Ohio v. Ducic: injustice files

I watched In the Jury Room over the last couple of evenings. After viewing it, it makes me realize more strongly than ever that Stanley is dead-on when he says "half of all people fall on the left side of the bell curve."

The State of Ohio says that when Mark Ducic's girlfriend threatened to go to the police about his drug dealing, he gave the woman a lethal drug cocktail, which made her death look like an accidental overdose. Concerned that a friend was going to reveal his secret to the police, Ducic allegedly concocted a similar drug mixture to keep his friend quiet. Defense attorneys John Luskin and Mark Spadaro contend that their client is innocent of the crimes. If the jury finds Ducic guilty of double murder, they will then be asked to decide whether he should be sentenced to death by lethal injection.

The verdict was guilty on both counts of murder, but the jury could not agree on a sentence, leaving it up to the judge. If a jury doesn't find for death, in Ohio, the judge cannot impose the death sentence. So she sentened him to two consecutive life terms.

The most appalling part of watching this was seeing the knee-jerk responses of some of the jurors. The hair salon lady, Cheryl, I guess her name was, had the guy dead by lethal injection before she even heard all of the evidence, such as it was (it was damned poor evidence -- the word of a rich druggie boy against a poor druggie boy, with rich druggie boy taping their druggie conversations like they meant something).

One juror, Carmella, a restaurant owner, tried like hell to hold out. She didn't think Ducic killed his girlfriend. Her assessment of the case was that Ducic is a blowhard, talking drugged-out big talk, which means nothing. And the medical examiner initially ruled that both deaths were garden-variety overdoses, until the DA got a bug up his ass and, for whatever reason, decided to transform this case into a double homicide by playing the ME some bits of the recordings the rich druggie boy made.

Carmella caved, eventually. The judge wouldn't let her leave the case, and the other jurors were relentless. Kind of reminded me of Lord of the Flies. Carmella regrets signing the guilty verdict. In her shoes, I can't say that I wouldn't have caved, but I was disappointed that she did and hope that I wouldn't.

Then there was the student who thinks she knows everything. What an obnoxious, stupid twit. And the lady going "Lawdy me" while playing sheep. And the "nice lady" who wanted everybody to like her. The jury forman, Chuck Whitehill, was an arrogant jerk who thought he was smarter than everyone else in the jury room -- and that attitude came through loud and clear. Maybe he was smarter than the rest, but I didn't see any evidence of it.

The jurors, except for the jury foreman, did not seem to be playing for the camera. You could tell the foreman was because of his labored, patronizing sentence constructions. The judge, however, was another story altogether. She interrupted Ducic, threw the book at him, hectored and lectured him, and went way beyond the bounds of court decorum. Are judgeships in Ohio elective offices? Because it sure seemed as if she was running for re-election. She didn't sound smart enough to be a judge -- she just sounded nasty.

The jury in this case was disgusting. This was no "Twelve Angry Men," where a lone voice holds out for justice. This was an abomination, more so because these people had the ability to take away a person's life. Carmella was the only saving grace, and she wasn't enough.

I'll watch the next couple of cases, and hope to see something that doesn't further justify my disgust with the so-called justice system in this country. I know that I wouldn't want these twelve people deciding my fate. And if Ducic can be convicted for murder based on nothing more than drugged-out big talk, there are a lot more people who will be going to jail for nothing. I guess prosecutor Dan Kasaris doesn't have enough real crime to deal with -- aren't there any real murderers in Ohio? I guess they would be too tough for him to handle.
Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/12/04 at 11:50 AM
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