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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 29, 2013
In California, some bills move so quickly through the Legislature, no one has a chance to completely understand their potential impact.  A measure that would allow noncitizens to serve on juries is one of those bills, George Skelton says in his Thursday column .  Supporters have painted the issue as a matter of discrimination -- why bar legal immigrants, they say, from participating in an important part of American civic life? But Skelton says there's no good reason to extend the responsibility to noncitizens.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NATIONAL
April 23, 2014 | By Jenny Deam
In a landmark legal victory that centered on fracking, a middle-class north Texas ranching family won nearly $3 million from a big natural gas company whose drilling, they contend, caused years of sickness, killed pets and livestock, and forced them out of their home for months. Tuesday's $2.95-million civil verdict by a six-person Dallas jury is thought to be the first of its kind in the nation. Other landowners have sued over drilling and reached settlements, but legal experts think this is the first jury verdict.
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OPINION
January 20, 2013
Legal scholars long have struggled to determine the proper allocation of authority between judges and juries. But you don't have to be an expert to recognize that Allen Ryan Alleyne was treated unjustly by a federal court in Virginia. The jury that convicted Alleyne for his role in the armed robbery of a convenience store specifically looked at the question of whether a gun was "brandished" by Alleyne's accomplice, a factor that would trigger a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years for any participant in the crime.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 9, 2014 | By Ryan Menezes
A mistrial was declared Tuesday in the trial of a father accused of killing his 6-month-old son in East Compton. Jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict on two counts against David Gomez, 26. The jury was split 8-4 on the charge of second-degree murder and 10-2 on child abuse causing death, the prosecutor on the case said. On Oct. 4, 2012, Abel Gomez was admitted to Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach with skull fractures and brain injuries. Earlier that night, David Gomez knocked on a neighbor's door holding an injured Abel, who was short of breath.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 26, 2013 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO -- Legislation approved by the Assembly on Thursday would make California the first state to allow non-citizens to serve on juries as long as they are in the country legally.   The bill's sponsor, Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), has two goals with his proposal -- helping immigrants integrate into American society and ensuring there are enough eligible people to serve on juries. The Assembly approved the bill (AB 1401) by a vote of 45-26, with Republicans providing most of the no votes.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 26, 2013 | By Robin Abcarian
Having served on my share of juries, including a six-week  legal malpractice trial over a Malibu real estate deal gone south that gives me a headache just to think about, I think the push to allow non-citizens to serve on California juries is kind of a genius move. Is anyone excited to get a jury summons? No, of course not. Like paying taxes and voting for the mayor of Los Angeles, it's one of the drudgeries that make our system great. So why not make those want to partake of our country's way of life suffer like the rest of us. Let's make them endure the tedious obligation that is jury duty in most California counties.
OPINION
December 15, 2008
Re "Punitive clarity," editorial, Dec. 9 In the second Philip Morris vs. Williams, the Supreme Court decided that courts must have a procedure to assure that juries are not confused about punitive damages and the proper use of evidence when others, in addition to the plaintiff, are harmed. Oregon has such a procedure. Philip Morris failed to comply with it, asking for a jury instruction that misstated Oregon law. In Exxon vs. Baker, the Supreme Court noted that most punitive damage awards are less than the amount of compensatory damages, and that jurors do a remarkably good job deciding how to punish reprehensible behavior with punitive damages.
NEWS
February 20, 1994
This response is prompted by Robin Abcarian's article of Feb. 2, "Of Course Juries Are Confused." Re the phrase "era of a confounding jury," I would rather call it the era of a wise jury. Today the courts are dealing with juries who are more informed and sensitive, who therefore look at the ills rather than at the symptoms in cases such as those involving abuse. Our society often neglects the importance of compassion. Without compassion people become callous and consequently breed a heartless and senseless society.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 3, 2001 | TWILA DECKER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A 24-year-old Los Angeles woman was ordered freed from jail Friday after a Superior Court jury acquitted her in the 1999 scalding death of a 3-year-old foster child. The jury found Leona Hightower not guilty of all five charges against her: second-degree murder, manslaughter, assault and two counts of child abuse. Hightower had been in custody since the boy's death in May 1999 and faced a possible life sentence if convicted.
NEWS
November 3, 1999 | From Times Wire Reports
The jury in the beating death of gay college student Matthew Shepard began deliberating in Laramie, Wyo., after a defense attorney argued that the man on trial flew into a rage when Shepard grabbed his crotch. Shepard "was innocent, but he was also forward, and people reacted to that," attorney Dion Custis said. "We know you people may not like us trying to demean Matthew Shepard in any way, but don't hold that against Aaron McKinney." The jury deliberated for about eight hours before recessing.
OPINION
April 7, 2014 | By Charis E. Kubrin and Erik Nielson
For 16 months, Bay Area rapper Deandre Mitchell - better known as Laz Tha Boy - has been sitting in a jail cell faced with a decision no artist should have to make: whether to defend his innocence at trial, knowing his music likely will be used as evidence against him, or take a plea bargain and admit to crimes he maintains he did not commit. Mitchell's case dates to October 2012, when he was indicted for his alleged role in two gang-related shootings that occurred that year. Prosecutors didn't present a single arrest or conviction to establish Mitchell's association with a criminal gang, and with conflicting eyewitness testimony - and no physical evidence connecting him to the shootings, according to defense attorney John Hamasaki - prosecutors elected to introduce something else: Mitchell's violent gangsta rap videos and lyrics, which were presented to the grand jury as evidence of his criminal behavior.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 4, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal grand jury indicted 29 suspects, including California state Sen. Leland Yee, with a wide range of crimes, including firearms trafficking and public corruption, U.S. Atty. Melinda Haag announced Friday. Yee, a Democrat who represents parts of San Francisco and San Mateo County, and other suspects were arrested last week on a criminal complaint that outlined the charges behind the grand jury indictments. Yee was indicted on charges of corruption, wire fraud and gun trafficking, the same charges laid out in the complaint.
NATIONAL
March 26, 2014 | By Tina Susman
NEW YORK--The conviction of a former Al Qaeda spokesman Wednesday for crimes stemming from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks could bolster calls for the movement of high-profile terror suspects out of Guantanamo Bay to civilian courts, but the defendant's attorney said the trial was unfair and promised an appeal. After a jury found Sulaiman Abu Ghaith guilty, defense attorney Stanley Cohen said his case had been hampered by the absence of certain witnesses whose testimony was not allowed; by the judge's instructions to the jury; and by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan's own statements as jurors entered a second day of deliberations.
NATIONAL
March 25, 2014 | By Tina Susman
NEW YORK - Jurors on Tuesday begin deliberating the fate of a former Al Qaeda spokesman portrayed by lawyers as either a hardened terrorist buoyed by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks or an innocent cleric accidentally drawn into Osama bin Laden's orbit. The case of Sulaiman abu Ghaith, a son-in-law of Bin Laden, has given the public its first and possibly only chance to watch a terrorism trial related to the 2001 attacks unfold in civilian court. Unlike other high-profile terrorism suspects accused of crimes arising from the attacks, Abu Ghaith bypassed the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after his arrest last year.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 24, 2014 | By Paloma Esquivel
The trial for the man charged with killing eight people in a Seal Beach salon will split into two separate phases, with two different sets of jurors asked to decide the ultimate fate of the accused mass murderer, a judge ruled Monday. The first phase, the actual trial, would begin in June. If convicted, Scott Dekraai faces the death penalty for allegedly walking into Salon Meritage in October 2011 and opening fire, killing his ex-wife and seven others in the county's deadliest shooting.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 21, 2014 | By Corina Knoll
It was a collision that rewrote the future of a young man: A football team captain on the verge of heading off to college would instead become a child-like invalid who struggled to tie his shoes. Edward Acuna was 17 when he took the field for Pomona's Garey High on an October night. In the fourth quarter, he sustained a helmet-to-helmet hit. When the defensive lineman eventually regained consciousness, he was partially paralyzed, was unable to utter simple words and had lost his short-term memory.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 15, 1994 | ANN W. O'NEILL, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Imploring the jury "Please don't kill my client," a defense attorney Thursday portrayed Mary Ellen Samuels, who masterminded the murders of her husband and the hit man, as a cookie-baking jailhouse "den mother" whose life should be spared. To the prosecutor, though, the 45-year-old grandmother is a remorseless, money-grubbing shrew who deserves to be executed. Now, the decision whether the "Green Widow," as prosecutors call her, lives or dies is in a jury's hands.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 11, 1999
An appeals court halted jury selection Monday for a Sylmar woman accused of beating her husband to death with a baseball bat. The appeals panel agreed to hear prosecutors who said a Superior Court judge ordered the trial to begin over their objections. Jeanie Adair, who is being held without bail until the 2nd District Court of Appeals decides the matter, maintains that she was attacked by robbers who killed her husband and fled. Deputy Dist. Atty.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 16, 2014 | By Jill Cowan
For years, Orange County has been the contrarian while its neighbors have used distinctive and easy-to-spot letter grades to alert would-be diners what to expect when they swing open the door to a restaurant. Now, Orange County is studying whether it too should move in that direction - but rather than assign letter grades, it's considering using colors. Think traffic lights. The color-coded system advanced by the county grand jury - green, yellow and red - would be similar to those used in Sacramento and Alameda counties.
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