It’s time for one last update (for now) on jury duty.
I have no idea how I would’ve done under examination for either side’s attorneys during voir dire. I didn’t get that far. Within an hour I managed to get myself excused from
involuntary servitude service. I even managed it with the truth. (Some of you know the easy claim I had.) I didn’t have to get into any bizarre scenarios of shouting down The Man, bolting for the door and outrunning the bailiff to live strong in my principles. I talk a good game, and I’m willing to walk it, but I’m not stupid. Lose the battle but win the war is a common refrain. I’m inclined to win both, when possible. Yesterday, the winning the former was easy.
That said, the case would’ve been interesting, I think. I don’t know of any restrictions on saying what I know of the case for which I was considered, but I’ll just say that it was a criminal case involving wire and mail fraud. I would be intellectually inclined to explore that as a juror, but under mutually-agreed terms. My complaint is not about being a juror or the burden imposed by that possible occupation. It’s only the terms.
In thinking about the case as the judge explained it, I tried to imagine a libertarian argument against my ability to be impartial in this particular case. I could think of none. And pondering the general topic of mail and wire fraud, I had a minor insight.
I tend to the libertarian view against hate crime legislation. It’s easy to think of it as thought crime. Although the general concept is still important to remember, I’ve learned that such a view is far too simplistic. Intent can (and probably must) matter.
With what little I know about wire and mail fraud, I can think of two basic scenarios. The defendant is either a crook or a bad business person. Beyond being immoral to prosecute the latter, it would also be complete folly given the prevalence of that in the marketplace. If a transaction was built on trust in everyone involved, from customer to business to suppliers to […], it’s possible for the chain to be broken for unexpected reasons.
But it’s also possible to realize that the same result can occur from different intentions. If a business person fails to deliver because his supplies never arrived, we expect the customer to seek restitution in civil court. If the business person never intended to deliver because he never purchased supplies, we consider that fraud, which we prosecute as a crime. Same result, different response.
As Kip argued in this chain, I’m inclined to accept the idea that an assault may be punished differently based on the offender’s intent.