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Author Topic: Jury duty  (Read 9183 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 01, 2007, 01:44:09 PM »

As an Orthodox Christian I don't feel compelled to judge anyone. Our legal system in America requires us to serve as jurors. I have two questions.

1. Does our Orthodoxy come into question if we send someone to jail?

2. What kind of excuses work best to become disqualified?  Grin
 
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2007, 01:57:48 PM »

2. What kind of excuses work best to become disqualified?  Grin

That you're so utterly biased against one side on principle that you'll never be able to fairly consider the facts.
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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2007, 02:26:48 PM »

I'm sorry, but trying to come up with excuses to get out of jury duty sounds alot like lying to me.

You're not judging the immortal soul of anyone, you're weighing facts in a case to see if a person is actually guilty of a crime.  To my knowledge, the Church has never spoken out against a legitimate authority's right to adjudicate a civil matter.  In the Great Experiment known as the United States, the jury system is a legitimate authority, for good or ill.  To shirk that duty flies in the face of St. Paul's exhortations to Titus that we are to "to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work" (3:1).  Being a part of a jury does not mean we will be speaking evil of a man (3:2), but rather we may in actuality be preventing ill of happening to an innocent man.

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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2007, 02:27:46 PM »

Depends on the nature of the case, or court, I would think. My (Orthodox) brother-in-law chose appointment to a General District Court bench in VA rather than the higher paid Circuit Court appointment offered him. Reason: he did not want to preside over a capital murder case.
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« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2007, 02:38:28 PM »

What is this thing about not judging people? We don't judge someone's status vis a vis God and we don't make light of others' sins, but St Paul tell us to admonish public sinners. I don't see the problem with serving on a jury therefore, and would argue it is our duty based on Christ's injunction to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's.
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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2007, 02:46:04 PM »

Would Christ send someone to jail? Theosis is becoming the image of Christ. What makes this any different?
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« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2007, 02:52:24 PM »

What is this thing about not judging people? We don't judge someone's status vis a vis God and we don't make light of others' sins, but St Paul tell us to admonish public sinners. I don't see the problem with serving on a jury therefore, and would argue it is our duty based on Christ's injunction to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's.
Great point.  I'd have no problem with sending someone to jail or fining them for their crimes.  I would probably want to talk with my priest, though, if I were asked to send someone to their death.

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« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2007, 02:53:07 PM »

Would Christ send someone to jail? Theosis is becoming the image of Christ. What makes this any different?
I'm not sure I understand your question, brother.
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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2007, 02:55:56 PM »

Veniamin gave you the answer.

If you claim that you are predisposed to certain conclusions, you'll talk yourself off a jury, but initially it will just send you back into the pool.  You usually have to get dismissed from 2 or 3 pools before you get to go home.
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« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2007, 03:02:41 PM »

Would Christ send someone to jail? Theosis is becoming the image of Christ. What makes this any different?
Yes, if they deserved it.  Christ sends people to hell if they deserve it; he cast out the person in the parable who didn't wear the wedding garment.  Christ isn't Someone who never punishes people; that is a modernist notion.  Christ loves us, and by loving us He must also be just.
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« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2007, 03:03:34 PM »

I am always honest about my beliefs and how I stand on Orthodox issues like Capitol punishment when I am being  asked questions .  In Texas, if they are seeking the death penalty, I have never been chosen, however if the death penalty is not at issue (and yes about 80% of murder, manslaughter, or wrongful deaths cases  have the death penalty bargained out  of the case early , even in Texas) I have been chosen for the jury. The only automatic exemptions here are mental  instability, a sole cregiver for minor children, or a conviction of anything greater than a traffic ticket (Class two and three misdemeanors ---no hot checks etc). I always enjoyed my time on the jury.

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« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2007, 03:28:40 PM »

In Texas, if they are seeking the death penalty, I have never been chosen, however if the death penalty is not at issue (and yes about 80% of murder, manslaughter, or wrongful deaths cases  have the death penalty bargained out  of the case early , even in Texas) I have been chosen for the jury.

Not quite.  In those 80% you're talking about, the case isn't eligible for the death penalty as a matter of law.  Only capital murders may receive the death penalty and there are pretty stringent guidelines for what constitutes capital murder (murder of a peace officer, child under five, etc.).  Just wanted to clear up the specifics on that.
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« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2007, 03:41:51 PM »

The only automatic exemptions here are mental  instability, a sole cregiver for minor children, or a conviction of anything greater than a traffic ticket (Class two and three misdemeanors ---no hot checks etc).

Also, automatic exemption if you are a doctor or a clergyman. That's pretty standard in every state. I'm pretty sure Orthodox clergy in Texas are exempt.
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« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2007, 03:54:58 PM »

Yes, if they deserved it.  Christ sends people to hell if they deserve it; he cast out the person in the parable who didn't wear the wedding garment.  Christ isn't Someone who never punishes people; that is a modernist notion.  Christ loves us, and by loving us He must also be just.

Doesn't everybody deserve it?
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« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2007, 04:51:45 PM »

Doesn't everybody deserve it?

Well not really, otherwise there wouldn't be saints Smiley.  Christ finds some worthy, and accepts them into Eternal Salvation, while others, He casts out into darkness. 
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« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2007, 04:59:10 PM »

Would Christ send someone to jail? Theosis is becoming the image of Christ. What makes this any different?

Our holy priests are charged with the task of giving us penances when we fail in our duty to be like Christ.

Citizens of this country, when called to serve on a jury, are charged with the task of giving penances when a fellow citizen fails in his duty to follow the law of the land.

As Anastasios pointed out, render unto Caesar what is Caesar's...



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« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2007, 05:13:41 PM »

If you do end up on a jury, remember that there is an often overlooked aspect where our faith can inform our decisions.  American juries have the power of jury nullification:  that is, even if the person is guilty according to the law, you still have the right to vote to acquit (for instance, if you think the law is unjust, or the potential punishment disproportionate, etc).  A good resource for any prospective juror on issues like this is:  http://www.fija.org

But, if you really don't feel capable of judging in a criminal setting, there's nothing wrong with telling the court that at the outset.
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« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2007, 05:29:55 PM »

It appears Demetrios you are posting from Greece.  I know nothing about the Greek civil or criminal system.  Does anything particular about your service on a jury in that country bother you or that might be different from the legal system in any other country?
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« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2007, 09:06:09 PM »

I live in NYC. Originally from Greece. I'll try the crazy card first. That shouldn't be to hard. laugh
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« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2007, 08:12:04 AM »

I live in NYC. Originally from Greece. I'll try the crazy card first. That shouldn't be to hard. laugh

Let me guess... Greek in NYC = Astoria.

Astoria = Queens County.

Queens County = Supreme Court Queens County - 88-11 Sutphin Blvd.
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« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2007, 08:34:06 AM »

Demetrios,
Pray, talk to your Spiritual Father or Mother, and then do as your conscience dictates. You are the one who will have to live with yourself and will go to your deathbed facing the consequences of every decision you ever made, so make every decision with your deathbed in mind.
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« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2007, 08:58:14 AM »

I live in NYC. Originally from Greece. I'll try the crazy card first. That shouldn't be to hard. laugh

If you try crazy, don't forget to mumble and keep asking what day it is.

An ex cop friend of mine used to tell the lawyers picking a criminal jury panel he was on that by the time the accused was arrested, had a criminal investigation, been reviewed by the DA, sent to the Grand Jury and made it to trial, the guy had to be guilty.  He never got picked.

I've worked on a lot of civil trials, federal and state, and the people who always get struck (at least by the Plaintiff's counsel) are the ones who act too religious.  Make sure you take a 300 knot prayer rope, wear a big cross, and preface all your voir dire answers with "God told me..."    
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« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2007, 12:16:47 PM »

I've worked on a lot of civil trials, federal and state, and the people who always get struck (at least by the Plaintiff's counsel) are the ones who act too religious.  Make sure you take a 300 knot prayer rope, wear a big cross, and preface all your voir dire answers with "God told me..."  

I'd see right through that schtick!  Grin Grin Grin

I was alway partial to the guy asking other jurors for "spare change" as the best guy to knock out of the jury room.   Plaintiff or defendant, you had NO idea what he was thinking, so you couldn't take the chance.
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« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2007, 02:19:32 PM »

Would Christ send someone to jail? Theosis is becoming the image of Christ. What makes this any different?

Yes. In fact, he will send the sinners to eternal hell on Judgment Day.
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« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2007, 02:36:49 PM »

Yes. In fact, he will send the sinners to eternal hell on Judgment Day.

GIC, help please.   Wink
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« Reply #25 on: November 02, 2007, 02:50:44 PM »

GIC, help please.   Wink

Not another universalism debate! lol
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« Reply #26 on: November 02, 2007, 04:14:15 PM »

^^GiC is hunting right now, and won't be able to return for another week or so.
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« Reply #27 on: November 02, 2007, 06:08:35 PM »

^^GiC is hunting right now, and won't be able to return for another week or so.

Hunting what?  People?!
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« Reply #28 on: November 02, 2007, 08:01:14 PM »

I had a lot of trouble with the whole Christ "sends" us to hell thing! I thought that the position is something like God loves everyone equally (obvious) and our "position" in the after life is deemed on how able we were to receive and emulate that love?
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« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2007, 11:21:51 AM »

The responsibility of jurors in our common law system in the US is essentially to sort out what happened, to figure out what the true "facts" of the dispute are, when the different sides have different versions of the story (e.g., the government claims that a certain series of events occurred that resulted in crime X being committed by defendant D; defendant D contends that the series of events did not occur in the way that the government claims, or that other events occurred that should exculpate him).   This factfinding role is the case in either a criminal or a civil trial.

The judge makes all of the heavy legal decisions, and gives the jury detailed instructions telling the jurors what to do when they've make their determinations as to what the "facts" are.

Personally I do not have any moral objection in sorting out what version of the truth appears to be the actual truth of what happened.  The legal implications of these conclusions, as a juror, would be out of my hands; that's the judge's call (and it's why I'd have a much harder time being a judge). 

As an aside, every single person I've known who has ever served on a jury all the way through trial has said that they found the experience fascinating, even if the trial itself was over a mundane matter (e.g.,  insurance contract disputes, eminent domain matters, etc.)
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« Reply #30 on: November 03, 2007, 11:26:20 AM »



But, if you really don't feel capable of judging in a criminal setting, there's nothing wrong with telling the court that at the outset.

In my experience almost any judge would excuse you if you felt incapable of serving.  Every juror has to swear to apply the instructions given to them by the judge, and usually has to affirm that they will do so before the jury is even seated.  If you cannot affirm in good conscience that you will follow the judge's legal instructions, I would be astonished if the judge would keep you on the panel.

The lawyers themselves may strike you from the panel if you make it clear during voir dire that you do not feel like you could judge the facts of the particular dispute.
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« Reply #31 on: November 03, 2007, 12:33:30 PM »

Quote
The judge makes all of the heavy legal decisions, and gives the jury detailed instructions telling the jurors what to do when they've make their determinations as to what the "facts" are.

I know it would be easier to say that the real moral issues are "out of our hands" as jurors, but I don't know that we can do that. 

Since the founding of the country (and before), juries have exercised the right to acquit for any reason, regardless of the facts according to the law or the instructions of the judge.  I agree with those who say that this power is the purpose of trial by jury to begin with.  That is, as Justice Scalia has put it, to be a "circuitbreaker in the State’s machinery of justice".
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« Reply #32 on: November 03, 2007, 01:34:52 PM »

I had a lot of trouble with the whole Christ "sends" us to hell thing! I thought that the position is something like God loves everyone equally (obvious) and our "position" in the after life is deemed on how able we were to receive and emulate that love?

That is partly true but there is a tendency in modern Orthodoxy to downplay the juridical aspects of Christ's role. Yes, if we respond in love we will be saved, and yes, the fire of hell is our knowledge that we rejected Christ's love as it continues to pour on us. That doesn't make it any less painful!  Please have a look at the Vespers and Matins texts for the Sunday of the Last Judgment to see what I am talking about.
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« Reply #33 on: November 03, 2007, 04:57:39 PM »

If you are too lazy or you feel that you are too important to do such a trivial task as your civic duty (after all why should one reap the benefits of a society and be expected to contribute as well) just say so.  Don't pretend to invoke your religion as a pretense. 
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« Reply #34 on: November 03, 2007, 09:43:50 PM »

That is partly true but there is a tendency in modern Orthodoxy to downplay the juridical aspects of Christ's role. Yes, if we respond in love we will be saved, and yes, the fire of hell is our knowledge that we rejected Christ's love as it continues to pour on us. That doesn't make it any less painful!  Please have a look at the Vespers and Matins texts for the Sunday of the Last Judgment to see what I am talking about.

In my eye's the judgement was already made. Wink

 I was able to postpone jury duty for a while.  I have one more postponement until I decide what to do.
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« Reply #35 on: November 04, 2007, 11:10:30 AM »

Since the founding of the country (and before), juries have exercised the right to acquit for any reason, regardless of the facts according to the law or the instructions of the judge.  I agree with those who say that this power is the purpose of trial by jury to begin with.  That is, as Justice Scalia has put it, to be a "circuitbreaker in the State’s machinery of justice".

The right of Jury Nullification has long been established in the system of common law (especially in the United States and Scotland, Jefferson even envisioned Jury Nullification as the primary means by which the Constitution would be upheld in the face of an easily corruptable legal system), much to the horror of the established legal system. This is, in fact, the true significance of a Jury, it is the one reason that relatively uneducated and unexperienced (in matters of law) people chosen randomly from amongst ones peers make better arbitrators of justice than educated, skilled, and experienced judges; it is the right of the people to interpret law, and even more so the very concept of justice, in order to give deference to mercy over law (or tyranny, as the case may be). The fact that this right is often hid from jurors and the very presence of instructions from the Judge is overwhelming evidence of the inherent corruption in the system and the fact that the established legal system is more concerned with maintaining personal power than ensuring justice according to the well established principles of common law.

So, yes, a juror does have a moral obligation, an obligation to rule in accordance with conscience and not just formal legal instructions, they are arbitrators of justice as much as they are arbitrators law. There is also a moral responsibility to rule as one sees the facts from the case and not be pressured by ones peers, which betrays the great weakness in matters of common law: that one or two strong willed persons on a jury can (and generally will) push a verdict which will be blindly accepted by those more content to follow than speak their conscience (this problem could be reduced by making juries randomly selected without involving lawyers from either prosecution or defence to exclude jurors, but this would bring with it other problems).

There is no good reason to avoid jury duty unless you are of weak will and unable to uphold the principles you believe in the face of overwhelming opposition, in which case I would argue that it is immoral to be a juror as your weakness may lead to the unjust conviction of an innocent person and that is perhaps the only possible moral failing of a juror.
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« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2007, 11:13:24 AM »

Not another universalism debate! lol

Well, you did start it with your dogmatic claims of your pet soteriology. Wink

But fortunately for all involved I really don't have time for this debate right now. Grin

^^GiC is hunting right now, and won't be able to return for another week or so.

Yes, I am, but thank God for satellite internet, though I won't be on as regularly as I generally am.
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« Reply #37 on: November 04, 2007, 11:46:18 AM »

To those who have speculated that Christ would send people to prison if they so "derserved" it, that seems rather contrary to the NT depiction of Christ I know...You know, the one who spared the adulterous woman even though He knew she was guilty? The one who gave all the sinners he personally encountered a second chance? If Christ were to send one to prison, the only reason I can think of that would motivate Him to do so would be to give that guilty person the opportunity to repent; an opportunity he/she might not have otherwise.

I had to study a related issue in my final essay for my Law, Lawyers, and Justice course (a Legal Ethics course). The subject I chose for my final essay concerned a discussion on the relationship and interaction between my religious duties and the professional duties required of advocates (in my country). The example of Christ was fundamental to my conclusion that Christianity inclines advocates to take up the cause of guilty and/or unpopular and repugnant clients (which is something that is generally demanded by the so-called cab-rank rule).
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« Reply #38 on: November 05, 2007, 12:10:31 AM »

Yes, I am, but thank God for satellite internet, though I won't be on as regularly as I generally am.

I hope that you are at least hunting the old fashioned way that God intended:
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« Reply #39 on: November 05, 2007, 12:54:05 AM »

To those who have speculated that Christ would send people to prison if they so "derserved" it, that seems rather contrary to the NT depiction of Christ I know...You know, the one who spared the adulterous woman even though He knew she was guilty? The one who gave all the sinners he personally encountered a second chance? If Christ were to send one to prison, the only reason I can think of that would motivate Him to do so would be to give that guilty person the opportunity to repent; an opportunity he/she might not have otherwise.

I had to study a related issue in my final essay for my Law, Lawyers, and Justice course (a Legal Ethics course). The subject I chose for my final essay concerned a discussion on the relationship and interaction between my religious duties and the professional duties required of advocates (in my country). The example of Christ was fundamental to my conclusion that Christianity inclines advocates to take up the cause of guilty and/or unpopular and repugnant clients (which is something that is generally demanded by the so-called cab-rank rule).
But did Jesus not also say of Capernaum that even Sodom would find Judgment Day more tolerable?  (Matthew 11:23-24)

I'm not criticizing your pov; rather, I'm presenting different words of Christ so that we don't confine ourselves to just one way of thinking about Him.  You make some valid points.
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« Reply #40 on: November 05, 2007, 01:36:04 AM »

Well, first of all, I do not think I am looking at this issue one-sidedly at all. Insofar as the specific hypothetical is concerned ("Would Jesus send someone to prison?") I have based my judgment on what is probably the only directly relevant episode in the Gospel accounts. In this episode, Jesus was confronted with a group seeking to met out the just punishment for a crime He knew this woman to have been guilty of. Although the prosecution's case was warranted in that the woman did indeed commit adultery, it was technically invalid. Instead of joining the prosecution, Christ acted as a skillful advocate and nullified the prosecution's case upon the basis of a technicality. He did not permit the adulterous woman to suffer the just consequences of her action, but rather gave her a second chance in the hope that His Mercy and Compassion, which came to her defence, would inspire her to change her ways.

The verse you bring up bears no such direct relevance, and requires quite a stretched interpretation to bring it bear any relevance at all.

First of all, it concerns the final judgment--the stage where second chances are no longer possible. No matter what crime one commits here on this earth, be it petty theft or rape, there will always be a second chance for that person to repent and be redeemed.

Secondly, it accounts for the final experience of those who have had multiple chances and who have consistently rejected such chances. The chance given to the people of Capernaum was in the form of the miracles performed amongst them, which they rejected. I think i'd be quite within reason to opine that had the adulterous woman continued in her adultery unrepentantly in spite of the Grace shown to her by Christ, that her experience in the end of days would also be less tolerable than that of Sodom.

Lastly, Christ is describing the experience of those in hell as being intolerable, but such a description does not address the question of whether such is experienced simply because it is "deserved." Surely, from the perspective of the righteous man, evil doers do indeed "deserve" to undergo such an intolerable experience, but I could hardly think it proper to ascribe that mode of thinking to God.
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« Reply #41 on: November 05, 2007, 08:27:05 AM »

But in uttering those words to the woman, Christ not only had the role of advocate, but was at the same time the Supreme Judge presiding over the whole proceeding; it was His own law that condemned the woman's actions to begin with, so it was His absolute right to absolve or enforce it as He saw fit for the woman's eternal benefit, as you stated. A humble man sitting in a simple jury today does not enjoy this elevated position, but is merely asked to look at factual evidence and make a sound judgement for the good of social order.

Just food for thought!

PS. mate we gotta grab a coffee & tasbeha someday, its been ages!
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« Reply #42 on: November 05, 2007, 08:43:00 AM »

I had to study a related issue in my final essay for my Law, Lawyers, and Justice course (a Legal Ethics course). The subject I chose for my final essay concerned a discussion on the relationship and interaction between my religious duties and the professional duties required of advocates (in my country). The example of Christ was fundamental to my conclusion that Christianity inclines advocates to take up the cause of guilty and/or unpopular and repugnant clients (which is something that is generally demanded by the so-called cab-rank rule).

That's an interesting way of looking at it, but somewhat related reasoning led me to the opposite conclusion.  I came to the conclusion that Christianity would indicate that I should protect the innocent.  To that end, criminal law is not about punishing the guilty, but about separating them from the innocent so that they cannot harm them.
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« Reply #43 on: November 05, 2007, 09:37:44 AM »

EA,

Brilliant stuff!  Couldn't agree more and I think the adultery example is spot on, especially in considering how Jesus differed from... say... Mohammed.  Adultery = death by stoning in Islam.

I think the greater message I get from EA is his explanation of how much Jesus loved man.  Indeed, Jesus died on the cross so that man might be saved. http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/christcross.aspx

I can also appreciate what Veniamin is saying, only I think the innocent are already protected (not that they don't need worldly representation) but I think of the victim of crime almost like the young who get seriously ill. 
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« Reply #44 on: November 05, 2007, 11:13:39 AM »

Hey Meenas,

Although the original poster seems to have conceived of some relationship between the question of whether a Christian should serve on the jury and whether Christ would send someone to prison, I was responding to that latter inquiry in the absence of any conceived notion of such a relationship. In other words, I did not mean to imply that the moral of the Gospel story surrounding the adulterous woman is that Christians should thus, in their capacity as jurors, work towards relieving an accused from a guilty verdict. The relationship between defence counsel and the accused is obviously much different from the relationship between a juror and the accused. The unique qualities of that former relationship are rather pertinent to the potential to promote the repentant conversion of the accused.

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PS. mate we gotta grab a coffee & tasbeha someday, its been ages!

Definitely. It's been quite some time. I'll give you a ring after exams! In the meantime, it was good to hear from you.
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« Reply #45 on: November 05, 2007, 11:30:10 AM »

That's an interesting way of looking at it, but somewhat related reasoning led me to the opposite conclusion.  I came to the conclusion that Christianity would indicate that I should protect the innocent.  To that end, criminal law is not about punishing the guilty, but about separating them from the innocent so that they cannot harm them.

I like SS99's take on it. I'd also add that whilst defending the interests of the innocent is an important aspect of Christian lawyering (which is why, in my essay, I furthermore argued that Christians ought to respond positively to that position within the profession that calls for lawyers to take seriously the public service dimension intrisic to the very concept of a "profession", and to hence pursue endeavours such as pro bono work and "cause lawyering"), it is no more important and maybe even less so (after all, consider the paramount concern of Christ's mission--Mk. 2: 17), to potentially saving guilty clients from the greater consequences that await them at the final judgment.
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« Reply #46 on: November 05, 2007, 11:44:58 AM »

I like SS99's take on it. I'd also add that whilst defending the interests of the innocent is an important aspect of Christian lawyering (which is why, in my essay, I furthermore argued that Christians ought to respond positively to that position within the profession that calls for lawyers to take seriously the public service dimension intrisic to the very concept of a "profession", and to hence pursue endeavours such as pro bono work and "cause lawyering"), it is no more important and maybe even less so (after all, consider the paramount concern of Christ's mission--Mk. 2: 17), to potentially saving guilty clients from the greater consequences that await them at the final judgment.

I'm not sure I buy that reasoning.  That would seem to suggest that it's more important for me to help someone avoid the consequences of their wrong actions in the hope they might repent than it is to prevent their doing harm to yet another person when I am reasonably certain that they will do so.  Further, by assisting the perpetrator to remain free, I have now become a participant in his new wrong action and thus helped to harm the most recent victim.  Are you actually suggesting that it is my responsibility to assist someone in harming others?
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« Reply #47 on: November 05, 2007, 11:45:34 AM »

A humble man sitting in a simple jury today does not enjoy this elevated position, but is merely asked to look at factual evidence and make a sound judgement for the good of social order.

I don't want to belabor this point, but the "factual evidence" is only a part of what a juror must consider.  If it were truly about the "facts of the case", then there would be no need for jurors at all, since trained professionals (judges, lawyers, expert witnesses, etc) would be better suited to determining the facts. 

In the American tradition, the "humble man sitting in a simple jury" is far more powerful than the judge, prosecutor, or defense attorneys.  We are forced to consider all of the factors the judge considers, and more besides.  This makes the situation much more complex and morally difficult....which is probably exactly what the founding fathers intended.

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« Reply #48 on: November 05, 2007, 12:02:48 PM »

I'm not sure I buy that reasoning.  That would seem to suggest that it's more important for me to help someone avoid the consequences of their wrong actions in the hope they might repent than it is to prevent their doing harm to yet another person when I am reasonably certain that they will do so. 

Well, here you are making a rather loaded presumption viz. that you are "reasonably certain" they will continue their grievous misconduct. The first problem with this is that you could never be so "reasonably certain" before accepting the brief in the first place, and the issue here, after all, is whether or not you should accept that brief  because once you do it is your professional duty to defend that client to the best of your ability. Secondly, there is the issue of what "reasonably certain" means in the first place. I am not sure about the law in the U.S. but we have professional rules regulating circumstances in which a lawyer becomes "reasonably certain" that the accused will continue his/her criminal activities.
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« Reply #49 on: November 05, 2007, 12:20:04 PM »

Well, here you are making a rather loaded presumption viz. that you are "reasonably certain" they will continue their grievous misconduct. The first problem with this is that you could never be so "reasonably certain" before accepting the brief in the first place, and the issue here, after all, is whether or not you should accept that brief  because once you do it is your professional duty to defend that client to the best of your ability. Secondly, there is the issue of what "reasonably certain" means in the first place. I am not sure about the law in the U.S. but we have professional rules regulating circumstances in which a lawyer becomes "reasonably certain" that the accused will continue his/her criminal activities.

I wasn't intending "reasonably certain" to be used as a term of art in my previous post.  For the sake of argument, let's posit a defendant who has two prior convictions with probation in each instance for domestic violence.  He's on trial for a third domestic violence offense.  Both the defense attorney and the prosecutor have a gut feeling that this guy is going to turn around and commit the same offense again somewhere down the line.  Your position seems to be that, as a Christian, it's better to defend the man in the hopes of acquittal and his subsequent repentance than it is to prosecute him with an eye towards keeping his wife from going to the hospital again.  As a Christian, which takes priority?
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« Reply #50 on: November 05, 2007, 12:24:15 PM »

I like the way that EkhristosAnesti has expressed the Orthodox view. I believe that Christ isn't a judge in the same way that we view a judge in our worldly view. We judge according to how the world judges. Christ judges without judging. Lets use the same verse as EA posted about the prostitute as an example. When the people were ready to stone her. What did Christ say to them? He said he who is without sin cast the first stone. That was a judgement. The people realizing they were wrong and dropped their stones. They judged themselves. Christs didn't judge anyone. It was their own consciences that accused them and judged them. Christ doesn't judge the way the world does.

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« Reply #51 on: November 05, 2007, 12:42:48 PM »

Demetrios,

What, then, do we do with criminals who are a harm to society and a harm to the innocent?  Do we simply let them roam free without any accountability?  It seems to me that you are advocating a society whereby none are judge for their wordly actions even if those actions bring great harm upon the innocent.
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« Reply #52 on: November 05, 2007, 12:46:52 PM »

I wasn't intending "reasonably certain" to be used as a term of art in my previous post.  For the sake of argument, let's posit a defendant who has two prior convictions with probation in each instance for domestic violence.  He's on trial for a third domestic violence offense.  Both the defense attorney and the prosecutor have a gut feeling that this guy is going to turn around and commit the same offense again somewhere down the line.  Your position seems to be that, as a Christian, it's better to defend the man in the hopes of acquittal and his subsequent repentance than it is to prosecute him with an eye towards keeping his wife from going to the hospital again.  As a Christian, which takes priority?

I am not drawing any comparison between defending and prosecuting the same individual (how many lawyers actually get to choose between prosecuting and defending the same individual anyway?), I am drawing out the reasons for which a lawyer presented with the option of accepting or refusing a brief on behalf of an accused should accept rather than refuse that brief. In the case you present, my trust in the Grace of God and faith in Christian anthropology (which dictate the very real potential for change in spite of the nature and frequency of past wrongs), would take precedence over a petty "gut feeling."

I think I also need to stress that the hope for the accused's repentence is not merely grounded in his final acquittal. Its foundation is the very lawyer-client relationship itself. The lawyer in this case provides not only professional service but, more importantly, ministry. My views are ultimately based on a theological variant of Child Fried’s "special purpose friend" theory.

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« Reply #53 on: November 05, 2007, 12:48:14 PM »

I wasn't intending "reasonably certain" to be used as a term of art in my previous post.  For the sake of argument, let's posit a defendant who has two prior convictions with probation in each instance for domestic violence.  He's on trial for a third domestic violence offense.  Both the defense attorney and the prosecutor have a gut feeling that this guy is going to turn around and commit the same offense again somewhere down the line.  Your position seems to be that, as a Christian, it's better to defend the man in the hopes of acquittal and his subsequent repentance than it is to prosecute him with an eye towards keeping his wife from going to the hospital again.  As a Christian, which takes priority?
What takes priority is your salvation. Your choice determans your salvation. That is why it is better not to be up in the hot seat.
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« Reply #54 on: November 05, 2007, 12:53:54 PM »

Demetrios,

What, then, do we do with criminals who are a harm to society and a harm to the innocent?  Do we simply let them roam free without any accountability?  It seems to me that you are advocating a society whereby none are judge for their wordly actions even if those actions bring great harm upon the innocent.


Unfortunately they have put the burden on us. Why do that? If there are indeed judges. Let them handle it.
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« Reply #55 on: November 05, 2007, 01:19:07 PM »

What takes priority is your salvation. Your choice determans your salvation. That is why it is better not to be up in the hot seat.

But we can also be judged for inaction; for instance, many people tell us that "you should never seek to be a priest." But St John Chrysostom makes it clear on "On the Priesthood" that if you refuse to be a priest and you are called to it, you will be judged for that too.
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« Reply #56 on: November 05, 2007, 01:21:34 PM »

But we can also be judged for inaction; for instance, many people tell us that "you should never seek to be a priest." But St John Chrysostom makes it clear on "On the Priesthood" that if you refuse to be a priest and you are called to it, you will be judged for that too.

read reply #50. The person going against gods will. Will feel the hell fire.
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« Reply #57 on: November 05, 2007, 02:10:44 PM »

Unfortunately they have put the burden on us. Why do that? If there are indeed judges. Let them handle it.

So you would be willing to put the burden on someone else who may or may not be as impartial as you wish they were?  The whole reasoning behind our modern system of jury trials stems from the desire for an accused to not be judged by a monarch or other official who had the power to impose a possible, even probably, arbitrary judgment upon the accused. 

The jury trial is one of the foundational institutions of Western civilization after the Magna Carta and many of our rights and duties, especially freedom of religion, flows from that foundation.  It's one thing to have reservations about having the literal power of life and death over a person, but in a civil or non-capital trial, it's shirking your responsibility to Caesar as legitimate worldly authority, a responsibility emphasised by Christ Himself and clarified in Apostolic teaching. 

We are called to be our brother's keeper, and if that involves sitting in a jury box to decide if the accused is guilty or innocent, then so be it. 
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« Reply #58 on: November 05, 2007, 02:44:55 PM »

So you would be willing to put the burden on someone else who may or may not be as impartial as you wish they were?  The whole reasoning behind our modern system of jury trials stems from the desire for an accused to not be judged by a monarch or other official who had the power to impose a possible, even probably, arbitrary judgment upon the accused. 

The jury trial is one of the foundational institutions of Western civilization after the Magna Carta and many of our rights and duties, especially freedom of religion, flows from that foundation.  It's one thing to have reservations about having the literal power of life and death over a person, but in a civil or non-capital trial, it's shirking your responsibility to Caesar as legitimate worldly authority, a responsibility emphasised by Christ Himself and clarified in Apostolic teaching. 

We are called to be our brother's keeper, and if that involves sitting in a jury box to decide if the accused is guilty or innocent, then so be it. 

You have put a very Protestant interpretation to Christs words. Christ was being baited into a trap. Christians had announced that he is their king and the Jews tried to have him killed by Cesar for claiming to be a king. It has nothing to do with any political system. Never the less one over 1800 years later.

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Paying Taxes to Caesar
 20Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. 21So the spies questioned him: "Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. 22Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"
 23He saw through their duplicity and said to them, 24"Show me a denarius. Whose portrait and inscription are on it?"

 25"Caesar's," they replied.
      He said to them, "Then give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

 26They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.

John 19:12
From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, "If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar."
« Last Edit: November 05, 2007, 02:45:59 PM by Demetrios G. » Logged

Excellence of character, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it. Now it is a mean between two vices, that which depends on excess and that which depends on defect.
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« Reply #59 on: November 05, 2007, 02:48:42 PM »

There is a big difference, though, in being called by God and being called by the state.  The state's actions can be generally just or generally unjust, while God's actions are always just. 

This is why I find the (out of context) quoting of "render unto Caesar" so problematic.  Our jury system is such that individual jurors have absolute freedom to vote according to their consciences, regardless of the judge's instructions.  After all, we live in a country whose founders prescribed rebellion if the state oversteps its bounds.  If we consider the current political officeholders to be "Caesar", then how can we make sense of our duties as citizens according to the founders?

I'm not arguing that we can never sanction people for their actions (victims must be protected), but that the popular understanding of "render unto Caesar" contributes little here.
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« Reply #60 on: November 05, 2007, 03:22:23 PM »

Perhaps my use of Christ's words re: Caesar are not contributing to my argument and I apologize for that.  However, St. Paul's exhortations to Titus still stand and we understand those words as Scripture and, hence, from the Holy Spirit.

The Church has always recognized the rights of the legitimate secular authority to deal with secular matters in secular ways, especially in the realm of criminal justice.  As I have stated, in the United States, the jury trial is, for the time being, the legitimate authority.  As Anastasios pointed out above, the choice to not do good is just as much of a sin as doing evil.  By shirking one's duty to serve on a jury when called, we may very possible be choosing to not be the voice of reason and the voice of Christ which may protect an innocent person from being wrongly convicted.  Punishment of the guilty is not the pressing reason for serving on a jury, but the protection of the innocent.
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« Reply #61 on: November 05, 2007, 03:43:04 PM »

Perhaps my use of Christ's words re: Caesar are not contributing to my argument and I apologize for that.  However, St. Paul's exhortations to Titus still stand and we understand those words as Scripture and, hence, from the Holy Spirit.

The Church has always recognized the rights of the legitimate secular authority to deal with secular matters in secular ways, especially in the realm of criminal justice.  As I have stated, in the United States, the jury trial is, for the time being, the legitimate authority.  As Anastasios pointed out above, the choice to not do good is just as much of a sin as doing evil.  By shirking one's duty to serve on a jury when called, we may very possible be choosing to not be the voice of reason and the voice of Christ which may protect an innocent person from being wrongly convicted.  Punishment of the guilty is not the pressing reason for serving on a jury, but the protection of the innocent.

I'm not to sure you can reconcile church and state. Both are kingdoms. I don't believe there is a worldly view similar to Gods. The point is that we will be judged as individuals and not as countymen. If something is considered patriotic but goes against gods teaching. Does that leave us liable? If your country sends you to drop a bomb on innocent people. Will there blood be on the government witch has no real existence as an individual or will you be judged for it?
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« Reply #62 on: November 05, 2007, 04:04:35 PM »

Of course the church and the state will always be at odds in some way, shape or form.  As you said, there is no worldly view similar to God's.  However, unless we are going to truly drop out of the world and live the life of a monk, we must live in the world and do our best in order to live up to God's will.  If God has chosen us to serve on a jury, then we should serve on it.  We may very well save an innocent person from misjudgment.

Your analogy of serving on a civil or even criminal jury (in a non-capital case, especially) and dropping a bomb on innocent civilians ala Dresden or Hiroshima/Nagasaki is not a good one.  As I've repeatedly stated, your view of a jury as being solely an instrument of punishment is flawed.  It also serves as a vindicator for the unjustly accused, a role that is most certainly within the realm of the Christian.  As I have stated, we are our brother's keeper and the jury system is one way in which we can live out that role.
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« Reply #63 on: November 05, 2007, 04:19:40 PM »

Of course the church and the state will always be at odds in some way, shape or form.  As you said, there is no worldly view similar to God's.  However, unless we are going to truly drop out of the world and live the life of a monk, we must live in the world and do our best in order to live up to God's will.  If God has chosen us to serve on a jury, then we should serve on it.  We may very well save an innocent person from misjudgment.

Your analogy of serving on a civil or even criminal jury (in a non-capital case, especially) and dropping a bomb on innocent civilians ala Dresden or Hiroshima/Nagasaki is not a good one.  As I've repeatedly stated, your view of a jury as being solely an instrument of punishment is flawed.  It also serves as a vindicator for the unjustly accused, a role that is most certainly within the realm of the Christian.  As I have stated, we are our brother's keeper and the jury system is one way in which we can live out that role.
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Why is it that your bringing up just the finer points of being a juror. One could just the same also send an Innocent person to jail. Or for that matter send a guilty person free. I'm not quite getting your point. If you are stating that we are doing Gods work. Than I certainly don't agree.
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« Reply #64 on: November 05, 2007, 04:35:42 PM »

-

Why is it that your bringing up just the finer points of being a juror. One could just the same also send an Innocent person to jail. Or for that matter send a guilty person free. I'm not quite getting your point. If you are stating that we are doing Gods work. Than I certainly don't agree.


I am emphasizing that aspect of being a juror because you seem to be emphasizing the aspect of sending someone to jail.  The beautiful thing about a jury is that one person does not carry the whole verdict.  Juries must, by definition, reach a consensus and if that consensus cannot be reached (eg. a hung jury) then the trial must start over, sending a message to both prosecution and defense that they had better do some more work to better present their particular side.

I really don't understand how you can say that jury trials are not okay, yet the appointment of a judge to adjudicate such cases (either by election or governmental appointment) is quite all right.  Are you not just simply telling someone else that they can sin by being a judge?

Again, I ask you, what is the difference, for you in this context, between a civil jury and a civil judge?
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« Reply #65 on: November 05, 2007, 04:50:57 PM »


I am emphasizing that aspect of being a juror because you seem to be emphasizing the aspect of sending someone to jail.  The beautiful thing about a jury is that one person does not carry the whole verdict.  Juries must, by definition, reach a consensus and if that consensus cannot be reached (eg. a hung jury) then the trial must start over, sending a message to both prosecution and defense that they had better do some more work to better present their particular side.

I really don't understand how you can say that jury trials are not okay, yet the appointment of a judge to adjudicate such cases (either by election or governmental appointment) is quite all right.  Are you not just simply telling someone else that they can sin by being a judge.



Again, I ask you, what is the difference, for you in this context, between a civil jury and a civil judge?

They may not know there sinning. They may believe they are doing gods work. Power to them. I do know that I am sinning. That is the difference.
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« Reply #66 on: November 05, 2007, 04:54:01 PM »

They may not know there sinning. They may believe they are doing gods work. Power to them. I do know that I am sinning. That is the difference.

I really still don't understand your reasoning, so we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Please pray for me.
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« Reply #67 on: November 05, 2007, 05:06:27 PM »

The Church has always recognized the rights of the legitimate secular authority to deal with secular matters in secular ways, especially in the realm of criminal justice.  As I have stated, in the United States, the jury trial is, for the time being, the legitimate authority.  As Anastasios pointed out above, the choice to not do good is just as much of a sin as doing evil.  By shirking one's duty to serve on a jury when called, we may very possible be choosing to not be the voice of reason and the voice of Christ which may protect an innocent person from being wrongly convicted.  Punishment of the guilty is not the pressing reason for serving on a jury, but the protection of the innocent. 

Schultz(-ie? Wink ), I don't know why people aren't getting your point.

It can and should be argued that trial by jury is solely to protect the innocent; the guilty are to be found and taken care of by the Prosecutors and Police.  If juries were to make sure that the guilty would get punished, then they would have the power to arrest, investigate, etc.  Instead, they have the right to inquire about evidence presented and rule of law, in order to verify the facts and make sure that one of their own is not being wrongfully accused.

If juries were about convicting the guilty, then they would only fail when guilty men go free; when the innocent are convicted, it is only a partial failure, since they were being overly cautious and trying to protect society.  But juries are about protecting the innocent; they fail when innocent are convicted, and only partially fail when the guilty go free, as they are erring on the side of caution not wanting to impinge on the liberty of one who appears innocent.  Proving guilt is the responsibility of the prosecutor; they are the ones who begin to cast judgment. 

(IMO: When the people went to stone the Adulteress, they weren't the jury - they were prosecution and executioner.  Christ was the Jury - taking the evidence into account, and making the decision as to whether or not punishment was fit).
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« Reply #68 on: November 05, 2007, 05:14:35 PM »

Demetrios,

    Where I disagree with how you are characterizing is the entire notion of "judgment".  I'm not even sure that is what juries do...  

     Since I'm a trial lawyer, lets take any civil case and see what a jury does.  As I like to tell jurors, they are the "judges of the facts", but that does not mean they are holding anyone in judgement.  I'll clarify...

     In New York City, the law requires that business owners maintain their properties in reasonably safe condition.  So, lets say Demetrios is walking along, right by Anastasios Inc.'s property where the sidewalk is broken up and there is no lighting in the area.  Demetrios is walking by one day at dusk and takes a flop on a the sidewalk in disrepair and breaks his arm.

So, we know what the law says about keeping things in  "reasonably safe condition", so what does the jury have to decide?

1.   Did Anastasios Inc, keep its property in reasonably safe condition?  If a jury says yes, case is over.  No personal judgment on anyone.

2.   If they decide no, then they answer:  Was the condition of defendant's property the proximate cause of plaintiff's fall and injury?  If no, case over.  No personal judgment.

3.  If yes, then they will be asked to determine how much comparative fault the plaintiff had and what if any monetary compensation he/she is entitled to.

Any which way you slice it, there is no personal judgment.  They have not adjudicated the anyone is a bad person or doomed.  All they have decided is that a certain set of facts fits into an element of the law (or not).  
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« Reply #69 on: November 05, 2007, 05:26:04 PM »

Demetrios,

    Where I disagree with how you are characterizing is the entire notion of "judgment".  I'm not even sure that is what juries do... 

     Since I'm a trial lawyer, lets take any civil case and see what a jury does.  As I like to tell jurors, they are the "judges of the facts", but that does not mean they are holding anyone in judgement.  I'll clarify...

     In New York City, the law requires that business owners maintain their properties in reasonably safe condition.  So, lets say Demetrios is walking along, right by Anastasios Inc.'s property where the sidewalk is broken up and there is no lighting in the area.  Demetrios is walking by one day at dusk and takes a flop on a the sidewalk in disrepair and breaks his arm.

So, we know what the law says about keeping things in  "reasonably safe condition", so what does the jury have to decide?

1.   Did Anastasios Inc, keep its property in reasonably safe condition?  If a jury says yes, case is over.  No personal judgment on anyone.

2.   If they decide no, then they answer:  Was the condition of defendant's property the proximate cause of plaintiff's fall and injury?  If no, case over.  No personal judgment.

3.  If yes, then they will be asked to determine how much comparative fault the plaintiff had and what if any monetary compensation he/she is entitled to.

Any which way you slice it, there is no personal judgment.  They have not adjudicated the anyone is a bad person or doomed.  All they have decided is that a certain set of facts fits into an element of the law (or not). 

Great example.  Even in Criminal cases, juries are not condemning the character of a person, but rather deliberating about an action.  Any comments made about character ("evil person", etc.) are normally made by the judge, and are editorial comments made after the trial.  They are deciding whether or not the people who are making the accusation (i.e. the prosecution/police) are correct or incorrect - with a preference to protecting innocence.

Would it be safe to say that the Israelite condemnation for Adultery was not only a statement of fact about an action, but also a judgment of character?  If this is the case, then Jesus' actions in saving the life of the Adulteress acknowledged that she did the act (He didn't say that she wasn't an adulteress), and provided no punishment - the equivalent of a jury convicting someone, and then showing leniency in the sentencing phase.
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« Reply #70 on: November 05, 2007, 05:33:54 PM »



(IMO: When the people went to stone the Adulteress, they weren't the jury - they were prosecution and executioner.  Christ was the Jury - taking the evidence into account, and making the decision as to whether or not punishment was fit).

So in other words let everybody off the hook. Just as Christ did to the adulteress.  angel
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« Reply #71 on: November 05, 2007, 05:45:24 PM »

So in other words let everybody off the hook. Just as Christ did to the adulteress.  angel

Ha ha ha.  Nice one.  If you can read into the defendant's heart and discern that no punishment will be better than punishment, then go ahead. He didn't say she was innocent - not off the hook by any means.  He left punishment between her and her Maker.  "Go, and sin no more."
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« Reply #72 on: November 05, 2007, 06:01:46 PM »

Ha ha ha.  Nice one.  If you can read into the defendant's heart and discern that no punishment will be better than punishment, then go ahead. He didn't say she was innocent - not off the hook by any means.  He left punishment between her and her Maker.  "Go, and sin no more."

Exactly. The event and His actions were not about her and her guilt, but about the quilt of the avenging accusers.
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« Reply #73 on: November 05, 2007, 11:39:40 PM »

Ha ha ha.  Nice one.  If you can read into the defendant's heart and discern that no punishment will be better than punishment, then go ahead. He didn't say she was innocent - not off the hook by any means.  He left punishment between her and her Maker.  "Go, and sin no more."

I don't quite understand you. He was her maker.  He left judgement on her shoulders. "Go, and sin no more."
If she continued to sin she would be the cause of her death.
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« Reply #74 on: November 05, 2007, 11:50:42 PM »

read reply #50. The person going against gods will. Will feel the hell fire.

In post #50 you expressed the modernist idea that Christ doesn't judge, which ignores basically the liturgical texts of the Church and most of the subsequent history of the Church, in favor of a stretched interpretation of some passages taken out of context in order to justify a "Christ is a nice guy who would never judge" attitude.

Even if what you say is true, the people in hell are not going to feel any better and God still will sustain them for eternity knowing they are suffering.

At any rate, you never answered my point; we can be judged for inaction. If God calls us to further righteousness by imprisoning a child molester and you refuse to sit on the jury because you are afraid of making the wrong choice, I don't see how you are exercising your God-given conscience nor are you doing his will. And I think you will be judged for inaction.
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« Reply #75 on: November 05, 2007, 11:57:48 PM »

I'm not to sure you can reconcile church and state. Both are kingdoms. I don't believe there is a worldly view similar to Gods.

I think St Justinian and St Constantine would have a different opinion.

Quote
The point is that we will be judged as individuals and not as countymen. If something is considered patriotic but goes against gods teaching. Does that leave us liable? If your country sends you to drop a bomb on innocent people.

Killing soldiers in battle of course is not murder according to the canons of the Church, but killing innocent people is of course a sin. Again, conscience dictates. I would definitely not murder someone innocent even if it meant me being court martialled (although it is hard to condemn soldiers that accidently kill in the heat of battle since it is such a confusing situation). In other words, killing in a war can be good or bad.

Now sitting on a jury, that is different. I believe that it is one's responsibility to the state to sit on a jury and to use the conscience God gave you to make the proper judgment. If you follow your conscience, but you end up wrong, there is by your definition, nothing to convict you.

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Will there blood be on the government witch has no real existence as an individual or will you be judged for it?

God established the nations of this Earth and we owe these institutions obedience. Orthodoxy is not a hippie religion.
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« Reply #76 on: November 06, 2007, 12:15:05 AM »

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What kind of excuses work best to become disqualified

Tell them you have any of a plethora of gold rush era diseases, like the typhoid, or the cholera, or dysentary.
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« Reply #77 on: November 06, 2007, 12:34:45 AM »

They are deciding whether or not the people who are making the accusation (i.e. the prosecution/police) are correct or incorrect - with a preference to protecting innocence.

Precisely why the analogy between Jesus and the jury fails. Christ knew the accusations of the prosecution were correct. If His example was that of the jury He wouldn't have looked for loopholes to vindicate her from their accusations. Christ was clearly the skillful advocate; his mission was to save her from the sentence of her accusers by all means possible, in spite of the fact that sentence was warranted. That is not the mission of the jury. There was no jury here, which is why I think this episode in the Gospels is a poor example to try and infer an answer to the question of whether one should serve on the jury or not. It's simply not relevant.
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« Reply #78 on: November 06, 2007, 12:56:19 AM »

I wasn't intending "reasonably certain" to be used as a term of art in my previous post.  For the sake of argument, let's posit a defendant who has two prior convictions with probation in each instance for domestic violence.  He's on trial for a third domestic violence offense.  Both the defense attorney and the prosecutor have a gut feeling that this guy is going to turn around and commit the same offense again somewhere down the line.  Your position seems to be that, as a Christian, it's better to defend the man in the hopes of acquittal and his subsequent repentance than it is to prosecute him with an eye towards keeping his wife from going to the hospital again.  As a Christian, which takes priority?
From my own knowledge of a friend's experience, I would like to offer a pertinent pov I don't think has been addressed yet.  I think the notion some of us have that long-term imprisonment is fundamentally antithetical to the call to repentance is a flawed dichotomy.  I'm thinking of a friend who is currently doing hard time for child molestation.  He recognizes fully the horror of what he did--he turned himself in to the authorities--and understands that prison is the BEST place for him right now in that it protects him from the distractions that drew him away from God and into sin.  As a prisoner, he is now able to focus on his life in Christ in a way that he just couldn't do in the world.  He is in regular contact with Orthodox clergy and well on the road to becoming an Orthodox communicant.  He even has dreams of living a monastic life while in prison--what else can he do there?  I know that my friend is truly exceptional among convicted felons, but just enough to dispel any notion that conviction of and punishment for a crime is ALWAYS a bad thing that Christians should avoid meting out to the truly guilty.  Such punishment may in fact be necessary to facilitate repentance.
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« Reply #79 on: November 06, 2007, 01:01:46 AM »

Anastasios,

Any reference to the final judgment bears no relevance to this discussion, primarily because at that particular point the unrepentent sinner is presumed to have absolutely rejected the Mercy of God i.e. committed blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Until the final judgment, there is no such general presumption upon the sinner; on the contrary, there is a general presumption as to the viability of the potential for the sinner to receive and positively respond to the mercy of God.

Every Coptic Liturgy, the Congregation respond to the Priest's narration of the future judgment of Christ according to which He "judges" each according to his/her deeds, saying: "According to your mercy O Lord, and not according to our sins." I really don't think that the Congregation here are crying out in vain, yet your conception of Christ would probably deem us so.
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« Reply #80 on: November 06, 2007, 01:20:47 AM »

From my own knowledge of a friend's experience, I would like to offer a pertinent pov I don't think has been addressed yet.  I think the notion some of us have that long-term imprisonment is fundamentally antithetical to the call to repentance is a flawed dichotomy.  I'm thinking of a friend who is currently doing hard time for child molestation.  He recognizes fully the horror of what he did--he turned himself in to the authorities--and understands that prison is the BEST place for him right now in that it protects him from the distractions that drew him away from God and into sin.  As a prisoner, he is now able to focus on his life in Christ in a way that he just couldn't do in the world.  He is in regular contact with Orthodox clergy and well on the road to becoming an Orthodox communicant.  He even has dreams of living a monastic life while in prison--what else can he do there?  I know that my friend is truly exceptional among convicted felons, but just enough to dispel any notion that conviction of and punishment for a crime is ALWAYS a bad thing that Christians should avoid meting out to the truly guilty.  Such punishment may in fact be necessary to facilitate repentance.

For the record, in case any have misinterpreted my position by unwittingly taking it to its logical conclusion, I would like to assert that I would have no problem actually prosecuting an accused, and I think I implied also that it may be the case that punishment is in a guilty person's best interest. In the end, however, I am not God; I cannot know the heart of the accused, nor the precise likelihood of his future conduct. All I can do is do my job as best I can, knowing that, whether I am called to be defence counsel or prosecution, I can, in both instances, pursue Christian ideals. I would not feel guilty if after doing my best to defend a guilty accused, that accused continued pursuing harmful criminal activity. I would only feel guilty if in the course of so defending him/her, I was so focused on being a good advocate that I failed also to be a good minister. In the end my job is not to secure the accused's ultimate course of action--that is ultimately up to the accused's exercise of his/her free will, and the Grace of God. My job is merely to grant an opportunity favourable to the course of action which promotes his/her salvation--whether that opportunity is accepted or dismissed, is again, not my responsibility.
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« Reply #81 on: November 06, 2007, 01:26:40 AM »



Even if what you say is true, the people in hell are not going to feel any better and God still will sustain them for eternity knowing they are suffering.

I'm not so sure it's a modern as you suggest. Grudging existence to none therefore, On the Incarnation
 Athanasius, Saint  


Quote
At any rate, you never answered my point; we can be judged for inaction. If God calls us to further righteousness by imprisoning a child molester and you refuse to sit on the jury because you are afraid of making the wrong choice, I don't see how you are exercising your God-given conscience nor are you doing his will. And I think you will be judged for inaction.

I disagree with you. Sometimes inaction is a virtue. An example would be when Christ allowed himself to be killed in order to save us. His inaction saved us.
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« Reply #82 on: November 06, 2007, 01:32:39 AM »

So you guy's aren't talking about the greatest Pauly Shore movie of all time?
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« Reply #83 on: November 06, 2007, 02:08:54 AM »

I'm not so sure it's a modern as you suggest. Grudging existence to none therefore, On the Incarnation
 Athanasius, Saint
Another passage taken out of context, thus fulfilling Anastasios's criticism?  Why don't you give us the full context for this prooftext taken from St. Athanasius's writing?

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I disagree with you. Sometimes inaction is a virtue. An example would be when Christ allowed himself to be killed in order to save us. His inaction saved us.
Are you sure, though, that you can call active submission to God's will inaction?  God condescended to our humble state and made Himself incarnate precisely in order to give Himself as the sacrifice for sin.  How is this inaction?
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« Reply #84 on: November 06, 2007, 02:22:40 AM »

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God established the nations of this Earth and we owe these institutions obedience. Orthodoxy is not a hippie religion.

I think that's really a separate issue.  The question still comes down to the justice of the act itself.  Otherwise, it is impossible to explain why Christians did not owe obedience to pagan Rome or the USSR.  If a person is morally conflicted about something a government official tells him to do, telling him to "obey the authorities" just assumes that the act is just to begin with.

I do think, however, that the freedom of conscience afforded to an American jury helps to address some of the moral concerns (even though it increases the burden on the individual juror).
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« Reply #85 on: November 06, 2007, 08:33:45 AM »

Precisely why the analogy between Jesus and the jury fails. Christ knew the accusations of the prosecution were correct. If His example was that of the jury He wouldn't have looked for loopholes to vindicate her from their accusations. Christ was clearly the skillful advocate; his mission was to save her from the sentence of her accusers by all means possible, in spite of the fact that sentence was warranted. That is not the mission of the jury. There was no jury here, which is why I think this episode in the Gospels is a poor example to try and infer an answer to the question of whether one should serve on the jury or not. It's simply not relevant.

Good point.  Well, at least in our system, the Jury also (after the guilt/innocence phase of the trial) also decides on the punishment; this was the model that I was working with when making my assertion - that Jesus the sentencing Jury knew the verdict (that she was guilty and proven to be so), and was left with a decision between multiple options as to her punishment. 

But calling Him the advocate is better even in this instance, since His role was actually to convince the mob to not punish her - He didn't make a decision, but rather caused the others to change their decision.
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« Reply #86 on: November 06, 2007, 09:46:39 AM »

Another passage taken out of context, thus fulfilling Anastasios's criticism?  Why don't you give us the full context for this prooftext taken from St. Athanasius's writing?

That is the full context of it. Unless you would like to change the meaning of his words. In that case you would have to explain to me what he meant.


Quote
Are you sure, though, that you can call active submission to God's will inaction?  God condescended to our humble state and made Himself incarnate precisely in order to give Himself as the sacrifice for sin.  How is this inaction?

 I think we are veering off a bit. But just for the sake of this discussion I will ansewer you.
Well. He was God and choose not to distroy his accusers. Along those lines there were countless martars in the faith that once they were stricken on the cheek, offered the other cheek as well. That my friend is inaction.

 
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« Reply #87 on: November 06, 2007, 09:54:53 AM »

Good point.  Well, at least in our system, the Jury also (after the guilt/innocence phase of the trial) also decides on the punishment; this was the model that I was working with when making my assertion - that Jesus the sentencing Jury knew the verdict (that she was guilty and proven to be so), and was left with a decision between multiple options as to her punishment. 

But calling Him the advocate is better even in this instance, since His role was actually to convince the mob to not punish her - He didn't make a decision, but rather caused the others to change their decision.

So than you agree that the prostitute is the one judging herself?
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« Reply #88 on: November 06, 2007, 11:21:25 AM »

Anastasios,

Any reference to the final judgment bears no relevance to this discussion, primarily because at that particular point the unrepentent sinner is presumed to have absolutely rejected the Mercy of God i.e. committed blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Until the final judgment, there is no such general presumption upon the sinner; on the contrary, there is a general presumption as to the viability of the potential for the sinner to receive and positively respond to the mercy of God.

Every Coptic Liturgy, the Congregation respond to the Priest's narration of the future judgment of Christ according to which He "judges" each according to his/her deeds, saying: "According to your mercy O Lord, and not according to our sins." I really don't think that the Congregation here are crying out in vain, yet your conception of Christ would probably deem us so.

A jury can show mercy, especially in the sentencing phase.
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« Reply #89 on: November 06, 2007, 11:55:56 AM »

A jury can show mercy, especially in the sentencing phase.

My response was directed to the question of how to generally understand Christ's response to the guilty, and how that understanding should thence generally govern our own approach to the guilty. The sentiment I was receiving from your posts was: Christ punishes the guilty, therefore we should be more than inclined to do likewise. My concern was with this general sentiment undergirding your approach to dealing with the question of whether one should serve on the jury rather than with that question itself.
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« Reply #90 on: November 06, 2007, 12:14:42 PM »

Tell them you have any of a plethora of gold rush era diseases, like the typhoid, or the cholera, or dysentary.

Will that help me stop making inappropriate peer-to-teen choice award whatevers?   Wink
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« Reply #91 on: November 07, 2007, 04:06:03 AM »

I think we are veering off a bit. But just for the sake of this discussion I will ansewer you.
Well. He was God and choose not to distroy his accusers. Along those lines there were countless martars in the faith that once they were stricken on the cheek, offered the other cheek as well. That my friend is inaction.
We could argue semantics all day if you want, but let's not go there. Wink

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« Reply #92 on: November 07, 2007, 09:38:37 AM »

We could argue semantics all day if you want, but let's not go there. Wink

A question I have for you:  Do you REALLY want our advice, or do you just want to argue with us why we should embrace your way of thinking? Cool

Funny. laugh
I like to reinforce my believes through debate and maybe learn a thing or two while there. Wink
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« Reply #93 on: November 08, 2007, 04:21:48 PM »

Sorry for putting you on the spot Cleveland. I have a way of weaseling things out of people.  :-There certainly will be a judgement and a resurrection of all. Whether that judgement leads to death is another issue.
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« Reply #94 on: November 09, 2007, 10:08:54 PM »

So than you agree that the prostitute is the one judging herself?

Sorry for the late response: I didn't even see this post.

I can't imagine that she is the one judging herself.  Judgment was carried out when it was demonstrated to the mob that she was an adulteress: either her husband/betrothed came with the accusation, or her father, or her lover.  They may have had evidence.  But judgment happened long before she got to where Jesus was.  In fact, judgment is precisely why she was where Jesus was - the mob had taken her to execute the sentence required by the judgment (which, before Christ intervened, there was the strictest of sentencing guidelines - specific punishments for each crime with no leeway, unlike most modern law systems which give options for most crimes, i.e. anywhere between 10 and 20 years, parole or no parole, etc.).  In their time, judgment was probably carried out by the Rabbi of the town in accordance with the Torah, or by some other town official (sorry, I'm not too familiar with Jewish jurisprudence at the turn of the 1st century AD). 
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« Reply #95 on: November 09, 2007, 11:27:17 PM »

Sorry for the late response: I didn't even see this post.

I can't imagine that she is the one judging herself.  Judgment was carried out when it was demonstrated to the mob that she was an adulteress: either her husband/betrothed came with the accusation, or her father, or her lover.  They may have had evidence.  But judgment happened long before she got to where Jesus was.  In fact, judgment is precisely why she was where Jesus was - the mob had taken her to execute the sentence required by the judgment (which, before Christ intervened, there was the strictest of sentencing guidelines - specific punishments for each crime with no leeway, unlike most modern law systems which give options for most crimes, i.e. anywhere between 10 and 20 years, parole or no parole, etc.).  In their time, judgment was probably carried out by the Rabbi of the town in accordance with the Torah, or by some other town official (sorry, I'm not too familiar with Jewish jurisprudence at the turn of the 1st century AD). 


I actually had this in mind when I posted.
  After she was let off the hook by Christ. She stopped sinning.This is what I mean by her judging herself. Christ didn't judge her but instead caused her to turn from her evil ways. She could have easily returned to her old ways. As the bible states. We judge ourselves so we won't be judged.



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