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Bud Landry

How Our Legislators Think
By Bud Landry
Jul 7, 2005 - 9:29:00 AM

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I was in Augusta on March 16, 2005 to testify on LD 103 an act to establish the Fully Informed Jury Act. This bill was turned down by the the Judiciary Committee with a unaminous vote. I have since contacted some of the committee members and I received an answer from one.

This one was Representative Rod Carr from the Lincoln area.

I will post a copy of my letter to Rod and also his answer:

Rod, I have written a series of five articles on the subject of LD 103, an act to establish a Fully Informed Jury and on how  LD 103 was received by the Judiciary Committee. I do not expect these articles to change your mind as I do believe your loyalty is to the state, not to your constituents. Below is a copy of the first article:

To give Rod credit, I did receive a timely answer to my letter, which was not the case with other committee members. Below is Representative Carr's answer:

"Bud, Thank you for the E-mail. But I do need to correct you, my loyalty lies with what is right and wrong, Having spent 30 years in law enforcement I believe I have some experience in how the system works and as the constitution reads. I am afraid that jury trials would end up being decided not by the evidence but by which sad story the jury believed. I always welcome your thoughts, but sometimes friends do not agree. Thanks again, Rod Carr"

Over the months, I have read and reread this letter many times and have decided it does need a public answer. I believe Representative Carr is wrong and should not be a representative of the people. He puts his judgement of what is right or wrong over the the judgement of Supreme Court justices who found for a Fully Informed Jury, from the first court case in the United States in 1798 to court cases as late as 1972.

He places his judgement over the judgement of our founding fathers; such men as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Patrick Henry, Lysander Spooner and others.

Rod seems to be saying that his constituents, friends, neighbors, and other Maine people are simpletons, unable to reach a proper decision without the aid of the state. Does Representative Carr really believe that Maine people have reached this stage of senility? Does Representative Carr really believe a Maine jury would turn murderers and rapists loose if they were told a sad story? This is what he said, is this what he meant?

How would State Police Officer Carr want the jury to be formed? Would he want a smaller jury? Would he want a state-trained jury? Would he want a panel of jurists appointed by the state? Would he want the judge to have the power to tell the jury how to decide? Or does he want a jury that will do as it is told by a man of his experience?

It is almost that way now, as a judge determines which evidence can be heard and which can not. He can give the jury instructions that are very favorable to the State's case. If a defendant or his attorney tries to tell the jury of their true power, he can and has fined or jailed them for contempt of court.

I have come to believe that Rod Carr is a very honest man, but his massive belief and ego regarding his own judgement and experience makes him so superior to his constituents that it leaves him totally unable to represent them. The entire Judiciary Committee seems to have this same flaw and it is spread widely throughout the legislature in Augusta. I would respectfully suggest his constituents elect a person who will represent them rather than himself.

-- Bud landry@midmaine.com


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