Christine Nash, barrister has been struck off the roll of practitioners in NSW.
”I don’t know which way to go, so I’m holding a poll,” she announced.
Another sitting on a drugs trial befriended the accused and traded messages with him on Facebook.
But a Californian juror needed no such help. ”Guilty! He’s guilty! I can tell!” he tweeted.
In the age of social media, the only way to guarantee that jurors are not exposed to prejudicial material about their trials would be to abolish juries altogether, according to a report commissioned by the Australian attorneys-general.
The report by the Centre for Law, Governance and Public Policy recommends sending jurors on training courses before trials and constantly warning them against external influences, with written directions, daily reminders and signs in the jury rooms.
It does not advocate the increased use of trials in which only judges delivered verdicts.
Research quoted in the report indicates that jurors have neither the willingness nor ability to disregard material that they regard as relevant, even if they are told to do so.
Jurors admit to checking the internet even when a judge has told them not to, but they more likely to heed written directions than oral ones.
The standing committee on law and justice, which is made up of state and territory attorneys general, is investigating how to mitigate the impact of social media on the right to a fair trial.
The concert was part of a unique outreach that’s the brainchild of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s musical director, the Italian-born Riccardo Muti, who attended the event at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center on Chicago’s West Side.
The concert included half a dozen of the orchestra’s members. But the center-stage performers were some 10 inmates who participated in a weeklong musical workshop at the lockup. It culminated in the Sunday concert featuring compositions the inmates wrote in collaboration with the professionals.
When one of the organizers announced the inmates and their families will receive CD recordings of the concert, one mother buried her head in her hands.
“Oh my God, this is so special,” she said aloud.
The goal of the outreach, which has included other jail visits, is to impart a wider appreciation for music and to inspire at-risk youth. It seemed to work for at least some of the teens.
“I learned more about classical music,” a teen named Ricky told reporters after the concert. He was identified only by his first name because he is a juvenile charged with a crime. “I’d heard of Beethoven and Bach. I liked it.”
The center’s own 2012 annual report noted that, almost daily, someone either talks about killing himself or tries. The center holds around 250 inmates in total, a few of whom aren’t yet teens.
The Naples-born Muti has taken his act into prison before.
He once performed Robert Schumann’s “Warum?” — which means “why” in German — in a Milan prison. The work, he explained later, was his way of asking inmates what had brought them to such misfortune.
“We will meet again in the future,” he said. He quickly added, “Not here! But on the outside.”
- The accused failed to mention a fact during police questioning that they could reasonably have been expected to mention in the circumstances existing at the time.
- A special caution explaining the nature and effect of a failure or refusal to mention a fact was given to the defendant before the failure or refusal.
- The special caution was given in the presence of the Australian legal practitioner acting for the defendant at the time of questioning.
- The defendant was allowed a reasonable opportunity to consult with that legal practitioner about the general nature and effect of the special caution, in the absence of the investigating officer and before the failure or refusal to mention a fact.
- The investigating officer who gave the special caution had reasonable cause to believe that the defendant had committed the serious indictable offence.
The Criminal Procedure Amendment (Mandatory Pre-trial Defence Disclosure) Act 2013 will amend the case management provisions of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986. It will require the defence to set out in its mandatory response to the notice of the prosecution case:
- The nature of the accused’s defence, including particular defences to be relied on.
- The facts, matters or circumstances on which the prosecution intends to rely to prove guilt, with which the accused intends to take issue.
- Points of law which the accused intends to raise.
- The court, or any other party with the court’s leave, may make such comment at trial as appears proper.
- The jury may then draw such unfavourable inferences as appear proper.
The Bills can be found here:
Wollongong and District Law Society president David Potts has slammed the decision, saying a partial closure would have been a better option.
“Although the renovations will take longer, the inconvenience to the community would likely be reduced,” he said.
“Our concern is that this closure will make it very difficult for many people in the area; it’s likely that thousands of people will be affected [including] parties to proceedings, witnesses and the police.”
A spokesman for the Attorney-General’s Department said closing the court was the least disruptive option: “Conducting court sittings at a noisy and dusty construction site is not an option and would cause significant delays to the completion of the project.”
Mr Potts said the society was particularly concerned about defendants in custody, as it understood there were limited cell facilities at other courts in the region.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), enacted in 1996, states that, for the purposes of federal law, the words “marriage” and “spouse” refer to legal unions between one man and one woman. Since that time, some states have authorized same-sex marriage. In other cases regarding the DOMA, federal courts have ruled it unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment, but the courts have disagreed on the rationale.
Edith Windsor is the widow and sole executor of the estate of her late spouse, Thea Clara Spyer, who died in 2009. The two were married in Toronto, Canada, in 2007, and their marriage was recognized by New York state law. Thea Syper left her estate to her spouse, and because their marriage was not recognized by federal law, the government imposed $363,000 in taxes. Had their marriage been recognized, the estate would have qualified for a marital exemption, and no taxes would have been imposed.
On November 9, 2010 Windsor filed suit in district court seeking a declaration that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. At the time the suit was filed, the government’s position was that DOMA must be defended. On February 23, 2011, the President and the Attorney General announced that they would not defend DOMA. On April 18, 2011, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives filed a petition to intervene in defense of DOMA and motioned to dismiss the case. The district court denied the motion, and later held that DOMA was unconstitutional. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed.
Does the executive branch’s agreement with the lower court that the act is unconstitutional deprive the Supreme Court of jurisdiction to decide the case?
Does the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives have standing in the case?
Does the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines the term “marriage” under federal law as a “legal union between one man and one woman” deprive same-sex couples who are legally married under state laws of their Fifth Amendment rights to equal protection under federal law?
The Evidence of Silence legislation was passed in Parliament last week, allowing juries to draw a negative inference if an accused wants to divulge information during a trial that they did not initially provide to police.
Mr Kernaghan said the reforms, introduced to assist police in the fight against organised crime, were unacceptable.
“It’s created a situation where the right to silence is still on the books but it can now be used against people; it’s really creating a risk of prejudice,” he said.