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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

January 13, 2009

olfactory justice

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,lawyer news or ethics — David Giacalone @ 9:39 pm

The Judge Nose Best: Can a judge dismiss an unsworn juror because “her strong body odor was negatively affecting the other jurors”?  Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Nancy Staffier-Holtz thought she could, but defendant Rakeen Young objected, arguing that the juror was of his race.  Noting that she indeed noticed the smell out in the lobby, Judge Staffier-Holtz stated:

“[G]iven the strength of the body odor, I’m satisfied that the other jurors would be put at a distinct disadvantage in their efforts to concentrate.”

When Young contested the point on appeal, the Massachusetts Appeals Court agreed with the trial court judge.  In Commonwealth vs. Rakeem Young (Dkt. 07-P-146, Jan. 9, 2009), the Appeals Court explained that the trial judge had the right to dismiss a juror “in the best interests of justice.”

“We hold that the judge’s dismissal of the juror was not an abuse of her discretion. Here, the jury had not yet been sworn, and therefore, the judge had no duty to hold a hearing or find an extreme hardship. See G. L. c. 234A, § 39. The judge made sufficient findings on the record regarding her concern that the juror’s body odor would affect the ability of the other jurors to concentrate. Accordingly, the defendant’s claim fails.”

As Bob Ambrogi said at Legal Blog Watch yesterday, “The moral of the case: Justice may be blind, but it retains a healthy sense of smell.” (“The Case of the Stinky Juror,” Jan. 12, 2009)

That’s more than enough punditry for me today.  Thanks goodness, Master Issa will help by putting in his two scents:

at the edge
of a stinking well…
plum blossoms

smelling like sake
smelling like piss

on honorable Buddha’s 
honorable nose
an icicle

… by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue

Had enough of the odious olfactory theme?  Four years ago today, we introduced our readers to the pleasantly aromatic haiku professor-publisher-poet Randy Brooks, with these poems:

hands on the rail . . .
the humpback whale
doesn’t resurface

funeral procession . . .
snowflakes blowing
into the headlights

two lines in the water . . .
not a word between
father and son

grandpa drags his daybed 
to the front porch. . .
mockingbird’s songs

missing in action
she dusts off his guitar
returns it to the shelf

… by Randy Brooks – from World Haiku Review, Vintage Haiku of Randy Brooks

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