality." In the process, they typically ignore their solemn oaths to obey and defend the constitution that authorizes them to even have jobs making law which is required to conform to the constitution; even above and beyond that, they don't think the process through and almost uniformly create waves of unintended consequences (prohibition is the poster child for that one, not by any means alone but certainly one of the most high-profile foulups our government has ever entered into); and they hardly ever go back and fix anything they've broken. Even when it harms the living heck out of said citizens, obviously, publicly, and with great regularity.

    Basically, it's a madhouse. Our legal system sucks rocks, doesn't address fairness or justice worth a darn, and is not uncommonly completely unauthorized to our form of government. Also, it is basically a form of institutionalized corporate fellatio. So those of us who are actually paying attention tend to be very grateful for the opportunity to redress a few of the government's many, many wrongs with low-level tools like jury nullification.

  • by bgoldimho (2398484) on Thursday July 21, 2011 @01:00AM (#36831780)
    Substantially incomplete response. Jury nullification originated in England, the 'founder' of our Common Law. Juries did not want children stealing bread to eat (read:to not starve to death) to be convicted of a capital crime and be executed. Eventually that society (and ours) learned we don't execute children for theft, then extended to adults; we don't cut off hands or arms for theft either. It's (also) a check and balance where a prosecutor can 'get a jury to indict a ham sandwich'. /UNRELATED RANT so i dont want to post as AC so wrongly programmed Slashdot doesnt retain the RSS link after I (re-) register. Can go to main Slashdot but that sets off my No-Script. had to kill page then click on RSS again (not as easy since all marked as Read) and fortunately I stayed login. FAIL, Slashdot programmers/ sw. /end unrelated rant

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