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Lawyer For Utah Teen Murderer/Rapist Slurs Mormons


smac97

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Nice:

Utah’s high court hears appeal of first juvenile serving life without parole

By melinda Rogers

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Jun 06 2011 02:03PM

Updated Jun 6, 2011 11:39PM

Robert Cameron Houston was just 17 when he stabbed and raped a 22-year-old employee of a Clearfield home for troubled youth.

In 2006, Houston pleaded guilty to capital murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the slaying of Raechale Elton. After a weeklong penalty hearing, a 2nd District Court jury voted to sentence Houston to life in prison without the possibility of parole, making him the first juvenile in Utah to receive the sentence.

But Houston now claims his sentence is unconstitutional for several reasons, including that life behind bars is cruel and unusual punishment for a juvenile.

And some of those "several reasons" are ... those darn Mormons!

Read on:

On Monday, his case went before the Utah Supreme Court, where attorney John Pace argued on Houston’s behalf that his defense counsel in 2006 — Richard Gallegos and Dee Smith — was ineffective.

Pace told the high court that jurors in the case didn’t receive proper guidance when it came to sentencing. He said jurors may not have considered whether mitigating circumstances — such as Houston’s mental health — could have outweighed aggravating factors in the case and resulted in a lesser sentence.

Mental health as a mitigating circumstance. I get that.

Pace also argued Houston’s attorneys didn’t put enough experts on the stand to testify on human development and the notion that the boy’s mental illness and sexual impulses could be tamed with medication. He argued that other expert witnesses could have testified on Houston’s behalf that criminal behavior decreases with age — evidence for why the teen should have received life with parole, Pace said.

Decreasing likelihood of recidivism as he gets older. That seems to be scraping the bottom of the barrel as far as looking for mitigating circumstances, but that's what defense attorneys are supposed to do.

But here's where Mr. Pace goes off the rails, IMHO:

He also criticized Houston’s counsel for not pushing to have the boy’s trial in a different venue, particularly because the boy is black and not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — which could have put him at a disadvantage with a conservative Davis County jury pool.

Ah! Who knew those folks in Davis County were both racist and religious bigots?

After all, it's not like the jury could have been influenced by little details like these:

But Assistant Utah Attorney General Chris Ballard said Houston’s punishment fit the vicious attack he launched on Elton on Feb. 15, 2006. Houston slit Elton’s throat and tried to rip out her trachea because she wouldn’t stop screaming, Ballard said. The teenager also tried to break the woman’s neck in several different ways.

Nah. He's got a long prison sentence because Mormons are racist and religious bigots.

Oh, one last thing. The bio of John Pace (the attorney who presented these arguments) on his firm's website states that "Mr. Pace is an active supporter of organizations and individuals who promote commonsense problem solving and tolerance."

-Smac

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Oh, one last thing. The bio of John Pace (the attorney who presented these arguments) on his firm's website states that "Mr. Pace is an active supporter of organizations and individuals who promote commonsense problem solving and tolerance."

-Smac

What a tard. Sorry, but I am amazed the people like him can go home and sleep well at night.
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Yeah, only Mormons are biased against cold blooded killers.

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Ah! Who knew those folks in Davis County were both racist and religious bigots?

It doesn't seem that unreasonable to me and I don't really see it as a criticism of Mormons. One of the challenges of selecting a jury is getting a broad cross-section of the population that can represent all social groups. It seems to me that when you have one race and one religion dominating the cultural landscape that task becomes even tougher. It isn't a criticism of mormons it is just the reality of Utah.

jury of one's peers The constitutionally guaranteed right of criminal defendants to be tried by their equals, that is, by an impartial group of citizens from the legal jurisdiction where they live. This has been interpreted by courts to mean that the jurors should include a broad representation of the population, particularly with regard to race, national origin, and gender.

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It doesn't seem that unreasonable to me and I don't really see it as a criticism of Mormons. One of the challenges of selecting a jury is getting a broad cross-section of the population that can represent all social groups. It seems to me that when you have one race and one religion dominating the cultural landscape that task becomes even tougher. It isn't a criticism of mormons it is just the reality of Utah.

Wait.. so you think that people in Davis County are religious and racial bigots?

It seems totally unreasonable and the dude offered 0 evidence of bigotry. Just asserted it like you.

Please demonstrate that "it is just the reality of Utah". Can you back that up. Or are you just going to go limp?

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It doesn't seem that unreasonable to me and I don't really see it as a criticism of Mormons. One of the challenges of selecting a jury is getting a broad cross-section of the population that can represent all social groups. It seems to me that when you have one race and one religion dominating the cultural landscape that task becomes even tougher. It isn't a criticism of mormons it is just the reality of Utah.

I don't live in Utah but have visited Davis county a few times and by appearances a large segment of the population of that county is not Mormon.

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Wait.. so you think that people in Davis County are religious and racial bigots?

No I don't think that people in Davis County are religious and racial bigots. I simply think that would be more difficult within Davis County to find a jury that represents a broad section of religions, races, and cultural backgrounds. I don't know or believe that the jury reached the wrong decision in the case. I know nothing about the case.

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I don't live in Utah but have visited Davis county a few times and by appearances a large segment of the population of that county is not Mormon.

for all I know he was convicted of a jury composed competely of non-mormons. That also would not be a jury that represented a broad section of the population. It is the lawyers job to do everything he can (within the law) to free his client. It seems he is doing his job. I'm sure he is aware that most of his arguments will fail. All he needs is for one to succeed.

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Please demonstrate that "it is just the reality of Utah". Can you back that up. Or are you just going to go limp?

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 238,994 people, 71,201 households, and 59,239 families residing in the county. The population density was 785 people per square mile (303/km²). There were 74,114 housing units at an average density of 243 per square mile (94/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 92.26% White, 1.09% Black or African American, 0.58% Native American, 1.53% Asian, 0.27% Pacific Islander, 2.30% from other races, and 1.97% from two or more races. 5.42% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race

Looks like 1.09% of the population of Davis County shares the same race as this individual.

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Davis County is home to Lagoon amusement park, and Hill AFB. I don't see it a particularly a Mormon or non Mormon community. There MAY be a problem with getting a jury of his peers, being one of a minority Blacks living in Utah.

There are plenty of examples of an all White jury convicting a Black person, particularly in the South. I don't know about Utah's conviction rate for Black defendants as opposed to White ones. It is probably an uphill battle for any lawyer successfully appeal such verdicts in Utah.

IMNTBHO LWOP for any Minor should come under Cruel and Unusual protections of the Constitution.

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Here is what I don't understand about this thread. Where did the lawyer "slur" mormons?

He also criticized Houston’s counsel for not pushing to have the boy’s trial in a different venue, particularly because the boy is black and not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — which could have put him at a disadvantage with a conservative Davis County jury pool.

If that is considered a slur we all need to develop some thicker skin.

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Looks like 1.09% of the population of Davis County shares the same race as this individual.

Looks like a narrow definition of broad.

You still seem to be implying that he was judged unfairly. I disagree with this.

Should 10 of the 12 people be black? Would that make you feel better?

Let say the were able to get one black person on the jury (which would not meet your narrow definition of broad), do you think the outcome would be different?

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Here is what I don't understand about this thread. Where did the lawyer "slur" mormons?

If that is considered a slur we all need to develop some thicker skin.

By the fact that he implied the reason he did not get a fair trial is because a bunch of Mormons were on the jury. Or that if he were Mormon his out come would be different. Either way there is an assumption that Mormons are bigots and that the judging was unfair. Why else would he be asking to have it tried in a different venue? Can you answer that?

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Looks like a narrow definition of broad.

You still seem to be implying that he was judged unfairly. I disagree with this.

Should 10 of the 12 people be black? Would that make you feel better?

Let say the were able to get one black person on the jury (which would not meet your narrow definition of broad), do you think the outcome would be different?

What is my definition of broad?

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By the fact that he implied the reason he did not get a fair trial is because a bunch of Mormons were on the jury. Or that if he were Mormon his out come would be different. Either way there is an assumption that Mormons are bigots and that the judging was unfair. Why else would he be asking to have it tried in a different venue? Can you answer that?

I think he implied that he would like to see a more lenient sentance for his client. That is it. There was no slur there (unless you count the imaginary kind)

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What is my definition of broad?

You tell me, you seemed to have implied it in a narrow sense. only 1.09% of the population is black.

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I think he implied that he would like to see a more lenient sentance for his client. That is it. There was no slur there (unless you count the imaginary kind)

You are really straining to not see this. He wanted a more lenient sentence because he was tried by a bunch of Mormons. If there was only not so many bigoted Mormons on the jury (hence the reason for a different venue.) then he would have gotten a more fair sentence.

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You tell me, you seemed to have implied it in a narrow sense. only 1.09% of the population is black.

You didn't imply but you stated that 1 black person on a jury would not meet my definition of broad. That is incorrect. My definition of broad (I don't know the legal definition) would not require any black people on the jury. It would require a cross-section of backgrounds. I have no idea who was on the jury. For alll I know it was 12 black non-mormons or maybe 6 white protestants, 5 Mormon Bishops, and 1 Hispanic recluse Billionaire.

My point is that I don't think it is an unreasonable argument for the lawyer to try and that it is ridiculous for Mormons to consider it a slur or an insult to their religion.

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You are really straining to not see this. He wanted a more lenient sentence because he was tried by a bunch of Mormons. If there was only not so many bigoted Mormons on the jury (hence the reason for a different venue.) then he would have gotten a more fair sentence.

You used the term bigoted not the lawyer. Should all white people in Davis County be offended because he "slurred" white people.

This isn't a new legal argument. Joseph Smith appealed for a change of venue. Does that mean he "slurred" everyone in Davies County? I don't think so. Now I don't believe the situation in Davis County is in anyway comparable to the JS trial but the legal manuevering is the same.

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Wait.. so you think that people in Davis County are religious and racial bigots?

It seems totally unreasonable and the dude offered 0 evidence of bigotry. Just asserted it like you.

Please demonstrate that "it is just the reality of Utah". Can you back that up. Or are you just going to go limp?

Please show me where it was stated that the people of Davis County are "religious and racial bigots".....I don't see that statement anywhere in the article. You seem to be the only one that is drawing that conclusion.

It is simply stated that "[the attorney] also criticized Houston’s counsel for not pushing to have the boy’s trial in a different venue, particularly because the boy is black and not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — which could have put him at a disadvantage with a conservative Davis County jury pool."

A quick review of the demographic profile of Davis County shows that blacks make up approximately 1% of the population, compared to a white population of 90%. Given the tight-knit fabric of the LDS religion in the vast majority of Utah communities, as well as the troubling history that the church has had regarding their views on blacks, are you surprised that a defense attorney would argue that his black, non-LDS client might not have received a fair trial by his peers in Davis County?

IMO, thou doth protest too much. It is the job of a defense attorney to poke holes in the prosecution's case. This is not a case of anyone "persecuting" the LDS as many apologists here would like to make one think. Rather, it is a standard, last-ditch effort by a defense attorney to poke holes in the prosecution's case.

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Please show me where it was stated that the people of Davis County are "religious and racial bigots".....I don't see that statement anywhere in the article. You seem to be the only one that is drawing that conclusion.

It is simply stated that "[the attorney] also criticized Houston’s counsel for not pushing to have the boy’s trial in a different venue, particularly because the boy is black and not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — which could have put him at a disadvantage with a conservative Davis County jury pool."

A quick review of the demographic profile of Davis County shows that blacks make up approximately 1% of the population, compared to a white population of 90%. Given the tight-knit fabric of the LDS religion in the vast majority of Utah communities, as well as the troubling history that the church has had regarding their views on blacks, are you surprised that a defense attorney would argue that his black, non-LDS client might not have received a fair trial by his peers in Davis County?

IMO, thou doth protest too much. It is the job of a defense attorney to poke holes in the prosecution's case. This is not a case of anyone "persecuting" the LDS as many apologists here would like to make one think. Rather, it is a standard, last-ditch effort by a defense attorney to poke holes in the prosecution's case.

So you tell me what it means when the only reason some one objects to having a jury from a certain group are only religious and racial? What do you call that?

The 2 reasons for a change of venue are: "because the boy is black"(racial)

and "not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (religious)

BTW I never claimed this is an instance of "anyone "persecuting" the LDS". Mote meet beam.

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So you tell me what it means when the only reason some one objects to having a jury from a certain group are only religious and racial? What do you call that?

The 2 reasons for a change of venue are: "because the boy is black"(racial)

and "not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (religious)

BTW I never claimed this is an instance of "anyone "persecuting" the LDS". Mote meet beam.

The only slur in this thread might be when you called the Lawyer a "tard"

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Seems like a silly fight to defend--the lawyer who wishes a change of venue due to the factors he mentions.

I don't see any reasonable purpose to even fighting this. What does race have to do with it? Does everything have to be about race? The kid murdered a lady. Race is no factor at all. Religion either. Those are just cheap tricks if you ask me.

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