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Verdicts in 2 Police Cases

May 26, 1991

(Jackson jury foreman) Glen Evans' platform "11 Heroes and Justice: the Tape Told a Different Story" (Commentary, May 20) reinforces my belief that the American jury system suffers from a glaring and ignored defect: "expert testimony" from jurors during deliberations.

My experience with this occurred when I served on a jury deciding liability in an "accident" case. The plaintiff's arguments were dependent on his testimony that the operator of a heavy earth-moving machine properly stowed the machine in a safe condition, then returned to release its safety system, allowing the machine to crush the plaintiff's foot. Argument by a jury member, an automobile service station attendant, swayed the other 10 to vote for the defendants. His "testimony" was that in all his years working in service stations, he had never known anyone to leave his car and then return for any reason. This presumption had not been debated in court.

Jury foreman Evans entered the Jackson deliberations with a mind-set clearly evident throughout his article.

LOUIS ST. MARTIN, Pomona

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