FEDERAL JUDGE TO ERNEST HEMINGWAY: BE BRAVE, DO THE MURDER TRIAL & FORGET ABOUT KEY WEST

U. S. District Judge Steven Merryday may not be included in future literary anthologies, but his recent opinion denying a defense motion to continue in a Tampa capital Murder Trial  written as a homage to Hemingway’s manly memory surely ranks as the sort of biting legal bon mot molotov cocktail that your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney enjoys seeing thrown into the legal battlefield now and then just to spice things up, especially when I’m not the object of the Court’s ire.

The Judge’s order as noted in Above the Law quotes the attorney’s request for a continuance for the following reason: “Undersigned counsel, a perennial contestant in the Ernest Hemingway Look-alike Contest, is scheduled to appear as a semi-finalist at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, Florida.”

The Court then cuts to the meat of the denial remarking on Hemingway’s courage, Hemingway’s uncompromising values. Here is the Judge’s order: 

Tampa Federal Court Murder Trial will not be continued
This lawyer won’t be in Key West

Between a murder-for-hire trial and an annual look-alike contest, surely Hemingway, a perfervid admirer of “grace under pressure,” would choose the trial. At his most robust, Hemingway exemplified the intrepid defense lawyer. 
The Court then notes that the following quote is a description of Hemingway by Dorothy Parker in The New Yorker (the best written magazine in the English language) Nov. 30, 1929.

“He works like hell, and through it. . . . He has the most profound bravery. . . . And he has never once compromised. He has never turned off on an easier path than the one he staked himself. It takes courage.”
Perhaps a lawyer who evokes Hemingway can resist relaxing frolic in favor of solemn duty. Best of luck to counsel in next year’s contest. 
Your Clearwater, Largo Criminal Defense Lawyer is pleased to read the best written order from a Judge in the Middle District of Florida since the infamous 2006 Rock Paper Scissors order, even in a murder trial it’s good to see the Judge has a sense of humor.

SUPREME COURT GRANTS CERT WHERE THE TRIAL JUDGE DECLARES A MISTRIAL IN A MURDER CASE WHEN THE JURY FOREWOMEN TELLS THE JUDGE HOW THE JURY HAS ALREADY VOTED: IS IT DOUBLE JEOPARDY TO TRY THE DEFENDANT AGAIN?

Oh, impartial jurors, please don’t tell the Court what you’ve decided until you actually render your verdict at the end of the case otherwise bad things will happen possibly even this unfortunate result….
The Supreme Court granted certiorari this morning in the case of Alex Blueford v. Arkansas, 
No. 10-1320. 

The facts are as follows:

Petitioner Blueford was tried on a charge of capital murder. During jury deliberations the jury forewoman, in open court, informed the court that the jury had voted unanimously against the capital murder charge and against the lesser-included charge of first-degree murder, but that it was deadlocked on the lesser-included offense of manslaughter. (oops!) 
The court declared a mistrial, and subsequently ruled that double jeopardy did not prevent a retrial on all charges. 

The defendant appealed interlocutorily

to the Arkansas Supreme Court, which affirmed. Blueford v. State, 2011Ark. 8, S.W.3d, 2011 WL 285805 (Ark. 2011).


Areas of Practice for Robert Hambrick – Attorney in Clearwater, FL
Criminal Defense Attorney and Trial Lawyer Crimes in Clearwater, FL
Definition: Certiorari, Petition for Writ of Certiorari. Legal Dictionary | Law.com
JuryBox.org – Explaining Jury Nullification as the Last Check and Balance

Jury behavior

Scholarly research on jury behavior in American non-capital criminal felony trials reveals that juror outcomes appear to track the opinions of the median juror, rather than the opinions of the extreme juror on the panel, although juries were required to render unanimous verdicts in the jurisdictions studied. Thus, although juries must render unanimous verdicts, in run-of-the-mill criminal trials they behave in practice as if they were operating using a majority rules voting system.

The Jury by John Morgan, 1861 This is a very talkative bunch of jurors…the one with the blue scarf on his head wants to convict my client, shame on you — but the future foreman of the jury, that bright tall fellow right behind Mr. Bluescarf knows that my client is innocent and plans to dominate the jury and then if necessary,  invade Continental Europe to prove my client’s innocence – Many Thanks.

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