Had a jury trial start today, and one of the pre-trial motions I filed was to have the Court bar the prosecutor from wearing a religious symbol, in Court, and in front of the jury. While the elected prosecutor is a female, the motion was directed at her assistant, who is participating in the trial. He is a fundamentalist Xtian who wears a three inch cross around his neck, advertising how he "loves him some Jesus!"
Long story short, I argued my client's right to receive a fair trial trumped his right to advertise his religion. And, how his display of the cross put "god on his side" in a secular Court of law. 5th and 6th Amendment, and the first part of the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment, running head on into the second part of the establishment clause and right of freedom of expression under the 1st Amendment.
Not only did the judge rule in my favor, he made it clear that there would be some serious sanctions against the State should he have that thing draped around his neck in front of not only this jury, but any future jury.
Now, when I won (the hearing - trial is still going on), you'd have thought I shot his brand new puppy on Xmas morning. "Mom and Dad. I going to name him Spark-(ka-pow!)-EEEEEEEEE!!!!!"
Guess 'ole JC must have been filling out his NCAA bracket and missed the hearing.
In case you're wondering, here's a video of the prosecutor wearing the cross. By the way, it was a campaign video and he lost.
Thank you, Pat, for the step you took. Minor victories contribute to major victories. Congratulations.
I've won several speech clause victories more minor than yours; they required no court action.
I ask people to pledge allegiance to the Constitution, not to the flag.
I like that idea Tom. Flag waving does not set well with me, nor do I want to pledge to an avatar. The Constitution makes more sense.
Pat, good job! You argued on sound foundation and for justice. Thankfully, the judge heard you.
OUTSTANDING, Pat, and big-time congratulations to you! Frankly, I think ANY religious symbol, whether a cross, star of David or the 10 commandments, has about much place in a courtroom as a hole in the head. They should be BANNED as a matter of professional decorum, FULL STOP.
As for that garish cross your opponent was wearing, any larger and you'd think he was going for bling! YUK!
Pat, excellent example, and funny to imagine, of limits being set on belief, not evidence. His belief, challenged as inappropriate in a court of law, is your victory. I am so happy to learn that. This reveals the complexity of the belief/evidence divide and the conflict can get ugly. When intelligent, strong, compassionate, courageous and vocal people make known the principle of separation of church and state our nation benefits.
That crucifix shown in the video would have looked ridiculous and out of place in court, especially when worn by a male in a suit.
I'm glad the judge ruled in your favour.
Congratulations, Pat. Every little inroad helps.
I am so grateful to all you world-wise and sophisticated people; I learn so much from you all. For example:
"bling - definition of bling by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus ...
www.thefreedictionary.com/bling Noun, 1. bling - flashy, ostentatious jewelry; "the rapper was loaded with bling". bling bling · jewellery, jewelry - an adornment (as a bracelet or ring or necklace) ..."
I just don't have any bling in me ... or on me.
I don't know if I am bragging or complaining.
Bling has no use in my world either.
Ick! (re: the guy in the video)
I think that cross is a bit over-the-top baroque - something you might see on a pop-diva's neck, not a male, born-again xtian's.
Any victory for fairness is a Good one! Congrats.
Whoa, RML, I studied business law and later considered law for a second career.
A friend suggested that if I want to meet lawyers I should go to ACLU meetings. I did and became comfortable with attorneys. If a jury is to decide the case, an attorney has to be capable of pop-diva (pop-divus?) behavior.
What's-his-name's character in Chicago was way over the top, but an attorney has to move jurors in a desired direction. If any jurors are born-again xians, a cross would send them a message no attorney would say aloud.
Attorneys who don't object to such tactics? They're sleeping; don't hire them.
Hm-mm, how would I fire an attorney during a trial? Pat?