Clareified

Where does the good go

COSTS OF AN IMPARTIAL JURY?

The judge in the sentencing trial of al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui reminded jurors Friday to avoid looking up words in the dictionary after learning a juror went on the Internet to find out what “aggravating” means.

“The word ‘aggravating’ essentially means to make something worse,” the judge told the jurors. “Do not hesitate to ask questions if you have any. If you have a question, we are here to help.”

Unless your question can be answered by a sixth grader.

8 Responses to “COSTS OF AN IMPARTIAL JURY?”

  1. petitedov Says:

    Klosterman had an article about how stupid juries tend to be. The article, although funny, was actually really scary.

  2. MissusB Says:

    Did the judge not go over aggravating and mitigating in the jury instructions?

  3. JD Says:

    Either way … THEY CAN’T USE A DICTIONARY!?!? What the hell.

    Though I could see them wasting a lot of valuable time seeing which curse words and sexual acts were in the dictionary.

  4. Jake Says:

    Some words have an English meaning and a different legal meaning. So the juror probably wanted the legal meaning and the judge wanted to make sure they were using the legal meaning.

    If lawyers quit using legalese and started using English, they would no longer get the big bucks.

  5. Sam L. Says:

    Hey, Jake. I find your comments aggravating. Do you understand, or should I stop using legalese?

  6. Pearatty Says:

    It’s not necessarily legalese, but precise use of language and defined terms. For example, the legal definition of aggravating is probably one of the common uses, but not all of them. As just one example, being “aggravating” the way Sam L. used “aggravating” — i.e., to mean “annoying” is a correct use of lay English. But we probably wouldn’t want that to be enough to push a criminal penalty from say, life imprisonsonment to death. “The defendant shot his wife in the heat of passion, but damn he was condescending about the way he scolded her as he was doing it — I really found that aggravating; I vote for death.”

    And we want everyone to be on the same page. So we have a specific definition of what use of aggravating we mean in this particular circumstance. It’s just being careful and precise with language in order to try and achieve a consistent and just result every time.

  7. JD Says:

    OF COURSE THEY DESERVE TO DIE … AND I HOPE THEY BURN IN HELL!!!!!

    oh. wait. wrong trial

  8. annika Says:

    u made me snort my coffee dawn…

Leave a Reply