I've just been thinking about this dilemma about playing judge & jury and to explain it I need to talk about a central plot point of the latest episode of Blue Bloods, so if haven't watched it yet and don't want it spoilt then save this thread until after you've watched it.
With that spoiler warning out the way lets get into it. Danny (the homicide detective) investigates the murder of a young woman. She's found in bed with a pillow covering her face and appears to be quite peaceful and with no signs of forced entry or of her having attempted to fight off her attacker , by her husband the morning after she's murdered.
Turns out she had pancreatic cancer and didn't have long left to live so she and the husband go to Vermont where euthanasia is legal so that a doctor can prescribe her a sedative that's supposed to kill her. They go back to NYC (where euthanasia isn't legal) and she takes the drug but (for reasons I can't remember) they realise it's not gonna kill her so she asks the husband to smother her with the pillow once she falls unconscious which is why she looked so peaceful, didn't fight back and why there was no forced entry.
Danny works all this out and the husband is charged (not sure with what exactly though).
My dilemma here is that I didn't want him to be charged. I think euthanasia should be legalised and therefore don't think the husband did anything wrong. However he broke the law. I can't work out if the role of the jury and having a fair trial is simply to determine if the defendant did it, or if it's also to decide if given that they did, they should be punished. If it's just to work out if they did it and the decision of should they be punished isn't the jury's to make then it makes sense not to charge the husband. But on the other hand, if it is the jury's decision to make then they should just trust that the jury will agree with them and find him innocent anyway. However I'm not sure if that holds water because my understanding is that you're not supposed to try and nullify a jury.
Can I have some help here? I'd also be interested to here an opinion from some kind of legal expert.
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- 19-05-2017 23:25
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- 19-05-2017 23:55
No-one would be disputing that her husband killed her. It's not the jury's decision whether the husband was charged with murder or manslaughter. It's not in the slightest the jury's role to decide what the punishment should be nor to concoct a false verdict out of any (in my view often weird) sympathy to the accused for what their punishment might be. It's the judge's job whether the judge choose to take in to account circumstances that might mean he doesn't set / recommend a particular actual length of minimum sentence (often 20+ years when judges choose to mention that) before parole can be considered.Last edited by Picnic1; 19-05-2017 at 23:59.