Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Jensen decision

The Court of Appeals' reversal of Scott Jensen's conviction doesn't end the case. He can be tried again. But it is not quite right to suggest, as at least one blogger has, that the court acted on a technicality that is unlikely to affect the outcome.

The conviction was reversed because the court of appeals concluded that the instructions to the jury amounted to a imposing a mandatory conclusive presumption on the issue of Jensen's intent to obtain a dishonest advantage. Briefly the court told the jury that using state resources to obtain would be a dishonest advantage but it did not sufficiently qualify that or otherwise make clear to the jury that it must still find that Jensen intended to obtain that disadvantage.

For this reason, the court also found that the trial court may have erred in excluding Jensen's testimony that he understood that the Democrats do the same thing. While, on remand, the trial judge is free to attempt to articulate a rationale for keeping this testimony out, it seems unlikely - given the court's ruling on intent - that he will be able to do so. Jensen's understanding of what the Democrats did, the Court of Appeals acknowledged, would seem to go to whether he intended to obtain a dishonest advantage as opposed to simply staying even.

Perhaps the court of appeals (rather belatedly in my judgment) has finally gotten at what has been wrong from the beginning with prosecuting political leaders for doing what all of them have done forever (and, yes, I include Chvala and Burke in this.)

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jensen must serve jail time period. If he does not then this State Government is done, the leaders would not only be inept, they would be corrupt. Jensen has used power to get so far... it's time to put pressure on those who defend him.

Anonymous said...

What a silly comment. The court ruled that Jensen was not given a fair trial and deserves a new one. If in a fair trial he loses, so be it, but the first one clearly was not.

Don't forget, he was prosecuted for using state dollars to campaign by a man who himself had used state dollars to campaign - but Jensen was not able to bring that point up in trial.

The Appeals Court ruled that he should have been able to point out that giant piece of hypocrisy.

Dad29 said...

Hypocritical or no, using State dollars for partisan campaign purposes is wrong.

Yes, Jensen deserves another trial where the jury must judge his INTENT, not just prima facie facts--because intent is critical to wrong-doing.

Be that as it may, the practice must be stopped.

Anonymous said...

Yes - using state dollars for partisan campaign purposes is wrong. But they have specific charges for that and they are all misdemeanors.

When a partisan DA rolls these into a felony count in order to balance the charges of extortion and money laundering committed by Chvala, it starts to stink.

Intent is crucial to this case and the judget simply handed it over as settled fare for the jury. Plus, the judge did not allow a defendant to present his full defense.

Don't think for a minute that Shirley Krug, Spencer Black and Mark Pocan aren't all a little nervous right now...

Anonymous said...

Everyone deserves a trial, however it's notable that Jensen's legal team maxed-out the timing so that years have passed by - obviousy to gain political advantage - now that much of the uproar over the Caucus Scandal has passed. Jensen is using up state resources who will now need to re-prosecute the case, what other convicted criminals get this type of appeal? It's special treatment plain and simple. When Jensen is convicted again he deserves a longer sentence than 15 months for trying to weasel out of a sentence that could have been served twice over now. He could be at home with his family and all this behind him right now.

Anonymous said...

Where is the special treatment? What extraordinary measure did Jensen's legal team take? He went to trial, was found guilty and appealed the case.

He won that appeal which clearly shows that he had a legitimate reason to appeal the verdict.

Is there any legal case for your argument or are you simply a partisan hack?

karl marx said...

Liberals aren't against what Scott Jensen was accused of doing. Liberals are against Scott Jensen.
If Scott Jensen was a liberal they'd be happy for his new trial.
If libs were against what Jensen was accused of, they'd expect their brethren to be charged as well. And they'd support the charges.

Hot Fuzz said...

anon 2:47:

Even if I accept your premise as true (that Jensen's lawyers "maxed-out the timing"), I am horrified by your conclusion that this is somehow unfair.

Is it unfair for a death row inmate to max out his appeals to delay his death? Or should he just accept his punishment because you know he is guilty and has been afforded fair process?

Isn't it better to wait out public and partisan uproar to ensure that a criminal defendant has a fair trial? Here's an example you may better understand: Georgia Thompson.

And to your comment about Jensen trying to "weasel" out of his sentence: you may want to visit a junior high civics class, where perhaps you'll learn about the founding principles of our criminal justice system.

You scare the crap out of me. There's a reason we aren't trying to emulate the Russian "justice" system.