Jurors In Florida Sell Their Votes For A Book Deal
TAMPA TRIBUNE writer Daniel Ruth noted one of the most corrupt jury trial cases ever held in Florida last week on his newspaper's blog when juror's returned all guilty verdicts and badgered other jurors who supported acquital into supporting all guilty verdicts so that they could profit from a business arrangement to write a book about the trial. By returning all guilty verdicts, the book deal would have more value. If there was an acquital, then the book deal would be nearly worthless, hurting the business arrangement prospects by the enterprising jurors who sought to turn their jury experience into a lucrative business venture.
All of this has happened with the backdrop of the Bush Administration's very own Justice Department preparing a number of election year politically moltivated court cases dealing with hot button issues close to the heart of Christian right voters, including followers of Rev. John Hagee and other John McCain supporters that include issues dealing with obscenity, abortion and Gay rights. In the Tampa, Florida case, an California adult filmmaker, Paul Little, was put on trial for supposedly sending five allegedly obscene DVDs into the conservative Florida community and violating their local community standards. Apparently jurors in Tampa object to dirty movies, but have no ethical problems with selling their vote on a jury for the sake of a book deal.
Paul Little's films are mostly real low budget films, many shot at his own home with Little playing a middle aged man wearing a cowboy hat who plays a character, Max Hardcore, who has brutish wild sex with hardened female porn actresses. But with a huge number of adult websites on the Internet, the federal obscenity trial of this single trashy filmmaker at random appears to be an attempt by the Bush Administration to hang some head on a wall as a trophy to brag about to social conservative voters.
Little was simply selectively prosecuted at random. And further, the misconduct of the jurors have made this trial a complete mockery of justice. However, the judge in the case, another Bush Administration appointee, allowed Little to be charged for mailing obscenity into Florida, even though Little only produced the films, although it was actually a third party distributor who was granted immunity from prosecution to testify that actually shipped the five DVD films to Tampa. Further, a major important standard of the established Supreme Court "Miller Test" that something can only be found obscene when "taken as a whole" was not followed, and the Bush Administration's own handpicked federal prosecutors were allowed by the presiding judge to only play a few select portions of Little's films in court, not allowing the defense team to prove that as a whole the films do not meet obscenity standards by playing each film in question in it's entirety to the jury.
After the trial, a crying woman juror, asked to hug Little, and stated that she supported acquital on all charges as did the Jury foreman and some other jury members, but that they were pressured by the other jury members who supported the guilty verdicts so that they could profit from their book deal business arrangement. As one small concession, the jury did not allow the government to seize Little's home, which is the only property he is likely to have left after the government takes everything he owns under federal forfeiture laws. The jurors who supported acquital all stated that they didn't much care for Little's films, but he has the right to produce poor quality movies with offensive content in a supposedly free country with a Bill Of Rights.
Meanwhile, the Bush Administration is back hard at work, daily working to undermine the nation's Constitution and the Bill Of Rights before the upcoming election, working to fire up right wing Christian conservative voters by using the nation's courts for kangarooo court show trials on hot button religious right issues to fire up their voter base to maximize November election turnout. In a normal year, a controversial trashy filmmaker like Paul Little would probably simply be ignored. In an election year, the poor fellow faces 50 years in prison, $5 million in fines, and forfeiture of any business property to the government. Such is the state of justice in America with Bush at the helm. And corrupt juries seek to make money by making business arangements to write books about trials that they are supposed to independently judge and use pressure against ethical jurors concerned with preservation of the Bill Of Rights and concern for not sending an innocent man to prison.
Paul Little is certainly no Mother Teresa. He is an opportunist with perhaps very little personal dignity or ethics on how to make a buck. But then again, his jurors were little more than ruthless opportunists as well, making business plans to profit from their jury trial experience. You might even be inclined to say that Little was judged by a true "jury of his own peers", in the words of TAMPA TRIBUNE writer, Daniel Ruth.
Little certainly has some good grounds to appeal his convictions, but with many courts presided over by more Bush appointed judges, Little's prospects to overturn his guilty verdicts are virtually impossible unless the jury corruption and other issues meet with the ears of a sympathetic judge who actually independently judges a case and is not just some religious right sock puppet of George Bush.
If you have no values whatsoever, and are only looking to earn a little extra summer income, then you just might consider becoming a juror, and then profiting from writing a book about the trial like the corrupt jurors in Tampa. But ethical citizens should be rightly disgusted at this justice for sale and a blow to freedom of expression and the Bill Of Rights.