There is an interesting case out of Oklahoma where the murder conviction of Kassie Lakei Bills was overturned due to the comments at trial by Judge Ray Elliott of Oklahoma County. Elliott told the jurors to reach a quick verdict and not be “hardheads” by keeping everyone at the court. I guess that is why they call folks in Oklahoma “Sooners.”
In his charge to the jurors, Elliott told them “[i]f one of your fellow jurors starts to stray off, gets far outside of this narrowly defined responsibility, the other 11 of you have got to go, ‘Wait a minute, let’s go, we don’t want to be up here all day, all week, all month, all year.’ Let’s get the case decided, so don’t be one of those hardheads, so to speak.”
The appeals court found Elliott’s comments to be “a misstatement of the law that was an inherently coercive intrusion into the jury’s deliberative process.”
This is not the first controversy for Elliott who was previously asked to step down in a criminal trial after allegedly using an offensive term to describe illegal immigrants. He refused and was supported in that decision by another judge.
10 thoughts on “Sooner Justice: Oklahoma Murder Conviction Overturned Due To Comments By Judge That Jurors Should Not Be “Hardheads” In Delaying A Verdict”
You know, the US and England in the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries controlled juries by something called judicial commentary on the evidence. It looked almost exactly like what this judge did. Judges used them, along with orders for new trial, to control verdicts, expedite the trial proceeding, and to politically manipulate their positions. It was phased out as defendant’s rights were more firmly established (and then subsequently done away with through plea bargaining). I wonder if this means we’re returning to old devices for jury control, now that at least one judge has rehashed the possibility and defendant’s rights are now more obfuscated in the common criminal trial than they have been for a half century.
I think the Judge had a golf tee time that was at jeopardy if the jurors actually followed the law! This judge should be removed and disbarred.
This is an extension of the “Taxes are theft” rhetoric. Sure we all want to live in a society where we get a trial by jury, but are we willing to pay the cost of our time to do it?
“An offensive term to describe illegal immigrants”?
When I hear in the media that one person or another claims that they can identify an “illegal immigrant” by shoe style, haircut, or skin tone, it’s clear that it’s a racial term, and meant to be demeaning on the face of it. It’s analogous to the term that was used half a century ago for all Latinos, “wetbacks.” It means the same thing, and it’s just as offensive.
I’ve been called an “illegal immigrant” to my face. Not only were both my parents WWII vets, with five generations of citizenship on both sides of the family, I had cousins in Los Angeles before there were any Englishmen on this side of the Atlantic.
When will racism targeted at Latinos be as culturally taboo as that targeted against African Americans? I haven’t seen any progress in my lifetime.
So the Judge didn’t want the jury to keep everybody there too long and now, thanks to the same Judge, all the time spent on the trial was wasted. What’s the word I’m looking for …..
I’m not sure which is the most unbelievable: an amazing basketball shot, persecution of atheists in Florida, or the Oklahoma fear of Sharia law. I think I’d prefer the basketball shot. As least that has the air of a positive happening to it.
Kind of Like an Oklahoma Credit Card…..Right Jerry….
Good for any kind of semi-liquids….
“Sooner justice” is an oxymoron.
Remember, All FOLKS ARE PRESUMED GUILTY…..That is the New Miranda Rights…… Now if we could just get this Judge to be the trial Judge for Bush and Cheney…. Lets see if he changes his tune….
Gives new meaning to the phrase, “judge, jury, and …
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