Sunday, August 07, 2005

Fixing Court Cases


Excerpts: Goodrow argued that the videos were prejudicial and wrongly instructed potential jurors about their role and the law.

The portions of the tapes being disputed focused, in part, on statements about jurors determining "guilt or innocence" of a defendant.

"They're never instructed to find if a person is innocent," Goodrow said. "You could be in a situation where a jury feels the state has not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt, but feels [the defendant] is not innocent. But because they're following the law they have to find him not guilty."

But Chief Public Defender Gerard Smyth called Dyer's decision "extremely important because it's difficult enough to get jurors to engage in the presumption of innocence when someone is arrested and charged with a crime."


Tolland County State's Attorney Matthew Gedansky said his office argued against Goodrow's motion, but respects the judge's ruling.

Judge Jonathan Kaplan, administrative judge for the Tolland Judicial District, immediately suspended the use of the videos and alerted the deputy chief court administrator and chief administrative judge for criminal courts.

"Once I'm on notice that a judge of the Superior Court feels that something we do has some constitutional problems in it, my feeling is it was irresponsible to just ignore that and show the movies in other cases," Kaplan said.

Dyer's ruling had an immediate ripple effect throughout the state judicial system. Chief Court Administrator Joseph Pellegrino called on several judges to review the tapes and determine if changes should be made, according to Melissa Farley, a spokeswoman for the judicial branch.

The judges decided the tapes should be re-edited, and on Jan. 12 Pellegrino sent e-mails to all administrative judges asking them not to show the tapes. E-mails also were sent to other court officials and to law libraries, requesting they return the tapes.

"We thought we should give the benefit of the doubt to taking out those statements [Dyer] thought were objectionable," Pellegrino said.

"Of course, we could have waited for an appeal, but if the Appellate Court found he was right then there might be some cases that might be overturned."

More of this outrage
(Hartford Courant pieces detailing the Connecticut Courts abusing citizens and THEN NOT GOING BACK reviewing past cases, which mine is one)

* * * *

Instant Misery, Just Add Connecticut

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