Nov
08

118 Votes: A Tally Please?

There are 118 seats for spectators in the courtroom in which the case of State v. Hayes is being tried. Although court is not scheduled to open until 10 a.m. this morning, I am told there might already by a full house. On the fourth day of deliberations, a verdict is expected. Indeed, many folks think a verdict is long overdue.

I have been following the press coverage of this case closely, including the accounts of those who have been sending instant messges via Twitter. My sense is that there are very few disapassionate and undecided folks watching these proceedings. Lacking from the reporting on this case has been any critical perspective about such things as the extraordinary decision to keep a jury over the weekend, a practice unheard of in Connecticut. Reporters compete to show sensitivity in this brutal case. But this case pits the state against a man; in this contest to determine whether Hayes shall live or die, sensitivity for a nonparty should at best be good manners, but not a fulcrum from which to evaluate the proceedings.

Here's a request: Will some enterprising journalist take a tally of all those assembled today? Ask folks how they would vote, if they could vote: death? or life without  possibility of parole? Don't let anyone avoid taking a position. I've seen little by way of dispassionate reporting in this case. Sympathy abounds.

I suspect the vote will fall overwhelmingly in favor of death. And I wonder, really, how much of that great yearning for execution jurors cannot help but sense. Words alone are not the only means by which we communicate. Social psychologists have a word for the sort of nonverbal cues that can send messages: sociometery.

My sentiments in this case are clear. I abhor what Steven Hayes has done, but I abhor the state's decision to seek death even more. I cannot help but wonder whether a jury looking out at a somber lynch mob feels pressure. I hope at least one juror will refuse to give the state the life of Mr. Hayes. Indeed, I hope this jury stuns observers and concludes with one voice the killing isn't justice. I will settle for a vote of 118 to 12, or even 129 to 1, so long as the killing stops.

Related topics: Cheshire Homicide
Comments (1)
Posted on November 9, 2010 at 7:39 am by Ray
Darkness before noon
Norm, I like and appreaciate your passion/anger over the heavy hand of the state in seeking the death penalty-and, while i agree with 99% of what you said, in this case the death penalty was appropriate and i will not grieve when it is carried out.
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About Norm Pattis

Norm Pattis is a Connecticut based trial lawyer focused on high stakes criminal cases and civil right violations. He is a veteran of more than 100 jury trials, many resulting in acquittals for people charged with serious crimes, multi-million dollar civil rights and discrimination verdicts, and scores of cases favorably settled.

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I believe that the state is a necessary fiction and that failing to combat it is the first step toward tyranny.
– Norm Pattis

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