Friday, December 05, 2014
  Jury over

Tiresome but interesting. I've been running my narrow little early-morning hermit life for so long that I'm NOT accustomed to 10-hour days out of the house. I adjusted well enough, but I'm still hugely happy to get back to normal QUIET life, normal eating and working and sleeping patterns.

The most tiresome part was not the action in the case, which was rather sparse. Most tiresome was the hours spent in the jury room among constantly-talking extroverts. My ears are still ringing from the constant roar.

The case itself should have pushed ALL my hot-buttons. Defendant is a rich spoiled Saudi dude who was supposedly here in Spokane to take an engineering course, though that is dubious. He doesn't look like a Saudi; looks more Ethiopian or something else. Above all he looks arrogant and rich and accustomed to having total power. On the night in question, as they say, he was drinking in a local "semi-gay" after-hours bar known for general rowdiness. Buttons galore!

Saudi rich dude repeatedly ran through a fixed fetish routine with several girls. Basically he trapped each girl behind a door in a restroom stall and then dry-humped her. It was clear that he had been doing this for a long time, not just the night in question. Maybe he hadn't been caught before; more likely he had been caught and we weren't allowed to hear about it.

Result, presumably after lots of pretrial bargaining, was five assorted charges on the level of 'indecent liberties'. Looking up the law now, I see that 'indecent liberties by forcible compulsion' could lead to a life sentence but typically runs several years.

The facts were messy and unpleasant, partly because the defendant and two of the witnesses were seriously drunk and had trouble remembering details, partly because the prosecutor didn't bother to bring the facts together into a narrative. We ended up finding guilty on three charges, not guilty on one, and hung on one.

My supposed hot buttons faded as I got involved in plain human stories. At this level there isn't anything political; there's only pain and pleasure, truth and lies.

End result: I'm mainly pissed at the defense attorney and puzzled at the scheme of the case on both sides. Most of the jurors shared this basic attitude from various angles, depending on life experience.

Why did either side bother to work this case, and why did they work it this way?

The defense scheme was fairly simple but bizarre. Rich dude claimed that he was homosexual and not interested in girls, therefore these actions just "didn't happen".

Defense attorney put a lot of energy into persuading us that we should "help our ally Saudi Arabia" by freeing the dude, and kept trying to break us out of our supposed "prejudice" against Muslims.

"Helping our ally?" Crazy. Nobody bought that. Overcoming prejudice? Condescending. The pre-selection pool contained a few relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq, who had understandable grudges against Arabs. The selected jury had no particular problems in that area, so the appeal was condescending and counterproductive. Attorney clearly doesn't understand the people he's talking to. Seems to be operating from a standard Commie stereotype about American attitudes. He should stop reading HuffPost and Slate.

This rich dude's behavior is offensive to ordinary humans because he's spoiled and hyperaggressive. Those qualities have nothing to do with Islam, and IN FACT those qualities are far more offensive to a serious Muslim than to a typical American. Islam is extremely specific about the duties of the rich and powerful, while many Americans think the whole purpose of life is to become a billionaire.

And the defense claim of homosexuality is also weird. It didn't match the available facts and didn't help with the case. Deportation, not US prison, is the usual endpoint of non-"terrorist" criminal cases against rich Saudi students. With that word on the dude's official record, his future life in Saudi is short.

Why didn't they just plead out privately and send Rich Dude home to Rich Papa in exchange for a nice lucrative fine?

Doesn't make a goddamn lick of sense. Maybe Rich Papa didn't want him back.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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