Friday, February 03, 2006

I Trust Juries

JACKSONVILLE, FLA---I have faith in the American jury trial system. Lots of cronyism in politics, but juries have a knack for finding the truth. They have everything to gain and nothing to lose by rendering fair verdicts. Sometimes, the wrong verdict is rendered, but statistically the system is an overwhelming success.

No system is going to be perfect. The overhaul needed of The Florida Bar's role in regulating lawyer misconduct is one example. Florida Attorney General and 2006 gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist's seemingly selective enforcement of Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act is another. See earlier posts in this blog for details concerning these examples.

The availability of trial by jury is one of the beauties of our justice system. It's an honor, although a bit of a pain in the butt, to serve on a jury regardless of the magnitude of the case. The cases are important to the parties involved and that makes them important to the system itself.

I trust juries. Juries are folks like you and me who have no political agendas to attend to in deciding the cases before them. One of my favorite movies is "To Kill a Mockingbird" starring Gregory Peck as lawyer Atticus Finch and a young Robert Duval as Arthur "Boo" Radley. A great film that was way ahead of its time. "The Verdict" starring Paul Newman and wonderful character actor Jack Warden is another -- the names of the characters aren't as engraved in my memory, but I haven't seen that film near as many times as I've seen 'Mockingbird'.

It's a bit like Frank Capra's classic film "It's a Wonderful Life" starring Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore and many other fine actors -- a movie that's really stuck with me over the years. Not a courtroom drama, but one that still resonates for me. The Baileys avoided court because of overwhelming, but well- deserved, support from their community. It's hard to forget George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) running down the snowy streets of Bedford Falls exuberantly shouting "Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!" ;)

Whatcha think? Should I just shut my pie-hole? Lotsa money to be made if attorneys can defraud clients with impunity just by doing business as professional assocations.

Copyright © 2006 by Jeffrey R. Hill. All rights reserved.

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