If Joe Arpaio Says Your Guilty, That's Good Enough For Us

This is kind of scary -- shoplifters denied trial by jury.  A judge seems to think its too much of a hassle to do follow that old Sixth Amendment thingie. We've gutted the rest of our constitutional protections, why not jury trial too?

An Arizona appeals court is set to issue a ruling today about whether people accused of shoplifting are entitled to a jury trial. The decision stems from a Peoria woman who got pinched for shoplifting and was wrongly denied a jury trial by a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge last year, CBS 5 (KPHO) reports.

Because the penalties for shoplifting are often relatively minimal -- probation, or community service -- the judge seemed to think calling in a jury wasn't necessary and said a jury trial for shoplifters was open for debate.

  • Rick C

    I just checked, and it doesn't say "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, unless the judge shall not want to bothered."

  • Methinks

    Okay, I agree with you. However, this woman is probably guilty if she wants a group of people who couldn't figure out how to get out of jury duty to decide her fate. That's the rule of thumb among lawyers - bench trial if you're innocent and jury trial if you're guilty.

  • Jerry

    Not surprising, they already do this in DUI cases in lots of jurisdictions and there are a whole lot more penalties associated with that. But I'm with Rick C above, all criminal prosecutions, never read anywhere about exclusions because of the amount time you might do.

  • mahtso

    I am little confused as to how Sheriff Arpaio has anything to do with the case at issue.

    Nevertheless, the 6th Amendment did not create a right to a jury trial, but rather merely preserved the existing right(s). The Arizona Constitution has one provision that mirrors the 6th A, and also one that, as the Courts interpret it, allows jury trials when the penalty is greater than 6 months (even if it is not a crime that qualified when the Az Const was adopted).

    Jerry, there are a number of cases that discuss this limit, including DUI cases in Az and the case Coyote is refering to, which is now posted at the Az Court's website. (For those who care to know: shoplifting was found to be the analog of larceny, which was eligible for a jury trial at the time the Az Const was adopted, and so, for now, you are entitled to a jury trial for shoplifitng in Az.)

  • CT_Yankee

    If intentionally violating the Constitution is treason, a bigger crime than shoplifting, the Judge should be serving more time than the woman. Isn't the normal punishment for treason "life in front of the firing squad"?

  • Henry Bowman

    CT_Yankee writes

    If intentionally violating the Constitution is treason, a bigger crime than shoplifting, the Judge should be serving more time than the woman. Isn’t the normal punishment for treason “life in front of the firing squad”?

    But if intentionally violating the U.S. Constitution was treason, we'd have to put about 400 CongressFolk and 98 Senators in jail! Then what would we do? The sheeple would be lost!

  • Dr. T

    "But if intentionally violating the U.S. Constitution was treason, we’d have to put about 400 CongressFolk and 98 Senators in jail!..."

    And President Obama, five or six of the Supreme Court Justices, and most federal judges.

  • James2

    You're a little off base here Warren, at least from a historical perspective. While the text appears clear, we've never in our history granted an absolute right to a jury trial in the country, and routinely deny them for minor offences.

  • O Bloody Hell

    > You’re a little off base here Warren, at least from a historical perspective. While the text appears clear, we’ve never in our history granted an absolute right to a jury trial in the country, and routinely deny them for minor offences.

    Mainly because people waive them, usually. Even in minor offenses, you generally have the right, if there is any chance of incarceration (which appears to be the dividing point on "criminal prosecutions"), to demand a jury trial. The state tends to try and throw the book at you, then, though, if you piss them off by doing so. And considering the number of total BS laws on the books, that's hardly trivial.

  • Tai

    What does this have to do with Arpaio?
    It's the judge who has decided this, not the Sheriff.
    The cops just bring the people they think are guilty to the court system and let them handle it from there on out. I think you're letting your dislike of Arpaio cloud your rationality.

  • PaleRider

    Arpaio is a criminal. He will be convicted of his crimes. He is NOT the Teflon Don. We are coming for you Joe and your Henchmen as well. I hope you will enjoy the Federal Pen. I know allot of people are waiting to get to have a talk with you, up close and personal and I know you won't leave happy.