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The Brett Winterble Show

Defendant's swastika tattoos ordered to be covered during trial

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There are ridiculous instances when individuals sue other individuals or companies in order to get whatever it is they are seeking. The process of a trial is certainly one that no one really wants to endure, but it must be done in order to achieve the reason why one sued in the first place.

If you're an adult like me, and you register to vote, and you pay taxes, you've probably been summoned by your local superior court in order to complete an annual jury duty service. More often than not, you don't get called in for a number of reasons. You've done your civic duty, you're sent home and you don't have to worry about this for another year. 

Now, what if you were faced with the following dilemma: the defendant is a known Neo-Nazi. He has numerous tattoos, including the words "skin" and "head" displayed across his shaved eyebrow region, as well as four-leaf clovers with a swastika embedded in the middle of it, and numerous other "Nazi" insignia inked all over his arms, hands, neck and head. 

The previous example fits the description of a man who's involved in a case in Las Vegas.

In an unusual move, District Judge Richard Scotti has ordered the concealing of Morgan’s tattoos from the neck up.

“The goal is to make sure we can get a jury to at least give him a fair trial,” defense attorney Dan Bunin said.

A month ago, a different group of possible jurors was summoned to decide on the robbery case against Morgan. But one by one, they saw his tattoos and his bald head and said they could not be fair and impartial.

(Bayzle) Morgan is accused of stealing a man’s motorcycle at gunpoint in the northwest valley in May 2013. He’s also facing the death penalty in a separate case, charged in the slaying of 75-year-old Jean Main just days before the robbery. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

This is wild. I've never seen anything like this in my lifetime. It's good to know that judges are out there that will do whatever they can to create a fair trial for those who have been charged with such incredible felonious crimes. If you cannot be fair, balanced, unbiased, and make your judgments based on the evidence provided, then you should tell the judge and lawyers so. To be quite blunt, I'm not so sure I could be fair and unbiased in this particular case.

This is not an indictment on those complain about the lack of professionalism inside our criminal justice and when verdicts don't go their way. Sure, there are a handful of times where people demand to have their day in court, but by doing so, you are putting your eggs inside the basket of a jury of your peers (with the exception of grand jury).

When you don't get the verdict you were expecting, are you going to be upset, frustrated, disappointed and any other emotion associated with that feeling? Of course, but you cannot figuratively indict the criminal justice system when you don't get your way. That'd be like you're the closer on a baseball team. Your team is leading in the bottom of the 9th and you give up a game-winning home run and you're going to blame the umpire for not giving you a better strike zone. 

This could be a great precedent. With the number of "movements" that are happening across the country, and the number of "social justice warriors" that are demanding justice, there's bound to be a number of lawsuits coming involving these activists. There will come a day where someone associated with Black Lives Matter, the Ku Klux Klan, the Westboro Baptist Church, etc., and you might be chosen to be on a jury associated with these groups. You don't have much of a decision to make except to tell the attorneys and judge involved in the case whether you can be fair and neutral. It's most certainly a hefty decision that should not be taken lightly.

I look back to my previous entry on racism on college campuses and how Amherst College is making it mandatory for incoming freshmen to sit through an event which includes a video that questions whether or not you think you're racist. This and that must make us truly think about who we are as people. We are human beings. We can think for ourselves. We listen to differing opinions every single day. However, in the end, we are the ones who make those strong and large decisions on a daily basis that help shape who we are today. Don't disappoint yourself. Do the right thing.

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