In Memoriam – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Champion of Trial by Jury
To add to the many well-deserved acclamations of Justice Ginsburg, we note that she was petitioner’s attorney in Duren v. Missouri, a landmark case that set the current legal standard for determining whether a trial court’s juror-summoning processes comport with the Sixth Amendment. She repeatedly dissented when the High Court limited the role of juries in determining punitive damages.
British Courts Hearing Cases on Saturdays to Address Pandemic-caused Backlogs
After England resumed jury trials in August, the Evening Gazette reports that 1,000 extra cases have been heard on Saturdays. Many trials have been held outside of courthouses. Sites include the Teesside Hotel, the Lowry Theatre, and fittingly the Jurys Inn in Middlesbrough.
Civil Jury Trials Coming to Argentina?
The governor of Chaco Province recently asked the legislature to establish trial by jury for civil matters in Argentina. Currently, civil trials are conducted with a massive delegation of functions to court personnel and without oral arguments and public access. Most cases take more than four years to get a result. Some even decades. Consequently, Argentina was recently sanctioned by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights because it took twelve years to compensate the parents of a teenager who suffered a very serious accident in a playground during the 1990s. The governor’s bill provides that civil jury trials must have twelve members, be presided over by a judge who will instruct on the law, and end with a general unanimous verdict. A special verdict may also be rendered. The civil jury would entertain class actions, consumer rights collective disputes, tort cases of over half a million pesos, environmental claims, and land disputes.
Podcast Documentary Charts the History of the Six Prosecutions of Curtis Flowers
On the same day that the state attorney general dropped all charges against Mr. Flowers, a federal judge in Mississippi dismissed a lawsuit seeking to hold DA Doug Evans “accountable for the policy, custom, and usage of racially discriminatory jury selection” and to grant “an injunction to end this odious practice.” The suit cited an analysis by the investigative podcast In the Dark, which found that, over a 26-year period, Evans and his assistants struck black prospective jurors at nearly 4.5 times the rate they struck white ones.”
Zoom Trial Hacked – Graphic Lessons Learned
Law 360 reports images of the Sept. 11 attacks, pornography, and a hand-drawn swastika invaded video screens in a Georgia federal court‘s evidentiary hearing on Zoom. The case involved the state's use of electronic voting machines.
Munsterman Award Winner Chosen
NCSC is pleased to announce the winner of the 2020 G. Thomas Munsterman Award. It is Kyle Rimel, the IT Director for the Superior Court of Mohave County, Arizona. Mr. Rimel’s in-house design of a 4-tier courthouse IT network (with customized access for different classes of users (the general public, jurors, litigants, and court personnel), with stacked location of IT terminals on each floor of the county courthouse, enabled the Superior Court to realize significant cost savings and to resume the safe participation of grand and petit jurors in court proceedings. Perhaps most significantly, his work product creates conveniences and travel time savings for citizens living in the far reaches of the fifth largest rural county in the nation. His work products will surely be a model for courts in similar jurisdictions. We also commend the other Award nominees—the Milwaukee County Combined Court Operations, the Superior Court of Orange County, California, and the 4th Judicial Circuit of Florida. They each demonstrated hard work and creativity to meet the demands of administering justice during a global health crisis.