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Defendants demenour in court

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Defendants demenour in court

Postby megaman » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:02 am

I recently read about an american case where the jury asked if the could consider the defendants demenour in court.

The judge said they could consider everything they saw in the court room
this was apealed all the way to the american supreme court and a comment which was made by one of the judges was something alone the lines of "unfortunately the defendant will never known if his demenour cause his conviction"

My question is this

As a defendant, prosecutor or defending barrister
if such a question was as by an English jury
What would your thoughts be?

(i will state my opinion after some discussion has occurred)
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Re: Defendants demenour in court

Postby dls » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:01 am

You are gnawing at this particular bone.

US law is not agood guide.
They would be told,yes they coud take account of all these thigs but that they must do so with great care. Elemens on their own can be misleading.

The jury system is there exatly so that if one or two out of twelve have strange ideas about such things, those ideas are ironed out in the concensus.
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Re: Defendants demenour in court

Postby shootist » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:00 am

Perhaps a competent defence lawyer who noted that his client's demeanour appeared to put him in an unfavourable light could find a way of drawing to the attention of the court the reasons why this might be a false indication of his guilt. It is not, I think, so uncommon that you might find a charming and innocent sounding con man, or psychopath even, who might by his demeanour seem innocent while a perfectly innocent man might appear irascible, impatient, and unfriendly, making the jury dislike him and thereby possibly increase the chances of him being wrongly convicted.

"Mr Accused, you don't suffer fools gladly, do you?"

"Why the hell should I? They're fools!"

Probably not the best example, but I'm sure it could be done.
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Re: Defendants demenour in court

Postby Maz JP » Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:36 pm

I'm not too sure I understand what in this instance is meant by 'demeanour'.

But anyone who has sat in a Youth Court will know that there is generally absolutely no link between mannerisms or dress sense and guilt or innocence.

Generally speaking, it's a good thing to focus on the actual evidence, rather than one's own views on the type of person who is giving it.
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Re: Defendants demenour in court

Postby megaman » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:10 pm

Maz JP wrote:I'm not too sure I understand what in this instance is meant by 'demeanour'.

But anyone who has sat in a Youth Court will know that there is generally absolutely no link between mannerisms or dress sense and guilt or innocence.

Generally speaking, it's a good thing to focus on the actual evidence, rather than one's own views on the type of person who is giving it.


I agree entirely
but the fact that the jury in this particular case asked if they could consider the defendants demenour suggests that this particular jury did not.
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Re: Defendants demenour in court

Postby Maz JP » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:38 pm

Meh, America.
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Re: Defendants demenour in court

Postby megaman » Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:04 am

dls wrote:You are gnawing at this particular bone.

US law is not agood guide.
They would be told,yes they coud take account of all these thigs but that they must do so with great care. Elemens on their own can be misleading.

The jury system is there exatly so that if one or two out of twelve have strange ideas about such things, those ideas are ironed out in the concensus.


why is US law
"not a good guide"
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Re: Defendants demenour in court

Postby Smouldering Stoat » Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:06 pm

Because it's a foreign country with a completely different legal system.
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Re: Defendants demenour in court

Postby atticus » Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:01 pm

d'oh
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Re: Defendants demenour in court

Postby megaman » Sat Apr 01, 2017 12:57 am

I have read about some VERY absurd cases in america

In one case a person who caused a car accident was silent immediately after the accident. The prosecutor argued that this must mean guilt and the jury agreed.

In another and defendant said um and fidgeted when asked about some shotgun shells in a police interview.

In annother a jury specifically asked if they could use the defendants demenour in court as evidence, the judge aloud it and at appeal it was pointed out that the defendant would never know if his demenour got him convicted or not

These are all extreme cases and i would say that (assuming these reasons were the reason for conviction) the jurors in these cases were as thick as pig Sh!t, so much so that justice was not served and the the trials were effectively a gamble.

However these were all american cases.
Does anyone know of any cases as extream is this in the UK
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