Guts

March 30, 2007 at 12:40pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I meant to catch this one the other day. I want to applaud Edward Conradt for sticking to his guns in the Kenneth Albers murder trial in Pawnee City. His stubbornness and refusal to vote for a guilty verdict forced a mistrial in the case which, although unfortunate, isn’t the end of the world. The defendant, Patrick Schroeder, will be tried again.

It takes a tremendous amount of guts to stand up to 11 fellow jurors, and even more to acknowledge to the public that you were the lone holdout in what appeared to most people to be an open-and-shut case. Mr. Conradt had doubt and he voted accordingly. Good for him.

Not having participated in the deliberations, none of us know whether Mr. Conradt’s doubt was “reasonable”. Who knows, perhaps he just wanted to be a real life Mr. Davis. It sounds like he focused a lot on the issues surrounding the defendant’s confessions, perhaps at the expense of other, less questionable evidence. Raising an eyebrow at the prospect of a coerced confession doesn’t sound unreasonable to me. But again, I wasn’t there to see and hear all the evidence.

Generally speaking, I’m glad there are jurors out there who are willing to stand behind their reasonable doubt. I wish there were more of them, lots more. Not because I want to see potentially guilty people go free, but because I hate to see potentially innocent people go to prison. Ultimately such jurors force police and prosecutors to do a better job, from the crime scene to the trial, and that’s a win for all of us.

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The Comments

Different point of view March 30, 2007 at 2:35pm

There is “reasonable doubt” and there is standing in the way of justice.  Mr. Conradt represents the latter in this case.  What he did was just plain wrong.  A re-trial is not as simple and easy as you make it sound.  Not only is the Albers family required to endure another trial, but the subsequent retrial will have MAJOR financial ramifications on one of the poorest counties in the state.  Mr. Conradt should not be applauded.

Cedric Satterfield March 30, 2007 at 2:43pm

Each jurors conscience is their own. Your opinion of Mr. Conradt’s actions is also your own. I prefer the dissenting voice, especially when there is a human life in the balance, than some cop out Old Testemment ” he did it so he should die too, we all KNOW he’s guilty!”. Those two men in Murdock were ‘guilty’, too. I grew up in SE NE, dated someone from Pawnee in HS for two years, and graduated from Wymore. Im well aware of how murder cases affect small towns. I knew the girl in Beatrice that was killed several years ago and my sister was supoenad because she knew and was friends with the girl. I think all of you need to step back from this, at least in public and press before you find yourself on the receiving end of a libel or slander lawsuit.

Fletch March 30, 2007 at 4:00pm

I am all for everyone being free to state their opinions here. With that said, if it was your family member that had been murdered, I don’t think you’d call it guts. If there was reasonable doubt, I would think more than one person would feel that way if it was truly “reasonable” - that is the definition, isn’t it? I am all for fair trials, and I hope this one was fair - but I hate for the families on both sides that will have to endure this all over again.

Cedric Satterfield March 30, 2007 at 4:11pm

I understand that, and appreciate your candor, but what I would feel if a family member was murdered or not is not the issue here. The legal system is not about feelings. My mother died last week, so I am not immune to this families loss in a sense. But to sacrifice even one jurors opinion in the face of the other 11 for this case as irrelevent or grandstanding cheapens the civic duty that juries are resonsible for. If you want to only selectively allow jurors to vote their conscience depending on the severity of the crime or the local flavor of the jury then we may as well forgo the system all together and just start stringing these people up. There will be another trial, this kid, regardless of the confession, facts, mistruths, whatever, will never be able to live in this part of the state again no matter what the verdict.Honestly, if he had been found innocent becuase of coercsion I doubt that the townsfolk of SE NE would allow him back into their collective existence with open arms. He’s already been tried and convicted in the public opinion and probably was even before jury selection began. I don’t envy your town or the duty of the jury, but I respect the legal system,the philosophies on which jury trials are based and the idea that the one can be protected from the mob. I won’t move on that

Gene March 30, 2007 at 6:00pm

So because it’s expensive to have another trial and it’s too much anguish for whatever family to bear, Conradt should have just voted with the other eleven jurors, right? Just so everything is clean and tidy and wrapped up by 5:00 pm.

Fletch March 30, 2007 at 7:17pm

Yes, Gene, that is exactly what I was saying there. Very observant.

I guess since I wasn’t in the courtroom, I won’t comment any further. I am sure that the 11 people that did not find reasonable doubt were all wrong, and the 1 guy that did is a genius.

If the accused didn’t do it, then by no means do I want to see him put away or sentenced to death. The circumstances of the 1 vs 11 just seem quite odd, again, not having been in the courtroom or the deliberation room. That’s all I am saying.

Gene March 30, 2007 at 8:43pm

Why have twelve jurors at all then? Why not six or maybe just one?

I’d hate for a court case that you freely admit that you don’t know anything about to annoy you.

Fletch March 31, 2007 at 1:45am

Would it just be easier if we didn’t comment with thoughts? If we just all agreed with everything that Mr. Wilson posts? Should all comments just be “attaboy, Mr. Wilson!”  That would be fun.

Again, I think my point was clear. If the dude is not guilty, props to the juror for sticking to his guns. If he was guilty as sin (and I do not profess to know, and to be honest I don’t profess to care) then I hardly think, “His stubbornness and refusal to vote for a guilty verdict forced a mistrial in the case…” is a good thing.

Mr. Wilson March 31, 2007 at 1:52am

Should all comments just be “attaboy, Mr. Wilson!”

Indeed, the world would be a far better place if only that were true…

wink

Paul April 2, 2007 at 3:31pm

Jurors are supposed to conclude “beyond a reasonable doubt”.  It takes a great deal of courage to stick to your beliefs anytime, more so if you have 11 people lined up in opposition to you.  I think Conradt did his duty as he understood it, and the prosecution will need to do a better job if they expect to get a conviction in the retrial.

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