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HALL VERDICT: ‘GUILTY’ … MANNER OF DELIBERATIONS LEADS TO A FAIR QUESTION: DID JURY UNDERSTAND MEANING OF “REASONABLE DOUBT”?

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, FEB. 7-9 WEEKEND EDITION, 2014) — As we said in the Muir case so

HALL: Verdict is “Guilty” (Photo masslive)

we say in the Adam Lee Hall case. The first found the defendant not guilty of sexual assault charges. The second found the defendant guilt of murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, assault and battery, and intimidation of a witness. In both cases, the system did its job.

District Attorney David Capeless issued the following statement:

“I want to extend my appreciation and thanks to the jury for providing five weeks of service on behalf of their fellow citizens, their attention to the evidence throughout the trial, and for their obviously careful and thoughtful consideration of the evidence in the case. I also want to thank all of the many witnesses who came forward and testified. They should be congratulated for their willingness to share their testimony, and participate in the pursuit of justice on behalf of David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell,” he said.

“These verdicts have resulted from a through and relentless investigation, one which will not rest as we prepare for trial for the co-defendants. All the investigators involved should be proud of what they have accomplished, and the citizens of Berkshire County should be grateful that they are here to serve and protect them.”

There have been many cases of the system letting the guilty go and also convicting wrongly. This case does not seem to be one of them. A trial is society’s mechanism for deciding between two conflicting and sometimes equally compelling version of a set of events. It does not decide “Truth.” It can only reach a verdict on the evidence presented. In this case, the jury heard both sides testify about the meaning of certain evidence, most of it circumstantial.

The only thing a jury can do is arrive at conclusions and making inferences on the facts as they were presented to them.

The jury found call guilty based on the evidence. After three  days of deliberation, they were unable to reach a verdict. The main question THE PLANET would raise is the manner in which the jury acted. Initially on Friday, they reported being deadlocked. The judge sent them back in for more deliberation. Not even two hours later, they reached their findings.

Hall confers with one of his attorneys. (Photo: masslive)THE PLANET would raise the question of “reasonable doubt.” If would appear at least one member of the jury had reasonable doubt in light of the circumstantial evidence. “Reasonable doubt” is a high standard of proof. Used in criminal trials, the standard allows tenable doubts about guilt as a reason to find “not guilty.” Reasonable doubt is a benchmark for proof much higher than finding on a “preponderance of evidence.” The latter allows a verdict where “one side has more evidence in its favor than the other, even by the smallest degree” (source: The Free Dictionary: Legal, thefreedictionary.com).

What makes a person change their mind so quickly? Did a member of the jury cave to peer pressure? Did the jury understand the concept of “reasonable doubt”? What could happen in less than two hours to change the mind of a juror that could not convince one or more jurors after three days? It would also make one wonder is Hall’s attorney will be encourage by the manner of the deliberation to launch an appeal.

Conviction on a murder charge in Massachusetts is mandatory life sentence without the chance of parole. Sentencing is due Monday.

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“And oftentimes there crept into his ears / A sound of alien pity, touched with tears” — Edward Arlington Robinson, “Aaron Stark”

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE”

LOVE TO ALL.

 

21 Responses to “HALL VERDICT: ‘GUILTY’ … MANNER OF DELIBERATIONS LEADS TO A FAIR QUESTION: DID JURY UNDERSTAND MEANING OF “REASONABLE DOUBT”?”

  1. dusty
    February 8, 2014 at 2:28 am #

    I imagine he is already working on an appeal. And just who was his lawyer? Any big shot status? Are the taxpayers footing the bill? Will his friends be picketing at Park Square?

  2. Wilson
    February 8, 2014 at 5:10 am #

    The Capeless prosecution was so silly and bumbling the jury would feel compelled to convict anyone put before it to avoid complete public disorder.

    • levitan
      February 8, 2014 at 8:47 am #

      How was it silly? I was for the first time reluctantly impressed.

      • Wilson
        February 8, 2014 at 10:31 am #

        Using a medical book as proof of homicidal capability, proving that Hall had a gun that wasn’t used in the murder. I guess the point is really to scare the jury out of any doubt, because with such idiots insuring public safety, it’s best to lock up everyone who isn’t a cute girl or paralyzed.

        • levitan
          February 8, 2014 at 10:48 am #

          The Judge heard that argument about the book, and ruled it provided reasonable evidence for the jury that arcane information in the book was used at the crime. Therefore, it was not ‘silly’ but helpful for the prosecution.

          Sure, Hall had no guns after the murder, but was seen with bags of them just before – and bullets were found in the victims. How is it silly to remind -with the Judge’s agreement – that provide evidence that Hall had the means to shoot them?

          • Allen
            February 8, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

            Wilson. Not sure why the person is not agreeing. He is posing as someone who is well versed in the law

          • Allen
            February 8, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

            Sorry. First word was Agreed (not Wilson)

          • Evian
            February 8, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

            Dan is correct. After days of deliberation the jury comes back hung, that shows how weak the prosecutions was. Looks like it reached a kneejerk verdict, probably people just wanting to get on with their lives after 5 wks.

            Cant say I blame them but after all they didnt see enough from prosecution after three days to convict.

          • levitan
            February 8, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

            Evian, it at most 3 weeks, and clearly what Dan thinks was reasonable was decided not to be reasonable.

            I find it interesting that the crowd has turned it’s watchful eye to the jury and Judge and is now smearing them. After what they had gone through which I would not have wanted to do, I find that revealing.

            They, not you, considered the evidence, concrete and not, and made their independent conclusion given that they did not know who Hall is.

            The trial is over now, and as Valenti said, all you have is a verdict. You do not get try the Jury now.

    • Evian
      February 8, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

      Have to agree. Bumbling job barely successful.

      • levitan
        February 9, 2014 at 9:40 am #

        Maybe, but I doubt Hall would agree.

  3. joetaxpayer
    February 8, 2014 at 7:20 am #

    In Massachusetts a automatic appeal to the state goes in all First Degree murder convictions.

  4. levitan
    February 8, 2014 at 8:46 am #

    Dan,

    You pay too much to the gossip but not the news.

    What ‘circumstantial evidence’? First hand testimony from participants? Consistent reports from those seeing him mock the dead? A car scrapped days after the murders that?

    There was large body of concrete evidence. Reasonable doubt does not mean ‘any doubt,’ and you have no position to even speculate what the disagreement was.

    Perhaps a juror was holding out for retrial so it may become a federal case on account of Hells Angel’s affiliation.

    Dusty:
    First degree murder has an automatic appeal, most likely presented by the same lawyer who handled the case. You get to pay for it, but I would guess it’ll be one short appeal. There was no foul play in the courtroom. My guess they will say the jury was swayed by the large number of family members, the vivid details, and by Blacks poor (non) defense. (Which is undermined by the judge’s acknowledgement that Black argued considerably and Hall refused to testify.)

    • levitan
      February 8, 2014 at 8:52 am #

      Last thing; people have been legitimately convicted without murder weapons, blood and DNA evidence. A bottle bleach and Hurricane Irene will cover your tracks, but do not make a brilliant plan.

      • MrG1188
        February 10, 2014 at 6:28 am #

        I agree with Levitan here. While I had my doubts, from the reports, about the case the DA made, I would never criticize a jury decision unless I was on it, or at the very least sat in the same courtroom every day and heard exactly what they heard. The verdict is Guilty.

  5. Magic
    February 8, 2014 at 8:58 am #

    I for one am so impressed with DA Capeless (never was much before :-) ) Each day on Masslive.com the public was able to follow the proceedings, thanks to the Springfield Republican and the court reporter (kudo’s to her she was amazing). I would never have wanted to have served on that jury, but thank you to those jurors, I know it was a horrid case and they did they did the right thing.

    Thank you Dan for this forum.

  6. levitan
    February 8, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    Capeless managed the courtroom well; but he does not get a pass for ignoring Glasser’s peril prior to the 2010 trial. He has a owes a debt to the families which he will never be able to repay.

    I wonder if our good man will consider the history of Capeless ignoring those not behind the veil of money, starting with Glasser’s ignored request for protection, and including numerous vehicular homicides/near homicides, and corrupt city embezzelers allowed to run away to Hatfield.

  7. Geosims
    February 9, 2014 at 4:46 am #

    The deadlocked jury could be as simple as the juror I had the misfortune serving as foreman with, unless there was a video from 3 angles of the actual crime, she could not make a decision. Literally cried she had the same problem last time she was chosen for duty.

    • levitan
      February 9, 2014 at 8:58 am #

      Geosims,

      The gallery is not into legal analysis. There were nine women and three men – hanky panky got in the way?

  8. Thomas More
    February 9, 2014 at 9:58 am #

    Jury’s like to hear from the defendant in person. He chose not to testify.

  9. Scott
    February 11, 2014 at 6:39 am #

    Yes the law enforcement community is here to serve but can do very little when it comes to protecting apparently.