Jury deliberations will now take place under state supervision for non-PC thoughts. This is the clear implication of this Supreme Court decision.
In 2007, Miguel Angel Pena-Rodriguez sexually assaulted several teenagers who later identified him to the police. It was an easy case and there was little doubt about the veracity of the children. He was convicted. The defense, however, discovered a loophole to set him free. A juror made comments that were negative towards Mexicans. He will get a new trial.
In Pena v. State of Colorado, decided on March 6, a juror was impeached because he thought hispanic men treated women poorly. It was a clear reference to “machismo” or “bravado.” The Court concluded that, because of this belief, the juror should be eliminated and the trial was thus unfair. The Court wrote in its majority opinion:
“Where a juror makes a clear statement indicating that he or she relied on racial stereotypes or animus to convict a criminal defendant, the Sixth Amendment requires that the no-impeachment rule give way in order to permit the trial court to consider the evidence of the juror’s statement and any resulting denial of the jury trial guarantee.”
Concerning the comment itself, the decision relates: “According to the two jurors, H. C. told the other jurors that he ‘believed the defendant was guilty because, in [H. C.’s] experience as an ex-law enforcement officer, Mexican men had a bravado that caused them to believe they could do whatever they wanted with women’.”
The decision reads: “The unmistakable principle underlying these precedents is that discrimination on the basis of race, ‘odious in all aspects, is especially pernicious in the administration of justice.’” Strangely, that’s not at issue here. The statement above is true and was uttered from the empirical experience of a law enforcement officer within a crime-ridden hispanic community. The radical disconnect between the Court’s rhetoric and the facts that the Court itself states makes this a bizarre example of legal rhetoric.
The Supreme Court continues: “It is one thing to accuse a fellow juror of having a personal experience that improperly influences [his] consideration of the case. . . It is quite another to call [him] a bigot.” This is one of the stranger comments in this already Orwellian decision. Justice Kennedy is aware that bigotry is not at issue. The facts of the case show the offending juror’s statement to be reasonable and factually based. It thus cannot be “bigotry.”
Interestingly, the offending juror also stated that Pena’s alibi witness was not to be trusted because he was an “illegal immigrant.” This too necessitated a new trial. In other words, he was a criminal himself. Because the witness was hispanic, this fact now has to be ignored by juries under threat of automatic acquittal. Criminality is often an important cause for rejecting witness credibility, but today, that only works if the witness is White. Thus, the Court has effectively stated that certain important, essential facts cannot be stated in jury rooms if they conflict with official ideology. This is no mere hyperbole. The Court stated:
“The Nation must continue to make strides to overcome race-based discrimination. The progress that has already been made underlies the Court’s insistence that blatant racial prejudice is antithetical to the functioning of the jury system and must be confronted in egregious cases like this one despite the general bar of the no-impeachment rule.”
“Nation” is capitalized as if it is a proper term, strongly making the terminology official and dogmatic. “Prejudice” refers to “pre-judgement” or a judgment without regard to facts or experience. Yet, this is the opposite of what the juror did here. He had experience with hispanics in precisely the legal context this case demanded.
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