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Old 6th December 2018, 01:31 PM   #1
NWO Sentryman
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Scenario: jury and tampered evidence

Largely inspired by the o.j simpson case.

Let's say you are a juror on a murder trial and shortly before you retire to reach a verdict, it is found that key evidence was tampered with. There is other strong evidence that the defendant did commit the murder, but how would you vote?
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Old 6th December 2018, 01:35 PM   #2
lobosrul5
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Originally Posted by NWO Sentryman View Post
Largely inspired by the o.j simpson case.

Let's say you are a juror on a murder trial and shortly before you retire to reach a verdict, it is found that key evidence was tampered with. There is other strong evidence that the defendant did commit the murder, but how would you vote?
Tampered with by who, law enforcement? If so, then automatic "not guilty" it would call into question any other evidence.
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Old 6th December 2018, 01:36 PM   #3
Hungry81
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Originally Posted by NWO Sentryman View Post
Largely inspired by the o.j simpson case.

Let's say you are a juror on a murder trial and shortly before you retire to reach a verdict, it is found that key evidence was tampered with. There is other strong evidence that the defendant did commit the murder, but how would you vote?
Wouldn't you not vote, inform the other jurors of your suspicions and report what you knew to the judge, who can then decide whether to call a mistrial or take other appropriate option?
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Old 6th December 2018, 01:58 PM   #4
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I think it would depend on how "it was found."

If it was my own thought, then it would be fodder for jury deliberations;
If it was revealed by an outside source, then report to judge;
If it was discussed in the trial, then again jury deliberations.
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Old 6th December 2018, 03:54 PM   #5
Samson
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Originally Posted by NWO Sentryman View Post
Largely inspired by the o.j simpson case.

Let's say you are a juror on a murder trial and shortly before you retire to reach a verdict, it is found that key evidence was tampered with. There is other strong evidence that the defendant did commit the murder, but how would you vote?
From cases I know there is never just one piece of evidence that points to either guilt or innocence.
However there is invariably at least one data point that leads to an inescapable conclusion. In your example one of the other points will be unequivocal, so the tampered evidence is irrelevant, and society should not suffer a wrongful acquittal. Better however than the common alternative, wrongful conviction.
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Old 6th December 2018, 04:16 PM   #6
theprestige
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Originally Posted by NWO Sentryman View Post
Largely inspired by the o.j simpson case.

Let's say you are a juror on a murder trial and shortly before you retire to reach a verdict, it is found that key evidence was tampered with. There is other strong evidence that the defendant did commit the murder, but how would you vote?
It is found how? Also, what's the evidence and how key is it, really?

I would vote in accordance with the testimony and the exhibits presented during the trial, influenced by the opening and closing arguments from each side, and by the judge's instructions to the jury.

If the evidence of tampering wasn't presented as part of the trial (say, I heard a news report that alleged tampering) then I would vote according to what I was given by due process, and let the appeals court deal with any irregularities that may have arisen.

On the other hand, if the defense presented evidence of tampering by the prosecution, as part of the trial, then I would probably vote in their favor. **** a prosecutor that tampers with evidence. Even if guilt is still proven by the other evidence, a) how can I trust any of the prosecutor's evidence now? and b) **** a prosecutor that tampers with evidence. Keeping the state honest is way more important than lowering the boom on one criminal.

On the other hand, if the prosecution presented evidence of tampering by the defense, then I would discard the tainted evidence and vote in accordance with the remainder.
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Old 7th December 2018, 12:02 AM   #7
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How about key forensic evidence stuffed up? The forensic scientist revealed as thinking of himself as a crown witness, not as an independent witness as stated by the prosecution and making basic errors? This is what happened in Australia. A man was in jail for almost 19 years. He was acquitted in a retrial when only circumstantial evidence was presented.

https://www.theguardian.com/australi...tman-collapsed
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Old 7th December 2018, 12:23 AM   #8
The Great Zaganza
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It would need to be brought up with the Judge, who would likely ask the Jury to disregard this partial evidence.
It could also cause a Mistrial.

But assuming things proceed, the important question is not just that piece of evidence, but how it fits into the narrative that either the Defense or Prosecution has spun: if it is a critical piece for understanding one side's story, you might have to go against the rest of the evidence as presented.
In any case, discovering such tampered evidence gives either party the option to file an appeal.
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Old 7th December 2018, 02:29 AM   #9
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I'd consider the evidence of tampering as part of the evidence in the case, and try to reach a decision based on the whole of the evidence provided. If it seemed clear beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant was guilty but that the police had tried to pad the evidence as well, then I wouldn't consider that a reason to vote Not Guilty. If the tampering was enough to suggest that all the evidence was similarly suspect, then I'd have to admit reasonable doubt. As with everything, context matters.

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Old 7th December 2018, 11:38 AM   #10
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It strikes me that in theory evidence tampering should be the basis for declaring a mistrial. But then who determines if the tampering truly occurred and its impact on the reliability of the evidence?

I gather that it's the jurors who have the overall responsibility of determining the strength, reliability, and significance of each piece of evidence presented at a trial. Therefore they are also the ones who are left to determine if a particular piece of evidence has been tampered with or not and how to interpret its impact on the guilt or innocence of the defendant.
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Old 7th December 2018, 11:46 AM   #11
theprestige
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
I'd consider the evidence of tampering as part of the evidence in the case, and try to reach a decision based on the whole of the evidence provided
Unless the evidence of tampering is presented to the jury during the trial as part of the trial, it's not actually part of the case you've been called to decide.
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Old 7th December 2018, 01:54 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Unless the evidence of tampering is presented to the jury during the trial as part of the trial, it's not actually part of the case you've been called to decide.
That seemed to me to be what was implied by the OP. If the jury found out by means external to the trial that evidence had been tampered with just before retiring, I think it would be a mistrial.

Dave
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