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Federal judge overturns rape, murder conviction
AP on Bakersfield Californian ^ | 2/8/08 | AP

Posted on 02/08/2008 10:35:34 PM PST by NormsRevenge

A federal judge on Friday overturned the conviction of a man on death row for the rape and murder of a woman outside an Orange County bar because of statements made by a prospective FBI agent that allowed him to get on the trial's jury.

U.S. District Court Judge Consuelo B. Marshall overturned the conviction of Richard Raymond Ramirez because the jury foreman - who was a candidate to become an FBI agent - made "false and misleading" statements about his employment situation during jury selection in the 1985 trial.

The juror, Thomas Alston, is now an FBI agent in Portland. Marshall said his behavior "fatally undermines the court's confidence in his impartiality."

Alston declined to comment about the case.

Marshall ordered that Ramirez either be released from San Quentin's death row or be granted a new trial.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas urged the attorney general's office to ask the judge to reconsider or to appeal.

"Mr. Ramirez was, and continues to be, a poster child for the death penalty," Rackauckas said in a statement. "We will make sure justice is done in this case."

Deputy state Attorney General William Wood, who argued the prosecution's side in federal court, said he had not yet decided whether to appeal.

"We're examining our options," Wood said. "We've advised the district attorney to let them know in case they have to make a decision on retrial."

Ramirez was convicted for the 1983 killing of a 22-year-old Norwalk bank teller outside a bar in Garden Grove. The partially nude body of Kimberly Gonzales was found in a nearby alley. She had been stabbed 19 times and bled to death.

He was convicted of rape, sodomy and murder. The California Supreme Court upheld the conviction in 1990.

Transcripts show that when the trial judge asked the jury pool if any had law enforcement ties, Alston said his stepfather was an FBI agent and his father and uncle were retired agents. He didn't indicate he was a prospective agent himself.

Alston said he was working as a civil attorney, though he had been recently laid off.

"Mr. Alston understood that defense counsel would likely excuse him from the jury panel if he knew the full extent of his connections to the FBI," Judge Marshall wrote.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; US: California
KEYWORDS: california; conviction; federaljudge; gramsci; murder; overturns; rape
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Ramirez was convicted for the 1983 killing of a 22-year-old Norwalk bank teller outside a bar in Garden Grove. The partially nude body of Kimberly Gonzales was found in a nearby alley. She had been stabbed 19 times and bled to death.

He was convicted of rape, sodomy and murder. The California Supreme Court upheld the conviction in 1990.

--

U.S. District Court Judge Consuelo B. Marshall

a 1980 Jimmy Carter appointee

1 posted on 02/08/2008 10:35:35 PM PST by NormsRevenge
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Kimberly Gonzales had no appeals, she died in 1983.

His death penalty sentence was upheld in 1990.

This is 2008.

18 years worth of appeals.

Justice?


2 posted on 02/08/2008 10:40:51 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: NormsRevenge

As much as I hate to admit it, the judge was right. Potential bias of a juror is a grave threat to the administration of justice, so the only reasonable response is (1) hold a new trial and (2) crucify the juror who lied.


3 posted on 02/08/2008 10:41:06 PM PST by Squawk 8888 (Is human activity causing the warming trend on Mars?)
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The juror, Thomas Alston, is now an FBI agent in Portland. Marshall said his behavior “fatally undermines the court’s confidence in his impartiality.”

I know there will be those who defend this decision by the Judge.

At least double jeopardy does not apply.


4 posted on 02/08/2008 10:43:23 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: Squawk 8888

If the perp had been executed long ago, it wouldn’t be like an innocent man was executed.

However, I understand the bias argument. While I do not like it, I also would seek a retrial and subsequent movement of the perp to the top of the list with a few others still awaiting “Justice”.


5 posted on 02/08/2008 10:46:03 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: Squawk 8888
its not a grave threat...its a minor point ..

it did not affect the outcome and to throw out this conviction over this non issue is INSANE....

and its not like defense attorneys don't slither in their "type" of juror....

6 posted on 02/08/2008 10:46:29 PM PST by cherry
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To: Squawk 8888

“As much as I hate to admit it, the judge was right. Potential bias of a juror is a grave threat to the administration of justice, so the only reasonable response is (1) hold a new trial and (2) crucify the juror who lied.”

This is just a technicality. I am so sick of seeing violent criminals released by liberal judges and liberal politicians.


7 posted on 02/08/2008 10:49:58 PM PST by detective
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To: cherry

I am not blaming the lawyers in this one; both sides always try to slip in “their” type of juror. In this case the blame falls squarely on the juror in question because he lied. I do wonder, though, why he wasn’t charged with perjury.


8 posted on 02/08/2008 10:50:42 PM PST by Squawk 8888 (Is human activity causing the warming trend on Mars?)
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Alston said his stepfather was an FBI agent and his father and uncle were retired agents. He didn’t indicate he was a prospective agent himself.

Alston said he was working as a civil attorney, though he had been recently laid off.

Wouldn’t the fact that his family had “FBI blood” already present be enough in itself to disqualify him?

If not, then the fact he was in a transitional state should not be seen as a major violation... but I admit I am not legally trained. Thank God I opted to not pursue law as a life endeavor nor politics.


9 posted on 02/08/2008 10:53:06 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: Squawk 8888

I would be curious when this juror violation was discovered and by whom. The Innocence Project?

I do not share your view that the juror is guilty of lying as you say.


10 posted on 02/08/2008 10:54:56 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: Squawk 8888

and you are from Canada? lol

wow.


11 posted on 02/08/2008 10:55:43 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: detective

I don’t fault liberal judges and liberal politicians for this one. If I ever found myself at the wrong end of criminal proceedings and found out later that a juror concealed the fact that he was a cop wannabe, I’d be screaming “frame up” big time. I’d also question that juror’s qualifications to work in law enforcement because by lying in court he exhibited a serious contempt for the law. Some may say it’s a mere technicality, but when you’re talking about depriving someone of his life or his freedom, dammit you better do your homework.


12 posted on 02/08/2008 10:55:58 PM PST by Squawk 8888 (Is human activity causing the warming trend on Mars?)
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To: NormsRevenge

Yep, our government at work. To insure letting off a murderer and rapist.


13 posted on 02/08/2008 10:56:30 PM PST by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote.)
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To: NormsRevenge

They are just figuring this out after 18 years.


14 posted on 02/08/2008 10:57:57 PM PST by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote.)
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To: Squawk 8888

The perp murdered a woman. Convicted, upheld.

Justice is blind and so are many practitioners in the field as well. What a system.


15 posted on 02/08/2008 10:58:36 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: NormsRevenge
I admit I am not legally trained. Thank God I opted to not pursue law as a life endeavor nor politics

LOL. Every time I've ever met a lawyer or politician, I always walked away thinking, "There but for the grace of G*d..."

16 posted on 02/08/2008 10:58:37 PM PST by Squawk 8888 (Is human activity causing the warming trend on Mars?)
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To: Squawk 8888

amen.

for a minute there, I read into your remarks that you are in the legal profession.


17 posted on 02/08/2008 11:00:22 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: NormsRevenge

Nope, just a lowly software development geek.


18 posted on 02/08/2008 11:04:53 PM PST by Squawk 8888 (Is human activity causing the warming trend on Mars?)
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To: Squawk 8888

This guy was not framed. He was guilty. If he is released he will probably kill someone else.


19 posted on 02/08/2008 11:05:58 PM PST by detective
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To: detective

if he isn’t re-tried, at least they got 22 years out of him on death row. not much consolation, but.. considering california and the death row overcrowding, over 600 are waiting for their final exit..


20 posted on 02/08/2008 11:10:00 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: Squawk 8888

Did he lie? He was asked if he had any ties to law enforcement.

A job app fills that? How? He said he had direct family in law enforcement, that’s not ties more than a job app?

So, anyone with a job app in for a law enforcement job is not able to differentiate between right and wrong, fact and fancy?

Pardon me for bucking the trend but I see this as another example of a judge that could benefit from a bit of a job change.


21 posted on 02/08/2008 11:11:04 PM PST by Grimmy (equivocation is but the first step along the road to capitulation)
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To: detective

The defendant was found guilty by a jury led by someone who worked to get on the jury. We don’t want people to get on the OJ jury to let him off. We don’t want people to get on juries for the purpose of sticking it to some big company. But we also dont want people to get on juries with a hidden bias toward conviction.

None of us know the exact wording of what the prospective jurors were asked. None of us know exactly where this guy was in the process of becoming an FBI agent. So I can not be sure whether I agree with this judge’s ruling or not.

I do know this guy’s status with the FBI should immediately be up for review. The FBI needs the answers to the questions I raised above and if this guy explicitly or implicitly lied in court to get on a jury, he needs to be looking for a new line of work.


22 posted on 02/08/2008 11:16:58 PM PST by JLS
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To: cherry
it did not affect the outcome and to throw out this conviction over this non issue is INSANE....

Now I am just a layman but without seeing what statements the juror said when being interviewed the impression that comes across from this ruling is that potential law enforcement members are not welcome on a jury. I understand possible loyalty issues but the juror admitted a history of FBI employment at the time while he himself was not. Now again without knowing if there is an unquestionable lie involved, this story doesn't indicate the rules but obviously jurors can be excused by defense lawyers. What I also don't see is what I have seen before - some breach of the law but not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Was this juror a foreman? If he was is it known if he was the catalyst to change a single, or several, juror(s) leaning towards not guilty. Is there any indication of improper conduct during the trial?

What I really dislike about an article like this is the lack of info to really let the public decide. With the limited info presented, as of now I feel the judge has reacted overzealously and nullified the millions of dollars surely spent convicting and defending that conviction on appeal.

23 posted on 02/08/2008 11:25:14 PM PST by torchthemummy ("Patriotism is looking out for yourself by looking out for your Country"-Calvin Coolidge)
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To: JLS
The FBI needs the answers to the questions I raised above and if this guy explicitly or implicitly lied in court to get on a jury, he needs to be looking for a new line of work.

I think that's a point on which everyone here can agree. Like you, I don't know the full story of what the juror said or whether he was biased, but what I have read makes me very uncomfortable.

24 posted on 02/08/2008 11:26:39 PM PST by Squawk 8888 (Is human activity causing the warming trend on Mars?)
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To: JLS

When asked if he had ties to law enforcement the juror told of his family’s connections but did not reveal that he was a “prospective agent”. That meant he might be an agent sometime in the future. I am all for honesty and not lying and I agree with you that we don’t know the exact wording but I’m not sure the juror was asked to predict what he would do in the future. This one issue was used by the defendant’s attorneys to get a conviction overturned and potentially put a violent criminal on the street.


25 posted on 02/08/2008 11:36:43 PM PST by detective
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To: NormsRevenge

Is this THE Richard Ramirez? As in the Nightstalker?!


26 posted on 02/08/2008 11:38:09 PM PST by abigailsmybaby (I was born with nothing. So far I have most of it left.)
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To: NormsRevenge
Justice?

Where did you get the impression that justice had anything to do with the legal system?
27 posted on 02/08/2008 11:38:54 PM PST by Dr.Zoidberg (Mohammedanism - Bringing you only the best of the 6th century for fourteen hundred years.)
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To: detective

From reading the article the juror had at least applied to be an FBI agent. The question to me is how far into that process was he.

And this is a lesson for all who want criminals put away, dont play funny with getting on a jury. All you do is set things up for a retrial years later when memories have faded and evidence is old.


28 posted on 02/08/2008 11:43:43 PM PST by JLS
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To: JLS

None of us know the exact wording of what the prospective jurors were asked. None of us know exactly where this guy was in the process of becoming an FBI agent. So I can not be sure whether I agree with this judge’s ruling or not.

I agree more information with specifics would be beneficial, a cursory of this article would obviously cause both sides to feel they are correct and the Judge’s action at this late date would be warranted.

My gut feel is it is not, however.

Nor would I agree that this agent is now to be hung by his pinkies to satisfy anyone as you would seem to suggest.

I’m sure more info will be forthcoming or I would hope so at least. I’ll see what else I can find towards that end and post it.

I would also caution those reading this thread and comments that this site is all too oft frequented by folks who are dead set on getting death penalty convictions overturned by hook or by crook and would let the victims and their families be damned in their own pursuit of beating the penalty imposed at any cost.


29 posted on 02/08/2008 11:45:29 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: abigailsmybaby

No, different fella.


30 posted on 02/08/2008 11:46:28 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: NormsRevenge

IMPEACHMENT TIME!!!


31 posted on 02/08/2008 11:49:08 PM PST by levotb
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To: Squawk 8888
As much as I hate to admit it, the judge was right.

Horse manure.
Does the following make any sense to you?:

Transcripts show that when the trial judge asked the jury pool if any had law enforcement ties, Alston said his stepfather was an FBI agent and his father and uncle were retired agents.... "Mr. Alston understood that defense counsel would likely excuse him from the jury panel if he knew the full extent of his connections to the FBI," Judge Marshall wrote.

The guy had THREE close relatives who were current or former FBI agents, but leave it to a corrupt Clinton scumbag like Marshall to come up with the lame reasoning that because the juror failed to mention that he himself was SEEKING employment with the FBI (was he even asked what he speculated about his future?), well THAT would have sent up a red flag to the defense. Yeah. Sure, okay.

32 posted on 02/08/2008 11:49:17 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: All

The Judge has been a recipient of a number of awards over the years and also been involved in some very interesting cases.

Judge Consuelo Marshall to Receive CWL Award
http://www.metnews.com/articles/2007/Mars051007.htm

This is from 2005
http://www.4law.co.il/judpor1.htm
Ex - Judge Agrees to Plea Deal In Child Porn Case

Judge Rules For L.A. Solicitors
http://www.vnn.org/usa/US0108/US20-6864.html


33 posted on 02/09/2008 12:02:36 AM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: Lancey Howard

Why did the douche bag omit that he had put in an application to be a federal agent and why was he angling so hard to be on the jury???? Most sane people work to get out of being on a jury, no less a capital offense trial. This guy deserves some sort of serious reprimand.


34 posted on 02/09/2008 12:11:19 AM PST by rednesss (Fred Thompson - 2008)
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To: JLS; Squawk 8888

fwiw.. The juror had an application pending.. still pretty flimsy imo.. -—the eventual foreman of the jury failed to reveal that he had been laid off at the law firm he had been working for because of his then-pending application for employment at the FBI.-—

http://www.capdefnet.org/hat/wag.asp

Habeas relief granted to California death row inmate in pre-AEDPA habeas case.

On February 5, 2008, United States Judge Consuelo Marshall of the Central District of California issued an order granting the petition for writ of habeas corpus filed by Richard Raymond Ramirez. Ramirez v. Ayers, CV-91-3802-CBM (C.D. Cal.). Following an evidentiary hearing, she found that the jury foreman affirmatively misrepresented his employment status during voir dire which gave rise to a presumption of bias that was not dispelled at the hearing. (At the time of voir dire, the eventual foreman of the jury failed to reveal that he had been laid off at the law firm he had been working for because of his then-pending application for employment at the FBI.)

Marshall rejected Ramirez’s claim that counsel was ineffective in failing to present an intoxication defense during the guilt-innocence phase of the trial, ruling that Ramirez had failed to establish prejudice. In order to defeat the first-degree murder conviction, Ramirez would have had to raise a reasonable doubt about his intent to rape the victim. In finding it unlikely that he could have done so, Marshall concluded, after an extensive discussion of the evidence: “In this case, the physical evidence and eyewitness testimony established that Ramirez was not so intoxicated that he could not walk, force [the victim] to submit, become sexually aroused, penetrate her vaginally and anally, ejaculate, stab her to death, and then drive himself home. The question the jurors would have asked themselves, therefore, was whether it could reasonably be doubted that Ramirez intended to use force when he committed the act of intercourse. It is not reasonably probable that the jurors would have felt reasonable doubt about this.” The remaining allegations and claims were denied or dismissed.


35 posted on 02/09/2008 12:15:21 AM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: NormsRevenge

Whew! Ya just never know about liberal judges in California. It could happen.


36 posted on 02/09/2008 12:21:22 AM PST by abigailsmybaby (I was born with nothing. So far I have most of it left.)
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To: detective
The FBI needs the answers to the questions I raised above and if this guy explicitly or implicitly lied in court to get on a jury, he needs to be looking for a new line of work.

I don't think the question is whether he expected to be in law enforcement. The fact that he wanted to be in law enforcement is reason to expect bias. Personally, if I was bucking for a job in LE the last thing I would want to do is serve on a jury.

37 posted on 02/09/2008 1:02:01 AM PST by Squawk 8888 (Is human activity causing the warming trend on Mars?)
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To: JLS
dont play funny with getting on a jury. All you do is set things up for a retrial years later when memories have faded and evidence is old.

Probably the wisest words posted to this thread, FRiend.

38 posted on 02/09/2008 1:03:46 AM PST by Squawk 8888 (Is human activity causing the warming trend on Mars?)
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To: NormsRevenge
this site is all too oft frequented by folks who are dead set on getting death penalty convictions overturned by hook or by crook and would let the victims and their families be damned in their own pursuit of beating the penalty imposed at any cost.

All too true. Needless to say, the same can be said of the converse side of the argument.

39 posted on 02/09/2008 1:05:55 AM PST by Squawk 8888 (Is human activity causing the warming trend on Mars?)
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To: NormsRevenge

Heck! Release him. He can bunk with the judge while he waits for retrial!


40 posted on 02/09/2008 1:25:41 AM PST by Islander7 ("Show me an honest politician and I will show you a case of mistaken identity.")
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To: Squawk 8888
If I ever found myself at the wrong end of criminal proceedings and found out later that a juror concealed the fact that he was a cop wannabe, I’d be screaming “frame up” big time.

Even if you were guilty?

41 posted on 02/09/2008 3:24:00 AM PST by raybbr (You think it's bad now - wait till the anchor babies start to vote!)
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To: NormsRevenge

Liberalism is rampant in our USA.


42 posted on 02/09/2008 3:25:56 AM PST by exnavy ( note to islamists,God means love, not hate.)
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To: NormsRevenge

“Wouldn’t the fact that his family had “FBI blood” already present be enough in itself to disqualify him?”

So you’d think. I have been called for jury duty every other year for at least 12 years. Every time I go, there are lawyers and other LE personnel in the group and to date NONE of them have ever been excepted on a jury with me. The same applies to their spouses, siblings, and children.


43 posted on 02/09/2008 3:50:22 AM PST by Mila
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To: NormsRevenge
Nor would I agree that this agent is now to be hung by his pinkies to satisfy anyone as you would seem to suggest.

So your view is that an FBI agent lying to get on a jury is not a problem for his job? You think we need more law enforcement with a history of lying to courts? Is that an enhancement of job qualifications to you? At the vary least this guy told the court his employment was something it was not, ie civil attorney. Now maybe he just did not want to admit he was unemployed. But to my mind if you are his boss you find out exactly what the deal was. Honesty is a pretty big part of being in law enforcement WE IN THE PUBLIC HOPE.
44 posted on 02/09/2008 6:30:04 AM PST by JLS
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To: rednesss

Why did the douche bag omit that he had put in an application to be a federal agent and why was he angling so hard to be on the jury???? Most sane people work to get out of being on a jury, no less a capital offense trial. This guy deserves some sort of serious reprimand.”

Can you post the part of the transcript where they are questioning
Thomas Alston?


45 posted on 02/09/2008 7:44:06 AM PST by philetus (Keep doing what you always do and you'll keep getting what you always get.)
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To: NormsRevenge

So, once again, a liberal judge does what he wants and does not follow the law and releases a rapist and murderer. He should have to take this guy home with him and let him stay with him and his wife, or his boyfriend, which ever he has.


46 posted on 02/09/2008 7:45:44 AM PST by RetiredArmy (A man alone. Without a party. Without a political voice. Bush destroyed conservatives.)
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To: JLS

ok, so call it a lie of omission,, he was not employed by the FBI, only in the process of application, if the Judge isn’t smart enough to put 2 and 2 together that that work propensity ran in the family, then ban all folks who believe in law and order from serving as jurors, why don’t cha?

I think you’re over dramatizing this a bit, jmo.


47 posted on 02/09/2008 9:14:21 AM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: Mila

Thanks for that insight.

I have never made it thru the juror selection process, only called for duty a couple times, my wife has sat as ana lternate on a murder case, and been called but not selected a couple few times.


48 posted on 02/09/2008 9:19:34 AM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: JLS

again, I would offer the info available is not sufficient to make a definitive assessment, you are basing yours on sound reasoning for the most part, I’ll give you that, sorry if I could care less if the turd fried years ago and this was uncovered or not by the Judge.

I would also ask, What would Judge Roy Bean do?


49 posted on 02/09/2008 9:26:50 AM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Godspeed ... ICE’s toll-free tip hotline —1-866-DHS-2-ICE ... 9/11 .. Never FoRGeT)
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To: Squawk 8888

According to the trial transcripts, which Marshall cited in a 62-page order vacating Ramirez’s conviction, Alston claimed he was working as a civil attorney when he was questioned about his occupation, despite the fact that he had recently been laid off.

When Superior Court Judge Donald McCartin asked jurors about any ties to law enforcement, Alston told the judge that his father and uncle were retired FBI agents and that his stepfather was a current agent.

“Why aren’t you in the FBI?” the judge quipped. “You need not answer,” he quickly added.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-overturn9feb09,0,7165345.story


50 posted on 02/09/2008 9:38:32 AM PST by SoCal Pubbie
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