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Thread: First the jury convicted this 19-year-old maid for stealing. Then they took up a collection to pay h

  1. #1
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    First the jury convicted this 19-year-old maid for stealing. Then they took up a collection to pay h

    There's a lot more to think about, and wonder about, in this story than meets the eye:

    What the jury did was extraordinary. They felt bad for the young woman, pregnant with her second child, and agreed that she had made a dumb, youthful mistake. Reluctantly, they convicted her of the felony. But the fine they imposed was her daily pay as a maid, $60. And then they took up a collection and gave her the money to pay the fine.
    Via The Washington Post.

    Read it carefully; there's more going on that you might think, and read or at least skim the comments, or some of them.

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW MaeZe's Avatar
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    Wow, a tale of two cities, (or maybe I should say two worlds).

    A comment from my side of the tracks:
    That was nice of the jury to pay her fine, but this young woman is now marked a felon for life. That restricts her ability to improve her employment situation, obtain new housing for her family, obtain financial aid should she choose to go back to school, etc.

    That is what is so wrong about our criminal justice system. She committed a crime, and she received a sentence for that crime. After that sentence is fulfilled, her debt to society should be paid in full. Labeling petty criminals as felons for life pretty much guarantees that most of them will never be able to improve their situations, and often leads to recidivism.
    Trump can now declare her a felon and deport her.

    This is from the other side of the tracks from where I live:
    No college anywhere will accept a 6th grade dropout. She's made her bed.
    There was this comment:
    Hey! they hired an illegal immigrant because they could get her cheap.
    But it needs a followup pointing out neither the employer nor the homeowners that hired the cleaning service appeared to mind paying cheap undocumented labor.
    Last edited by MaeZe; 12-16-2017 at 01:01 AM.

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW heza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaeZe View Post
    ...But it needs a followup pointing out neither the employer nor the homeowners that hired the cleaning service appeared to mind paying cheap undocumented labor.
    There were other comments on the article to that effect. I saw a lot of comments, too, claiming that the homeowners had no culpability in that part, that you shouldn't be expected to verify immigration status if you're hiring a company with employees. And that no one knows what the service itself was charging the homeowners. Lots of comments calling for criminal charges against the cleaning service for hiring undocumented workers, though.


    The homeowners strike me as less interested in justice than they are vengeance. They have suffered absolutely no losses. Their property was returned, and not because the cops caught someone and retrieved it but because the maid voluntarily returned the items and confessed. So by this fact and the homeowner's comment about the maid being undocumented, I have to assume that what they're really upset about is the audacity of an illegal immigrant stealing wealth from their hard-working American selves. (I guess we'll ignore the irony that the property was inherited.)

    Also, did the police trick the maid into writing a confession by framing it as an "apology" without a lawyer present?
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  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    At trial, the facts were not really in dispute. The jury did not hear from Mendez Ortega during the case in chief, but they were already sympathetic to her. “We didn’t feel she should have been tried and convicted,” said Memmott, the foreman. “We tried every way we could to find some way of not convicting her. But the legal standard was very clear.” Two other jurors agreed that the felony conviction was appropriate, given the facts and the law.
    You could have simply... not convicted her.

    I don't get this at all. If they didn't want to convict her, and it appears they did not, why the hell did they?

    As noted above, she's now got a felony on her record.

    As to the homeowners, I lost all sympathy when the whole 'it is relevant that she's here illegally' got dropped. Nope.

  5. #5
    Live a poem...Or die a fool. \/ Beanie5's Avatar
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    In the United States, a federal juror's oath usually states something to the effect of, "Do you and each of you solemnly swear that you will well and truly try and a true deliverance make between the United States and ______, the defendant at the bar, and a true verdict render according to the evidence, so help you God?"


    Whoever pressed the charges, was responsible imho not the jurors.
    Last edited by Beanie5; 12-16-2017 at 06:14 AM.
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  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beanie5 View Post
    In the United States, a federal juror's oath usually states something to the effect of, "Do you and each of you solemnly swear that you will well and truly try and a true deliverance make between the United States and ______, the defendant at the bar, and a true verdict render according to the evidence, so help you God?"


    Whoever pressed the charges, was responsible imho not the jurors.
    Wasn't a federal case, was a local criminal matter. Regardless, jurors usually take an oath to render a true verdict, yes. What that means, however, is kind of up for grabs.

    Hence nullification exists and is an option, and one they should have taken if they didn't want to convict her. They were perfectly free to not convict her.

    That said, I agree whomever in the DA's office who decided to take this to freaking trial deserves a good, hard look because honestly.

  7. #7
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beanie5 View Post
    In the United States, a federal juror's oath usually states something to the effect of, "Do you and each of you solemnly swear that you will well and truly try and a true deliverance make between the United States and ______, the defendant at the bar, and a true verdict render according to the evidence, so help you God?"


    Whoever pressed the charges, was responsible imho not the jurors.
    You wanna cite your source? Because we really do expect that.

  8. #8
    Live a poem...Or die a fool. \/ Beanie5's Avatar
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    As cornflake pointed out there are many different jurisdictions and it was stated it was rough rendition and i do not know the exact oath the jurors might have sworn i did not want to represent it as entirely accurate so my apologies
    Last edited by Beanie5; 12-16-2017 at 02:10 PM.
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    I have had things stolen (20 years later I still mourn the loss of my grandmother's wedding silverware). Yes it's enraging to be stolen from, but she got her rings back. The young woman apologized and returned them, then she went to jail for a week (and what happened to her child while she was there? Foster care?), she has a felony conviction record, and she will probably be deported. Yet this does not seem to be enough for this couple and I simply cannot understand the level of vindictiveness they are displaying. They have the rings back, this young woman's life and probably the lives of her children will never be the same, and yet they cannot find it in their hearts to forgive her. What possible good would come from having her go to jail for years and having her children taken from her?
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  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    In case anyone is interested, The NYS Petit Juror Handbook doesn't have the actual oath, but says this:

    Each juror pledges to act fairly and impartially and follow the law that is explained by the judge.
    The case in question is in VA, not NY, but it's basically similar most places for p. juries -- be fair, give a true verdict, act in accordance with the law/instructions.

  11. #11
    New kid...seven years ago! DancingMaenid's Avatar
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    This is exactly why some people feel it's important for jurors to be aware of jury nullification as an option.

    While it's nice of the jury to show sympathy for the woman, it's hard for there to be justice when a mistake that causes no lasting harm can ruin a person's life by branding them as a felon or getting them deported. Justice would have been not prosecuting in the first place after she returned the rings, offering her a new job to offset the overly-extreme effects of having a felony on her record, or better yet, changing the way that one-time, nonviolent felony convictions affect people's employment prospects to begin with.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kikazaru View Post
    I have had things stolen (20 years later I still mourn the loss of my grandmother's wedding silverware). Yes it's enraging to be stolen from, but she got her rings back. The young woman apologized and returned them, then she went to jail for a week (and what happened to her child while she was there? Foster care?), she has a felony conviction record, and she will probably be deported. Yet this does not seem to be enough for this couple and I simply cannot understand the level of vindictiveness they are displaying. They have the rings back, this young woman's life and probably the lives of her children will never be the same, and yet they cannot find it in their hearts to forgive her. What possible good would come from having her go to jail for years and having her children taken from her?
    This sums up my feelings too.
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  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    Yeah, they also seemed weirdly stuck on that she lied when confronted by the cops. Well, no shit, Sherlock -- the teenager didn't just up and confess to police officers and her boss?

    Humans confronted by authority figures tend to not fess up to their wrongdoing immediately. For other examples see toddlers covered in cookie crumbs denying they got into the Oreos, a very long list of men including Donald Trump, and like 99% of humanity.

  14. #14
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    I was impressed by the jury and appalled by the homeowners. As I understand it, a jury is supposed to evaluate the testimony in the trial and determine if the defendant broke the law. They are not supposed to determine whether the law is just. The jury determined that the defendant broke the law. She did. Was she justified? Did the circumstances mitigate the heinousness of her crime? Not the jury's job. They did their job correctly. But they also looked farther and saw what they believe to be justice and acted, not as a jury, but as citizens and offered to pay the defendant's fine. What could be more commendable?

    The homeowners? Meh. I would like to tell them to "suck a rope" as we used to tell lazy complainers on construction sites.

  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boethius View Post
    I was impressed by the jury and appalled by the homeowners. As I understand it, a jury is supposed to evaluate the testimony in the trial and determine if the defendant broke the law. They are not supposed to determine whether the law is just. The jury determined that the defendant broke the law. She did. Was she justified? Did the circumstances mitigate the heinousness of her crime? Not the jury's job. They did their job correctly. But they also looked farther and saw what they believe to be justice and acted, not as a jury, but as citizens and offered to pay the defendant's fine. What could be more commendable?

    The homeowners? Meh. I would like to tell them to "suck a rope" as we used to tell lazy complainers on construction sites.
    The jury is absolutely free to weigh in on the justness of laws and whether someone was justified in committing a crime -- that's why nullification exists. That is their job. Same as a judge does not have to accept a jury verdict if he or she thinks they're nuts to have convicted someone. A jury might think they properly followed instructions and believe a defendant to be guilty, and a judge can still say notwithstanding and toss it.

    A jury can look at a case brought through the proper channels, with a defendant who did what he or she was accused of, and say, 'yeah, but still, fuck this case.'

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