By Ron Sokol | [email protected] | Daily BreezePUBLISHED: May 12, 2015 at 9:23 pm | UPDATED: September 6, 2017 at 5:55 am Q: We are seeking money from a company with which we had an agreement, but it failed and then refused to meet certain conditions. We’re seeking reimbursement for considerable credits and benefits they were provided (into six figures). The company has “cross-claimed” us, contending that because we stopped doing business with them, they lost a bunch of money and almost had to close. Are we better off with a judge or a jury? — W.H., Hawthorne A: Judge trials tend to be less time consuming and less costly because there is less you have to do (i.e., pick a jury or prepare jury instructions). Most lawyers would probably tell you there also is less risk of a “runaway” verdict with a judge — the jury may be more emotional, and thereby more inclined to “sock it to the bad guy,” if there is one. With a judge, the use of … [Read more...] about Ask the Lawyer: Which is better, a judge or a jury?
California civil jury instructions
By James Binnall | PUBLISHED: November 28, 2018 at 4:49 pm | UPDATED: November 28, 2018 at 4:49 pm I was admitted to the State Bar in 2008 and began my legal career as a criminal defense attorney. A year later, I was called for jury duty for the first time as a California resident. I felt a sense of pride when I arrived at the San Diego County courthouse and passed through security using the entrance designated for attorneys. A clerk instructed prospective jurors to complete juror qualification questionnaires. Included among the questions was one asking if I ever had been convicted of a felony. I answered “yes.” In 1999, I was driving under the influence in a wreck that claimed the life of my close friend. I was convicted of DUI homicide in Pennsylvania and spent four years, one month, and six days in two maximum-security prisons. Moments later, a clerk informed me that I was ineligible for jury service because of my conviction. California permanently bans citizens with a … [Read more...] about Why excluding ex-felons from juries is a bad idea
(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.) James Binnall, California State University, Long Beach (THE CONVERSATION) Florida residents will vote on Nov. 6 on an amendment that would restore voting rights to 1 million people in Florida who are currently barred from voting because of a felony conviction. What many people do not know is that in Florida, those same people are also excluded from ever serving as jurors. While that’s not on the ballot in Florida, I believe allowing felons to serve on juries has just as much to do with ensuring the democratic ideals of shared governance and active liberty that voting provides. To date, the issue of excluding felons from juries has remained an almost entirely invisible punishment. As a scholar on the exclusion of felons from jury service, I have conducted a series of studies that call into question the stated purposes for the practice, while highlighting its negative … [Read more...] about Felons barred from jury duty: An unjustified punishment
By Larry Altman | [email protected] | Daily BreezePUBLISHED: December 4, 2016 at 10:59 pm | UPDATED: September 6, 2017 at 4:50 am Mason Zisette would be 18 now, a Mira Costa High School graduate in his freshman year at college. The Manhattan Beach teen was thinking Duke or Southern Methodist, with plans to take courses in finance. “He was full of joy. He was exuberant,” his mother, Amy Zisette, recalls. “He woke up every day and looked for the good in the day. … He was the sweetest, kindest heart ever and was a joy for us.” More than 1,800 people attended Mason’s funeral in 2014 following his death from a freak accident aboard a double-decker Starline Tours bus. Severe brain injury Attending a friend’s Sweet 16 party on July 10, 2014, Mason hit his head against the Spruce Street pedestrian bridge as he stood upstairs on the open air bus that was traveling south along the … [Read more...] about Jury assigns blame, awards $26 million in fatal injury of Manhattan Beach teen on tour bus
By Miriam Velasquez | [email protected] | Daily NewsPUBLISHED: June 10, 2017 at 7:07 pm | UPDATED: July 20, 2017 at 10:55 am On June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson, famous football player O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife, and her friend Ron Goldman are brutally stabbed to death outside Nicole’s home in Brentwood, California, in what quickly becomes one of the most highly publicized trials of the century. With overwhelming evidence against him, including a prior record of domestic violence towards Brown, O.J. Simpson became the chief suspect. Police officers stand guard outside Nicole Simpson’s condo. (1994) (Los Angeles Daily News file photo)File – O.J. Simpson and his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, celebrate the opening of the Harley-Davidson Cafe in this Oct. 19, 1993 file photo. On June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman were brutally stabbed to death outside Nicole’s home in Brentwood, California, (AP Photo/Paul Hurschmann) SoundThe … [Read more...] about O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman are murdered in Brentwood on June 12, 1994