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Old July 18, 2013, 11:20 AM   #8
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 13,647
Excellent OP.

I would add that while Federal cases require jury unanimity, most states (30, if the Wikipedia is accurate) do not require jury unanimity in civil cases in their civil trial courts, whereas all but Louisiana and Oregon do require jury unanimity in their state criminal jury trials. Not requiring unanimity can significantly lessen the burden of proof for the plaintiff (or prosecutor, in LA and OR). It takes away the possibility of a single dissenting member causing a hung jury.

Related to that, a friend of mine who is an attorney said that when he took trial law in law school, the instructor, an experienced trial lawyer, told the class that if you go to court with your client entirely in the right and with all the facts on your client's side, the chance of victory was, in his estimation, about 60%. This was in Massachusetts, and I don't know if that applies equally around the country. But good trial lawyers can be persuasive and spin and twist things even when their client is in the wrong and juries can be persuaded by them. It is why going to court is considered a roll of the dice, and why most cases are settled out of court; taking the uncertainty out. But filing countersuits and other steps that may be needed to set up conditions for negotiating civil settlements are expensive. Even if the suit is dropped, you are likely to be out of pocket a good bit of money. If you have more money than the other guy, he can probably find an attorney to take the case on contingency, but if he has nothing, you'll have to pay for your defense, as you won't find a contingency lawyer to sue someone who has nothing to lose.

This just adds fuel to the idea that if you decide to use deadly force, you not only have to be in the right, you have to feel so certain about the threat that it is worth enduring considerable subsequent punishment for doing the right thing. As Clare Booth Luce famously said: "No good deed goes unpunished".
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Last edited by Unclenick; July 24, 2013 at 07:15 AM. Reason: typo fix
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