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Death Penalty

Jodi Arias Trial Verdict Commentary

David was interviewed by NBC 12 this morning about the recent verdict in the Jodi Arias Trial. She was found guilty of first-degree murder in the slaying of her boyfriend Travis Alexander. Watch the video below of David explaining how the defense may handle trying to keep Jodi from getting the death penalty.

The Skeptical Juror

The United States is a remarkable country for many reasons but one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of what makes this country unique is the Jury Trial. While the US did not invent the Jury Trial, thank the Greeks, it does employ the most jury trials of any country in the world. The importance of this fact goes well beyond the ability to create great novels and movies. At its core the Jury Trial represents the most basic of a societies action: a group of citizens deciding the fate of another member of society for a crime or action that they may or may not have done.

For many people the Jury summons is generally a very annoying situation that takes them out of their everyday life. The reality is that the Jury summons may be the most important event in their live as it may lead them to deciding whether another citizen will be put in prison for the rest of their life or even put to death.

In the case of J Bennet Allen serving on a jury literally became a life changing event leading to the creation of The Skeptical Juror. It is with this website that Mr. Allen has become a proponent for the intelligent, questioning, and active Juror. After serving on his fourth jury for a Child Molestation case Mr. Allen realized that the majority of Americans do not fully understand the gravity of their role and the need for them to do more than simply accept the arguments during a trial.

The turning point came during the trail of a suspected Child Molester. For the rest of the Jury the case was open and shut and the defendant was guilty. For Mr. Allen it was not so simple and he set about the tast of changing the minds of the other 11 jurors. He succeeded in changing all but one resulting in a mistrial.

An Engineer by training Mr. Allen was meticulous about getting to the bottom of the evidence and arguments presented. He went further and looked at the methods used for determining the evidence. Since then he has gone on to write a number of books in the True Crime genre where the reader is placed into the role of a juror in a case based on a real case.

These books should be required reading not just for Jurors but all citizens so they can grasp how justice is not black and white.

Texas Executes inmate with Mental Disability

Last week the state of Texas executed Marvin Wilson for the 1992 murder of police informant Jerry Williams. This was done despite Marvin having an IQ of 61. Generally the minimum accepted IQ to qualify someone for the death penalty in the US is 70. Texas State Attorneys countered that the IQ argument is based on just one test and that other assessments indicated that Wilson was not mentally impaired.

The death penalty is the ultimate form of punishment and is generally applied in first degree murder cases. It was ruled unconstitutional to put the mentally retarded/disabled to death per the Atkins v Virginia US Supreme Court ruling of 2002. In that ruling the court found such an act to be cruel and unusual punishment and therefore a violation of the 8th Amendment of the US Constitution.

There is now concern that the execution of Marvin Wilson was a violation of the US Constitution as the state of Texas rejects the Supreme Courts ruling.

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