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Thread: Is a DA Allowed To Give The Defendant The Stink Eye During Trial?

  1. #31
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo2 View Post
    British courtrooms are more formal, but generally not large or particularly grandiose - this is a fairly typical example -



    And some District Magistrate's courts can be as plain as this -



    Of course some - such as the Central Criminal Court in London (better known as The Old Bailey,) can be a little more elaborate.

    This is one of the many court rooms in The Old Bailey -



    And this is the grand hall -



    The Royal Courts of Justice -

    Gorgeous, but, lots of your procedure (as portrayed in tv shows) bothers me. Why is the public sitting up in a choir loft? Why is the defendant sitting up in a glass box, when not testifying? Why make the defendant do that creepy prep walk to the basement every time court is adjourned?

    Your solicitors, barristers and silks confuse me. So many moving parts!

    I love this stuff. I watched a 1950's lawyer tv show "Perry Mason" as a child and read the books. Earl Stanley Gardener, the novelist, was a very successful California defense lawyer in the era before Miranda.

    (You have the right to remain silent, to have an attorney with you,blah, blah, blah....SCOTUS did not hand down that decision until the late 1960's.)

    Gardener's novels all turned on a fine point of procedure (on behalf of an innocent client), like that he would tell his client to mail a document to himself, so the police could not find it. Etc.

    Not cuddly like "Rumpole", which I also love. Not as exciting as modern lawyer shows (No gorey bodies), but still fabulous.

    There was some great tv made in the 1950's.
    Last edited by Madeline; 6th March 2018 at 07:17 PM.

  2. #32
    Vexatious Correspondent Leo2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    Gorgeous, but, lots of your procedure (as portrayed in tv shows) bothers me. Why is the public sitting up in a choir loft? Why is the defendant sitting up in a glass box, when not testifying? Why make the defendant do that creepy prep walk to the basement every time court is adjourned?
    Some good questions there. Like much of British society, many forms are based upon tradition - some of which traditions are so oscured in the mists of time, that people have lost sight of their origins, and so go through the motions automatically. This is not the case with the procedures you question - though your questions are both pertinent and understandable.

    The public gallery was traditionally up high, and is still so in many of the older courtrooms. More modern venues might have the public at the same level as the rest of the court, but a very marked separation is maintained , and seen as necessary for court order. Remember that the court system began with Royal Courts, which were presided over by Monarchs or very senior peerage - Dukes and earls, etc. The lesser hearings were presided over by senior clergy. Hence the traditions of addressing High Court Justices as 'My Lord' (M'Lud in practice,) and Magistrates as 'Your Worship'. So keeping the great unwashed at a distance was seen as necessary for both public order and the physical safety of the accused or the appellant (particularly if the defendant was accused of a noxious crime - such as rape or murder).

    The defendant sits in a booth (not always behind glass - that is the exception rather than the rule,) sometimes accompanied by an officer of the law, in order to maintain a similar separation to that of the public. The holding cells are most often located beneath the courts of law as a matter of convenience (remember that most of these buildings were constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries,) and in order that the accused may be presented to the court as quickly as possible. We don't usually have basements in British buildings - it is to the cells that the accused returns when the court is cleared.

    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    Your solicitors, barristers and silks confuse me. So many moving parts!
    It is really much simpler than it sounds. The basics -

    A Solicitor inerviews a client and instructs a Barrister who then represents that client (or in some cases, the Crown) in a court of law. A Solicitor also looks after the more mundane aspects of legal practice - e.g: wills, contracts, probate, conveyancing, etc.

    A Barrister conducts the defence or prosecution case, often with a junior or a solicitor assisting.

    A 'Silk' is merely a nickname for a Queen's Council (the most senior level of Barrister). The name come from the fact that the gowns worn by Queen's Council are made of silk - hence the term 'Taking silk).

    When I have completed my various degrees, I will apply to various chambers with the prospect of a pupillage for at least a year before being examined for tenancy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    I love this stuff. I watched a 1950's lawyer tv show "Perry Mason" as a child and read the books. Earl Stanley Gardener, the novelist, was a very successful California defense lawyer in the era before Miranda.

    (You have the right to remain silent, to have an attorney with you,blah, blah, blah....SCOTUS did not hand down that decision until the late 1960's.)

    Gardener's novels all turned on a fine point of procedure (on behalf of an innocent client), like that he would tell his client to mail a document to himself, so the police could not find it. Etc.

    Not cuddly like "Rumpole", which I also love. Not as exciting as modern lawyer shows (No hurry bodies), but still fabulous.

    There was some great tv made in the 1950's.
    Yes, Leo McKern (an Australian) portrayed the quintessential English barrister in that timeless series flawlessly.
    Thanks from Madeline

  3. #33
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo2 View Post

    Yes, Leo McKern (an Australian) portrayed the quintessential English barrister in that timeless series flawlessly.
    I first saw "Rumpole of the Bailey" on PBS in the 1980's, I think. I was just riveted! The man was such a character, disdaining his law partners and openly admiring his admittedly guilty clients!

    You're correct -- that show is like a mirror image of "Perry Mason".

  4. #34
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Getting denied justice by every level of Ohio's state courts.

    @Ian Jeffrey: I will do a thread on the case when I am in the office, as my cell phone will not let me link.

    If you are curious now, Google:

    "DOUGLAS PRADY

    OHIO SUPREME COURT

    Cleveland.com
    9/20/2017".

    I am oversimplifying the evidence (and the law), but not by much. (Bear in mind, I have not read the trial transcripts, etc.)

    IMO, for anyone to find Prady guilty, they would have to believe that some unknown man beat Margo, biting her breast through her clothing.

    Then he leaves.

    Then Prady found Margo, in tremendous pain or unconscious. So he strangled her to death.

    Prady was mature man, over 40, who had already divorced Margo before her murder, resolving the property settlement, etc.

    It's stupid, but after conviction, the standard in Ohio is "this prisoner has proven his actual innocence beyond a reasonable doubt", or that some defect in procedure existed before or during trial that fundamentally undermined fairness, and a new trial is therefore warranted.

    That's how it looks to me.

    What changed after Prady's conviction was science; the lab that developed the DNA on Margo's lab coat was in Europe, doing cutting edge research on genetics.

    Bad DA pursued charges against Prade after Margo's murder. IMO, there was never enough evidence, and the cops were not willing to get off the sofa and actually investigate. Not after Margo's murder, and for sure, not some decades later, if they must accept they caught an innocent man.

    They don't want to be pressured to find the real killer. Not now.

    This is a high-profile case in Akron because of the success of both parties, and because Prady was a police captain. And because both Margo and Prady were black.

    It's turned the Summit County DA into a thug vigilante.

    As I recall.

    In my opinion.

    Assuming these factual allegations are themselves proven.

    Assuming I correctly stated the law.

    Doubtless Prady's lawyer is in the federal district court, on a habeas corpus motion. But that might not even be heard for many more years.

    (Kindly overlook what are NO doubt, numerous errors due to me relying on my memory. I will take the time to re-read the published news accounts another day, before starting an Op.)

    TLDR: Area doctor is raped and strangled to death outside her medical office in the early morning. Her ex hubs is arrested, tried and convicted. Partially relying on bite mark evidence.

    Subsequent years, DNA science progresses, ex hubs can now prove the bite mark was left by an unknown male.

    Ohio appeals court nonetheless upholds his conviction, and state supreme court affirms.

    Federal district court now has the case, presumably, but the odds of winning a habeas corpus motion in federal court after losing in state court are approximately fuck all.
    Last edited by Madeline; 8th March 2018 at 02:36 AM.

  5. #35
    Vexatious Correspondent Leo2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    I first saw "Rumpole of the Bailey" on PBS in the 1980's, I think. I was just riveted! The man was such a character, disdaining his law partners and openly admiring his admittedly guilty clients!

    You're correct -- that show is like a mirror image of "Perry Mason".
    My mate's dad has a boxed set of the full 'Rumpole of the Bailey' episodes on DVD, and I think I have seen them all. It was a brilliantly cast and acted series - and I thought Hilda Rumpole was totally brillo pads also. As were many of the people in his chambers. It was as much a comment on British society of the time, as it was upon legal practice. I'm afraid I don't know about Perry Mason, so I can't make the comparison.
    Thanks from Madeline

  6. #36
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    The point I tortured us all with that TLDR post above, is this.

    It's absolutely not the case, IRL, that innocent people never go to prison in this country.

    It's absolutely not the case that, even if they have proof of actual innocence, prosecutors and judges do the right thing and join the defense to get them out.

    But, in recognition of this, in some counties, progressive DAs have opened post-conviction review sections, and when the miscarriage of justice is made manifestly clear, these progressive DAs work to get these prisoners released. On their own initiative, regardless of whether that prisoner has a post-conviction defense lawyer.

    IMO, these DAs are morally courageous people, doing what's right, over what's politically "necessary".

    "Getting tough on crime" starts with arresting the guy who really did it.

    It is a degradation of justice to imprison actually, factually, demonstrably innocent people.....and yet the resistance to correct and erroneous conviction is enormous.
    Last edited by Madeline; 7th March 2018 at 06:11 PM.
    Thanks from Ian Jeffrey and Leo2

  7. #37
    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    Getting denied justice by every level of Ohio's state courts.

    @Ian Jeffrey: I will do a thread on the case when I am in the office, as my cell phone will not let me link.

    If you are curious now, Google:

    "DOUGLAS PRADY

    OHIO SUPREME COURT

    Cleveland.com
    9/20/2017".

    I am oversimplifying the evidence (and the law), but not by much. (Bear in mind, I have not read the trial transcripts, etc.)

    IMO, for anyone to find Prady guilty, they would have to believe that some unknown man beat Margo, biting her breast through her clothing.

    Then he leaves.

    Then Prady found Margo, in tremendous pain or unconscious. So he strangled her to death.

    Prady was mature man, over 40, who had already divorced Margo before her murder, resolving the property settlement, etc.

    It's stupid, but after conviction, the standard in Ohio is "this prisoner has proven his actual innocence beyond a reasonable doubt", or that some defect in procedure existed before or during trial that fundamentally undermined fairness, and a new trial is therefore warranted.

    That's how it looks to me.

    What changed after Prady's conviction was science; the lab that developed the DNA on Margo's lab coat was in Europe, doing cutting edge research on genetics.

    Bad DA pursued charges against Prade after Margo's murder. IMO, there was never enough evidence, and the cops were not willing to get off the sofa and actually investigate. Not after Margo's murder, and for sure, not some decades later, if they must accept they caught an innocent man.

    They don't want to be pressured to find the real killer. Not now.

    This is a high-profile case in Akron because of the success of both parties, and because Prady was a police captain. And because both Margo and Prady were black.

    It's turned the Summit County DA into a thug vigilante.

    As I recall.

    In my opinion.

    Assuming these factual allegations are themselves proven.

    Assuming I correctly stated the law.

    Doubtless Prady's lawyer is in the federal district court, on a have corpus motion. But that might not even be heard for many more years.

    (Kindly overlook what are NO doubt, numerous errors due to me relying on my memory. I will take the time to re-read the published news accounts another day, before starting an Op.)
    I have not researched the factual background, but I found the Ohio Supreme Court's opinion on the appellate situation, which is highly technical and related almost solely to procedural issues.

    https://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/ro...-Ohio-7651.pdf
    Thanks from Madeline

  8. #38
    Galactic Ruler Spookycolt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    @Ian Jeffrey? @Wonderer? @Leo2?

    This matters in part because the U.S. death penalty is imposed in a VERY uneven manner. 5% of prosecutors produce almost 15% of all death sentences, and among them, the flagrant use of derisive body language is rampant.



    https://theintercept.com/2016/06/30/...s-prosecutors/

    They also "produce" a disproportionate number of misconduct findings against American prosecutors, by appellate courts and state bar associations, including misconduct severe enough to vacate guilty verdicts in cases where the death penalty was imposed at their behest.

    But I cannot find a single case where derisive facial expressions, etc., were the subject of any such misconduct proceedings.

    I doubt this conduct by lawyers in court would be tolerated in the U.K., where the police are not even permitted to lie to suspects.
    You can't find any cases because its not an issue.

    Duh.

  9. #39
    Galactic Ruler Spookycolt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    The point I tortured us all with that TLDR post above, is this.

    It's absolutely not the case, IRL, that innocent people never go to prison in this country.

    It's absolutely not the case that, even if they have proof of actual innocence, prosecutors and judges do the right thing and join the defense to get them out.

    But, in recognition of this, in some counties, progressive DAs have opened post-conviction review sections, and when the miscarriage of justice is made manifestly clear, these progressive DAs work to get these prisoners released. On their own initiative, regardless of whether that prisoner has a post-conviction defense lawyer.

    IMO, these DAs are morally courageous people, doing what's right, over what's politically "necessary".

    "Getting tough on crime" starts with arresting the guy who really did it.

    It is a degradation of justice to imprison actually, factually, demonstrably innocent people.....and yet the resistance to correct and erroneous conviction is enormous.
    So basically, and this has always been your stance, is that you want to convict no one because one person might be innocent.

    Sorry but a society can't operate that way.

    There will never be a perfect system.

  10. #40
    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spookycolt View Post
    So basically, and this has always been your stance, is that you want to convict no one because one person might be innocent.

    Sorry but a society can't operate that way.
    No, and that has never been her stance. We are talking about a case where the evidence expressly excludes the guy who has now been in prison for 20 years, and he is stuck there anyway because the district attorney would rather uphold a bad conviction than have to actually do some work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spookycolt View Post
    There will never be a perfect system.
    Tell that to these folks - those that are still alive, anyway. You can tell the dead ones later.
    Thanks from Leo2 and Madeline

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