But Ridor has a good point about needing to have a Deaf juror.
There's been a lot of furor over the Daphne Wright case. A lot of Deaf bloggers are complaining that the trial is unfair, especially the always-great MishkaZena, who here asks for native ASL users to evaluate Daphne's ASL skills and voice their opinions on her need for a CDI (certified Deaf interpreter, a Deaf person skilled at communicating with Deaf people of all language levels and usage in American Signed Language who would ensure the defendant understands everything clearly.)
For the record, I agree with them. Yes, the evidence is strongly against Ms. Wright. I think she did it, for what it is worth, although I am not there and it is not my place to judge. But irregardless of her actions, she still has the right to a fair trial and there should be a right way to do it, and I think one of these ways should be to include a Deaf person on the jury, at least! It's not just about making sure that there is a jury of peers, but also giving the jury the benefit of the information from someone inside the culture.
I admit the evidence seems strongly against Ms. Wright, but the jury is asked to sort of be detectives and sift through lots of information to the truth.
Suppose there were a trial of a Deaf man and one of the points against him was he did not call 911 for help. If there is a Deaf person on the jury he might say, well, if there was no TTY around, how could he call for help? And that's a point the jury might overlook. Deaf people don't tend to think about running to the phone immediately.Or vice-versa - a Deaf juror might be able to see a defendant signing in their native language and "catch" a lie where an interpreter would not. They could independently inform the group and the Judge if the interpreter is doing a good job. They would be able to explain certain slang phrases in ASL to other jurors better than an interpreter. For the same reason, a court SHOULD want a Deaf interpreter. The court turns this down because of 1) cost and 2) fear of giving too much support to the defendant. But it is silly because the Deaf Interpreter can be the ally of the court too and help get at the truth.
I suppose I think of having a Deaf person on the Jury as equivalent to giving the Jury its own Deaf interpreter... as well as provide the Jury with a more accurate view of the Deaf defendant, their facial and signing expressions... and any witnesses who may be Deaf... and any family members, whether Deaf or hearing...
On the other hand, you could also claim that the Deaf community is so small it's impossible for any Deaf community member to be impartial. Can you imagine?
Thoughts? Have a good weekend.
P.S. Someone asked about RSS feeds - I have no clue how to use those or post them on the website, if anyone wants to explain feel free!