Friday, May 04, 2012

My Senser(y) Imperception

I used to being wrong. Jury came back saying she had to have known she hit someone and should have a) stopped to give aid, and B) reported the incident. They let her off on the reckless charge but convicted on the lesser careless charge. She's looking at 4 years, meaning she'll do about 3. It will be quite the culture shock, that's for sure.

I wasn't there but am still surprised at the verdict. I just didn't think there was a way the Jurors could say, beyond a reasonable doubt, that she had to have known she hit someone. Now, I was on the foreman on a 3rd degree assault jury years ago, and I began the trail, as one should, with acquittal on mind. Based on the evidence I saw, I was still at acquittal, until the jury instructions from the Judge. At that point I had no choice but to vote guilty. There was only a couple that were unsure, but once we explained the judges instruction, they agreed we really didn't have a choice. We sent a question tot he court, for clarification, and went off too lunch. Upon return we entered the court room to have our questions read, and the judge's answer was we could only go by his original instructions. We returned within the hour with our guilty verdict.

The first hint at the the mindset of the jury concluded they believe 'that the damage to Senser's care made it clear something 'very serious happened'

Best coverage of the case, including this verdict synopsis, can be found at the Minnesota Criminal Defense Blog.

1 comment:

dog gone said...

It will be interesting to see what happens in the civil suit case, and as well to see how this holds up on appeal.

I thought quite a bit about the criteria where the jury or judge is required to know what someone was thinking as a criteria for evaluating their actions. NO ONE can know what someone else is thinking, not conclusively - although the CT Scan images that show blood flow and brain activity in different centers of our brains can help make educated guesses. Clearly THAT kind of information isn't available to the judicial system.

It is much easier to judge on the facts of what someone did or did not do, rather than to second guess someone else's thoughts. I found the woman's unwillingness to contact police and her claim that she did not notice the damage to her vehicle until the next day unpersuasive. Even if you don't stop at the time, it is hard to exit your vehicle and not see damage to the hood and front of your vehicle as you walk past it.

I don't know the woman, but certainly the impression she leaves is one of an overprivileged woman who apparently does not feel a great deal of concern for other people. People who feel concern for others would contact police willingly, not delete text messages to obstruct justice, and wouldn't fail to pick up kids after a concert.

Maybe Ms. Senser will be successful at retreating into 'Amy world', ignoring reality when it is inconvenient or unpleasant for her behind bars.

I applaud your approach to the serious civic obligation of jury duty. I hope the people on the Senser jury were as conscientious.