December 10, 2007

The Idiot Who Torpedoed The Holy Land Foundation Trial

I believe in the jury system, I really do. An overwhelming amount of the time, juries get it right, proving the wisdom of the common individual. No system achieves perfection, as we saw with the O.J. Simpson murder trial, and now we have another example in the strange mistrial in the Holy Land Foundation prosecution. Michael Fechter interviewed several of the jurors, and found the reason why a jury refuted its own reported verdicts -- an out-of-control juror who thinks Hamas and the founding fathers of this nation have a lot in common (via Memeorandum):

While several jurors favored acquittals, just one out of the 12 did most of the knocking down. In fact, interviews with three HLF jurors - speaking publicly for the first time - suggest that juror William Neal's stridency may have changed the trial's outcome. Neal even claimed credit for steering jurors away from convictions in a recent radio interview. Until now, he has been the sole source for public perception of the deliberations and the government's case.

The three jurors interviewed by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) showed the Neal-created perception as skewed. All three jurors say they disagree with his views of the evidence and the prosecution's case. To them, it seems clear that Neal made up his mind going into the jury room and refused to consider any argument in favor of guilt. He preferred to read the court's instructions rather than look at exhibits in evidence, they said. And his often snide manner intimidated and bullied those who disagreed with him.

The effect this had on the case is clear. When a juror walked out in frustration after just four days of deliberations, it followed a confrontation with Neal. When another juror briefly refused to cast a vote, it was after a confrontation with Neal. Williams broke down several times during the 19 days jurors spent locked in debate. Each incident followed what she felt was an attack by Neal.

Neal is hardly contrite for his abusive behavior:

"A lot of the jurors couldn't even say words that had four syllables," Neal said on the Ernie and Jay show on KRLD 1080 AM. "They just picked the jury based on socio-economical reasons. A lot of these people are blue collar, you know, working UPS, working food, cafeteria cashier. You had people [from] secluded lifestyles. They had no idea of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. They had no idea about worldly affairs. To get them and you show them bombs and show them kids – that's not our lifestyle so we've got to vote them guilty because of that. That's the whole reason."

Neal clearly doesn't believe in the wisdom of the common individual. The graphic artist sees himself as an expert on Middle Eastern affairs and the rest of his co-panelists as a bunch of hicks who couldn't even understand how parochial they are. Neal couldn't be bothered to enlighten them, either, telling one to "go back to sleep" when she offered an opinion, and another that she should leave if she wanted to base her verdict on the evidence.

Given that unusual perspective on the legal process, Neal's view of history shouldn't come as a great shock:

So, to Neal, what is Hamas?

"It is marked as a terrorist organization. My personal viewpoint, I didn't know too much before. I see it as a political struggle. Our country was founded on a terrorist act. The Boston Tea Party wasn't a tea party, dude. It was a rebellion against the king's wrath. They fought back against an oppressive government."

Well, dude, it didn't involve killing civilians, either. The American Revolution was fought as a military affair, rebellion though it was. Sam Adams didn't get a beer named after him for bombing colonial pubs. George Washington didn't become the father of our country by hostaging children and beheading Brits.

Neal suffers from delusions of adequacy in .... well, just about everything. While he scorns the supposed rubes with whom he served as a juror, he has exposed himself as an idiot non pareil. Unfortunately, his idiocy has some serious consequences for the nation he thinks got founded by a bunch of terrorists.


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