Sunday, January 4, 2009

Mistrial caused by a Deaf Juror

Yesterday,The Columbus Dispatch reported that
Family outraged to learn of retrial The court concluded that boat owner Scott Speer of Fairlawn didn't receive a fair trial be cause a hearing-impaired woman was on the jury and she couldn't fully comprehend the vocal nuances in Speer's 911 call, a key piece of evidence in the case.

This decision will create alot of feedbacks from deaf and hearing-impaired citizens around United States. Could this cause problems for hearing jurors in deaf-related trials?


CoolPJR said...

I have been experienced as a juror 5 times back in New Jersey. I am very fortunate to be chosen in a jury system. I am profoundly Deaf. It was a very challenge while having deliberation. I am proud and honored to be treated equally. It is unfortunate to see this happen. I couldn't blame how a Deaf juror felt about what happened and impacted her esteem.

I love watching Courts on TV as well. I believe every Deaf person, who is a honest taxpayer and an American citizen, should be given a chance and it is a wonderful experience to serve our American Justice system.


Michael said...

I've always felt that deaf persons are entailed to a jury of their peers. Sorry, hearies are not our peers. Our juries should be made up of Deaf ASL users, period.

So if they are whining about having a deaf person on a jury for a hearing defendant, they better do the same for deaf defendants but I bet you all money I have on this planet that they will find a way to get that case dismissed due to the juror being a deaf but if it's the other way around - deaf defendant with hearing jurors, it won't happen.

Karen Mayes said...

I once served as a juror for a trial in Rochester, NY, and I had two excellent interpreters who successfully relayed the vocal nuances to me (AND other jurors... who were hearing, especially when we requested a few times for a transcripter to read parts of the trial to us.)

So I believe it could be the interpreters' burden to make sure that ALL information were given in correct form.

CoolPJR said...

Yes, both defense and plaintiff attorneys are also responsible by inquiring a Deaf juror before accepting to be part of the jury team. Thye have their rights to remove if they feel not suitable for a Deaf candidiate to serve as a juror before the trial begin. If a Deaf juror doesn't feel comfortable with one of interpreters, can he or she ask the judge to find a replacement ? It is not the best Cost effective, but it is their rights, too.

JR said...

Hearies are legal peers of deafies so we can't argue that they can't be on our juries. But....

Why does everyone here accept that the hearing lawyer is correct and it's okay to say this is a mistrial?

I think a Deaf person would be fine reading the transcript of a 911 call. What, exactly, was so important about "vocal nuances?" They are saying the convicted murderer SOUNDED so sad and stressed out that he HAD to be innocent. This is stupid.

I notice that hearing people are often seduced by the sound of voices and can't be trusted to make clear judgments.