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IN RE CAMMER

June 15, 1954

In re CAMMER


The opinion of the court was delivered by: LAWS

Before the oral hearing of this case, the Court gave study to the briefs filed by counsel. It also listened attentively to arguments of counsel at the hearing. Nothing has changed its understanding that whenever a case is pending before judge or jury, no pressure or harassment of any character should be exercised on one who must make a decision. Unfortunately within late years there has been a tendency to bring such pressures and harassment. For a time, there was picketing of courts during trials. Then there came about unseemly conduct of counsel in court, requiring disciplining of counsel. Now it appears searching questionnaires have been submitted to grand jurors while they are considering certain types of cases.

It has never occurred to me a lawyer would not know the evil of such practices. In the case now before the Court, it has been argued that counsel for one indicted wished to ascertain whether certain grand jurors were biased; that this Court had allowed only thirty days for this purpose; and timely action had to be taken. But if suggestion had been made to the Court there was reasonable indication of partiality of grand jurors, but due to pendency of similar charges before these jurors the investigation could not then be explored, the Court, if convinced of good faith, unquestionably would have postponed the time for filing motions until all indictments were filed and opportunity to ascertain the status of jurors had been afforded.

 There is a decided difference between questioning jurors after they have concluded their services and questioning jurors when they are actively hearing or considering a case. To harass them by challenging and lengthy questions while they are deliberating or about to consider cases is intolerable. A timid juror will not fail to be disturbed, possibly influenced. A stalwart juror at least will be disturbed. Such an approach impinges freedom of thought and decision. Jurors will not serve competently if so harassed.

19540615

© 1992-2004 VersusLaw ...

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