The Illogical Juror

2005-12-30 03:08:00


"Let's take a juror who uses flawless logic. He is presented with overwhelming evidence that a man is guilty. What does he conclude? He does not conclude with 100% surety that the man is guilty, but he concludes "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the man is guilty."

No, ...

No you say. Why do you think a logical juror would not allow for the possibility the man could be innocent? That possibility ALWAYS exists no matter what evidence is presented.

Larry: this case with overwhelming evidence he decides that the man is guilty not just beyond a reasonable doubt, but in his own mind, and the mind of the other jurors, the man is guilty. 100% guilty. Period.

This is not a logical way to think even if there are a million jurors involved. There is always a possibility the man was framed or the evidence was altered. This is like saying it is not logical that there is any chance I could win the lottery. There is always a chance and if logic is used this must be considered.

I am very surprised that one as intelligent as you would think otherwise.


The law REQUIRES that the juror be certain beyond a reasonable doubt, but in some cases his certainly is absolute. That is the situation I am describing.

Of course some illogical people with bad reasoning think a thing that is not sure is a sure thing. This happens daily all over the world, but this does not mean that these silly people have flawless logic. This is bad logic.

I would never be 100% sure as a juror because it is not logical. That does not mean I would not convict if I was sure beyond a reasonable doubt.


The law doesn't require absolute, 100% certainty. But in some cases one is absolutely certain based on the evidence and perfect logic.

Why you would consider it perfect logic to be absolutely sure when such surety is impossible is strange indeed. I consider it very flawed logic.


But in fact because of some bit of presently unavailable evidence one's conviction could turn out to be wrong.

Right and that is why it is illogical to not have any doubt whatsoever.


"Anyone who thinks he is 100% sure is experiencing a fallacy in logic."

There is no such fallacy in logic. You have simply made that up to avoid the case I am describing.

I don't have to make anything up. The person in the case you are describing is not logical in being absolutely sure when there is a chance for error.


For example I am 100% sure that 2+2=4 and there is NO logical fallacy in accepting that as 100% true.

This is an entirely different item. 2+2 has never been proven not to be four but many convicted people have been proven innocent. This reasoning seems very elementary to me.


I was once on a jury that convicted a man of assault and attempted murder. I was 100% certain then that he was guilty, and I am still 100% certain that he was guilty. However it is not beyond possibility that I was wrong. However perfect logic told me then that he was guilty. In this case it still tells me he was guilty.

How could perfect logic make you conclude this with 100% surety when you freely admit that "it is not beyond possibility that I was wrong." Makes no logical sense to me.


I am sure that there have been juries that came back with a verdict of guilty very quickly because they were 100% sure.

Of course, but it is not logical to be 100% sure when there is a chance the man was innocent. This is why the law uses the term "beyond reasonable doubt," instead of "beyond all doubt." Even our laws acknowledge that there is some small doubt in the minds of many jurors. This small doubt exists because such jurors see the logical possibility the person is innocent.


From personal experience what usually holds up a few jurors is not really their uncertainty of the correct verdict, but their desire to avoid being a part of the instrument of justice, that is, even if he is guilty they don't want to be part of the instrument of punishment.

This is true but has nothing to do with the argument.


I am sure where there are many, many cases where there is evidence for both sides - evidence to convict and evidence to acquit. That is probably the vast majority. In that case the juror must use the "reasonable doubt" standard. However there are some few cases where the jurors have no reasonable doubt whatsoever. The evidence, the testimony, and perfect logic says as loud as possibly: GUILTY!

Why do you say this is perfect logic?????? It is very flawed logic. Some jurors were probably 100% sure in their emotional self and minds that OJ was innocent but that does not mean they had perfect logic by any means.


You are trying to say that because the jury must find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt that all decisions involve some degree of doubt.

I am NOT trying to say any such thing. Like I just said many are completely certain within their emotionally charged self but that by no means tells us their logic was perfect.


That is NOT true. I know that from personal, and direct experience. I was on one such jury and I experienced no doubt whatsoever. The facts and logic said the person was 100% guilty without even a shred of credible evidence that countered that conclusion.

It is not logical to ever be 100% sure of the physical senses. Who knows. Maybe you were drugged and hypnotized to see something other than reality. Maybe the evidence was planted. Maybe the guy was forced to play the guilty roll or they would kill his family. When we are depending on our external senses we can never be 100% sure. 99.9% maybe, but not 100%.

So far this discussion has taken a lot of my time designated for other things and has yielded very little results, real communication or progress and I am sure has made some tune out.

One of the problems is you present me with a wide variety of data and subjects that cannot be answered in a short post.

Instead of just cutting off the conversation I have decided to limit it to one challenge and subject at a time. In this post I have limited my response to the jury example. When we finish this then I will respond to another challenge if you wish to bring it up and if I do not have to write an entire treatise to answer it.

So far I see not logical reason to doubt my original premise. Proclaiming I have faulty logic does not make it so. It must be demonstrated so it registers with the analytical and logical mind.

If anyone else on the list feels I have left anything important unanswered in this dialog I will consider going out of my way to address it.

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.  Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)