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The burden of evidence usually alternates between the prosecutor and the defendant in criminal cases. These parties have an obligation to persuade the court to decide in their favor. The burden of proof requires either party to establish, often beyond a reasonable question, that the facts they are presenting to the court are an accurate reflection of what actually happened. (Kadish, Stephen, and Rachel, 34). However, there are circumstances that may arise during a trial that call for a specific shift in the burden of evidence. In Remmer v. the United States (1954), the petitioner argued that he was presumptively prejudiced by the failure of the District Court to reveal the events that were happening behind the scenes and they had certain impacts on the ultimate judgment, thereby denied right to due process.
Supreme Court concurred with the petitioner that the District Court violated the requirements of the Due Process. Any private contacts or communications with a juror without pursuance recognized by the law culminates in presumptively prejudice (Kadish, Stephen, and Rachel, 37). The juror must be accommodated an environment that will allow them to execute their functions without any invasions to their capacities. This decision shifted the burden of proof to the government to prove that contact made with the juror of the District Court was not harmful to the defendant. The burden required the government to satisfy the Due Process that such contact had no effects on the judgment of juror. Supreme Court vacated the petitioner's conviction pending a hearing by the District Court involving all parties to determine if the incident complained of could have had never effects on the petitioner through the actions of the juror. If so, a new trial would be instituted.
In Smith v. Philips (1982), the respondent was convicted of murder by a court jury in New York. The respondent in appeal sought to vacate the conviction on the grounds the implied action of job application by the juror Dana Smith could have impacts in his judgment. Philips argued that since Smith knew that there was the probability that the trial's verdict could be used in his evaluation for the position of senior felony investigator; his verdict could have contained some elements of biases. However, the due process does not necessitate a new trial every time a juror has been found in the potentially compromising situation. Jurors cannot be always protected from every situation that can tentatively impact their vote; therefore the precautions of juror neutrality are not infallible (Walton, 47). As such, even though the Smith was the one in question, the burden of proof that his action could have impacted the vote shifted to Philips.
In United States v. Littlefield and others (1985), Littlefield had been convicted of tax-associated offenses. They prayed the Court of Appeals for Ninth circuit for a new trial. They argued that one of the jurors carried an article by Time magazine containing tax-related issues during deliberations in the jury room and was discussed by an unspecified number of jurors. Littlefield and others observed that this constituted extrinsic evidence which violated the due process. This fact shifted the burden of proof to the government to show such occurrence did not affect the jurors' impartiality. However, the government misinterpreted the Smith v. Philips ruling, in specific, the opportunity to prove actual bias as the basis of switching the burden of proof to the defendant (Allen and Alex, 18).
United States v. Walker and Powell
In case, Judge Taylor should allocate the burden of proof as one allocated to the case involving Smith v. Philips (1982) where the issue of conclusive presumption arose. This doctrine of implied bias should not be applied in cases of less extreme. In the case of Philips, the court ruled that if the court in its own discretion and according to law regards the assurances by juror of their unrelenting neutrality despite the situation, to be reliable, the court should rely on those assurances in determining if the defendant has met the burden of proving actual prejudice (Kadish, Stephen, and Rachel, 49).
In the Walker and Powell case, the district judge, in the presence of prosecution and defense counsel, questioned each juror of their state of mind to determine if their exposure to transcripts which were not admitted by the court as evidence, would have any impacts on their vote. Defense counsel was also allowed to question the jurors. Afterward, the judge ruled that the transcript would have no effects on the verdict of jurors and they consequently, delivered their judgment convicting the defendants. As the Philips case ruled, not every contact that is theoretically seen to affect juror's impartiality can actually affect their capacity. The due process implies that juror should be willing and capable to determine a matter solely based on the evidence presented (Walton, 63).
Members of pathfinder organization are governed by the organization's by-laws. It is these by-laws that dictate the members' activities as well as their conduct in line the new Hazard civil code. Even though the organization cannot be classified as a business establishment, its activity of selling candies and cookies door-to-door constitutes a business activity. This fact binds the club to the new Hazard civil code. Individuals willing to join the organization must fulfill certain requirements prescribed by the by-laws. The entity is bound to accept or reject any application as the organization deems right. Accordingly, pathfinder rejected the application of Wendel as it seemed that the applicant, although he was a junior member, his current sexuality does not conform to the requirements of the organization. The organization's by-laws do not admit gay individuals as members.
Legally, according to the New Hazard civil code, rejection of his application amounts to discrimination, Wendel sexuality does not fit into categorized elements of discrimination of the code. The code prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion, color, ancestry, disability, creed, marital status and national origin. Although the code specifies "sex" to include pregnancy, it is dumb on the one's sexuality. Hence, if Wendel decides to institute any legal proceeding against the organization, he may only succeed on the mercies of the court but according to new Hazard civil code, his sexual orientation is not categorized.
Bradley has a claim against the organization. The club purely discriminated him on the basis of his religion. The club holds that it is poised to instill right and moral values to young boys, thus it members should possess these values. However, it fails to acknowledge that these good values cannot only be gotten from certain religions. Being an atheist does not mean that one is of decayed morals and values. Instead of the organization pushing away such individuals, it should welcome so that as it enhances their values, it also improves their beliefs. In legal perspective, Pathfinder is likely to be convicted of discriminating Bradley.
Allen, Ronald J., and Alex Stein. "Evidence, probability, and the burden of proof." (2013), p.12-35
Kadish, Sanford H., Stephen J. Schulhofer, and Rachel E. Barkow. Criminal law and its processes: cases and materials. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business, 2016, p.32-90
Walton, Douglas. The burden of proof, presumption, and argumentation. Cambridge University Press, 2014, p.46-78
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