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by Peter Moskos

February 11, 2011

You gotta be kidding me

Dog-burning case will be tried again
Jurors deliberated for more than 20 hours over three days, but couldn't agree on a verdict. One juror wasn't convinced of the brothers' guilt in the attack, leading to a mistrial.

It was the longest animal-cruelty trial ever held in the city.
You tried, you didn't win. Guilty or not, it's time to move on. Like I've said before: this is not a good use of scarce prosecutorial or judicial resources.


stevenm said...

Two comments: you don't have majority jury verdicts in the USA for 'lesser' crimes?

Also, while I agree that human suffering should be valued more than animals, I understand there is often a worrying link between cruelty to animals and humans, so maybe these crimes have more significance than just their face value.

I suppose it's interesting to consider exactly why such a crime causes outrage. I think it's not just because we think of animals as 'innocent', but also because most human-on-human violence has more understandable motivations: money, revenge etc. Assuming the dog didn't rip these guys off, or sleep with their sisters, did these guys do it because it was fun? That's a very disturbing concept for many.

PCM said...

Constitutionally, juries can have as few as six people. And constitutionally, 12-person juries don't have to be unanimous (though 6-person juries do). I'm getting my information from here. But in practice, most states require a unanimous 12-person jury.

Regarding killing dogs... Sometimes it's pure malicious pleasure. More often, it's because the "dugs" has outlived their productive dog-fighting years. It's rare to see a killed dog that hasn't been used for fighting.

Seeing how people who torture animals generally have history of abuse, (animal abuse is correlated with but rarely the cause of somebody being cruel to people) maybe, just maybe, we could take these resources and do a better job prosecuting people who abuse their children. I guarantee it wouldn't be hard to find some good candidates, but who wants to take the flake that would come from prosecuting a poor single mother?

Packing a kid off to a juvy home just gives more opportunity for these kids to molest and be molested.