Cardell Hayes manslaughter conviction of Will Smith overturned by Supreme Court (1 Viewer)

Saint Kamara

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Someone will have to explain this one to me, because I'm lost.



In 2016, Cardell Hayes was convicted of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of retired New Orleans Saints defensive leader Will Smith. Monday, the U.S. Supreme ...
 

KaYoTiiC

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The other car with Will Smith we're familiar with was Pierre Thomas' car. You say there was a third car in his party?
Yes it was an Impala.. highly doubt they were eating Sushi with them because I can’t see either one of them liking Sushi.
 

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It's a mistrial. So the prosecution can try it again if they want to.

There is a lot going on in this thread. A tried a lot of murder trials and got convictions under the old non-unanimous law. And other laws may have changed since then, so since I don't do much criminal law anymore, here is my perhaps outdated take on unanimous juries and double jeopardy.

First the double jeopardy. Hayes was charged with second degree murder and found guilty of a lesser offense, manslaughter. The manslaughter verdict was over turned. I think double jeopardy attaches to the second degree murder charge of which he was effectively acquitted. I think they can, and will, try him again for manslaughter. DA's are political animals. We have a well liked famous Saints player killed, shot in the back. I would think the case will be tried again.

I have always been in favor of non-unanimous juries in civil and in criminal cases. Its so hard to convince 12 people of anything, regardless of the evidence. We have more people than we want to believe who think Sandy Hook was faked and that the government is run by a secret society of pedophiles. You cant win any case with one juror on the panel who thinks all news is fake when all you need is one holdout to hang a jury.

Non-unanimous juries make the job of defense attorneys much easier. All you need to one doubting Thomas on the jury. Most of the cases I tried in New Orleans involved African American victims, as well as defendants, so I never saw non-unanimous juries as being a racial thing. People of all colors want to be protected from bad guys of all colors.

What I did not know, and learned when the bill to do away with non-unanimous juries was introduced, was that the idea of non-unanimous juries was rooted in racism. I was educated by the history of this and the evidence that the concept of non unanimous juries was rooted in racism is compelling, The idea of non-unanimous juries was part of a plan to disenfranchise black jurors, I believe that to be true. That honestly never occurred to me as I tried many cases with non-unanimous juries. In thinking back on it, I think most all of my murder cases were unanimous verdicts. I did have a jury hang 11-1 on the death penalty phase with one holdout that spared the defendant the death penalty. I was not then and am not now a big fan of the death penalty, so it was not a disappointment. Even back then, unanimous juries were required for the death penalty.

I do not think non-unanimous juries in Orleans parish in recent years or so have actually disenfranchised black jurors in the way some claim, nor do I think race was an issue in the Hayes case where a black man shot a black man. Orleans parish is predominantly African American now and the jury pool is reflecting that. In the past juries might have only a couple black jurors, now there might be some majority black juries. I do not know the race composition of the jury Hayes had, I assume it was mixed. I just do not think race played a factor in his conviction, it could have, it just doesn't sound like it did.

I suppose that given the history of non-unanimous juries being rooted in racism, it was best the law changed to unanimous juries. That might save an innocent man from being convicted, something no good person wants. The law change does make it harder to convict any criminal, white or black. Since most of the victims of crime in New Orleans are black, there is an unintended consequence of the law change that impacts them, that is, that people who commit crimes against blacks will be harder to convict. It doesn't sound like much in the abstract as we discuss it here, its not abstract if the guy who killed your son or spouse walks after an 11-1 verdict to convict.

That said, we value due process greatly in our country and probably due to the way our ancestors were unfairly imprisoned before the revolutionary war, we think it better for a few guilty men to go free than one innocent man go to jail, and I get that too. So I do favor unanimous juries, but if you excuse the pun, its not as black and white an issue as it seems. One might even argue if we started seeing predominantly black juries that unanimous juries work to the benefit of white defendants.

Back to the Hayes case. I am one with great faith in juries, that almost all the juries I have ever seen take their job very seriously and try to to the right and fair thing. I thought under all the circumstances, manslaughter was the right verdict. Smith did paly a role in creating the conflict. But Hayes killed him and, in my view, had opportunities to withdraw from the situation.
 
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I know I wasn't on the jury and don't know what else I may have heard to change my opinion. But knowing what little I do know, here's how I may have thought being a juror on the case: Will Smith died leaning into his car draped over his steering wheel. Now, in the time it was taking for him to admittedly go for his own gun as he said he was, Cardell Hughes could have taken cover and/or fled the scene to his own safety in defense of his life. Instead, he shot two people multiple times both of whom were unarmed at the time.
See my edited post for clarifying statements.

Reprinted here for convenience:

Edit: my comment above isn't specific to this case, it was only in response to the generic scenario of someone being shot in the back in general is illegal. So please don't take it out of this context and apply it only to this case. Say for instance someone is turning away from you to assault someone else, shooting them in the back may be a valid option.
 
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If someone tells you they are going to get a gun after being aggressive and belligerent, you may have only moments to determine the legitimacy of the threat and defend yourself or find you have lost your life.
If I was Smith, I’d be belligerent too if someone deliberately slammed into the back of my vehicle hard enough to shatter the back glass and then got out armed and looking for a confrontation. Because that’s what all the bits of the story are leading towards being what happened.

Smith made a poor choice drinking and driving resulting in hitting Hayes’ vehicle. Hayes made a poor decision to pursue and violently ram Smith’s vehicle in retaliation. Hayes then made another poor decision to get out armed and subsequently shoot two unarmed people (one of which being in the back 7 times) and attempted to claim self defense. If it was truly an instance of self defense then Racquel Smith should not have any bullet wounds.

Those saying “sMiTh cOuLd HaVe dEeScALaTeD tHe SiTuAtiOn”, yeah well so could have Hayes, and it’d start with not chasing down and ramming the offending vehicle. Hayes was the aggressor, end of story.
 
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rsmith2783

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It does seem excessive to me.
Even if he stands his ground with his gun trained on Will....anything rather than shooting 7 or 8 times, and in the back. I just don’t see how that’s self defense.
I saw it. It appeared to be in favor of Hayes.
 

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First the double jeopardy. Hayes was charged with second degree murder and found guilty of a lesser offense, manslaughter. The manslaughter verdict was over turned. I think double jeopardy attaches to the second degree murder charge of which he was effectively acquitted. I think they can, and will, try him again for manslaughter
Thanks for your comments, stdude.
What I did not know, and learned when the bill to do away with non-unanimous juries was introduced, was that the idea of non-unanimous juries was rooted in racism. I was educated by the history of this and the evidence that the concept of non unanimous juries was rooted in racism is compelling
It surprised me when I first moved south from up north and found that juries were not unanimous here. I had never heard of such a thing or why it was so. Never occurred to me the attorneys working down here didn't know the history of it.
 
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Poison

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False, if a person wants to really commit suicide they will find a way if a gun is not available. 16 years in law enforcement has taught me that. Ever heard of suicide by cop? If someone is truly done with life there are unfortunately hundreds of ways they can end it without a gun. That's just a fact. Pills are just as quick and available and painless unfortunately.
I cited a Harvard University study which concluded that the ready availability of a lethal weapon increases the risk that people will die by suicide given it is often a spontaneous choice. You have cited your own anecdotal experience. In the premises I will prefer the former.

One's a city. One's a continent.
The whole "look at Chicago" argument is just dumb. Gun laws don't respect state lines. Illinois has more restrictive gun laws than some other states but if you are an owner of a firearm registered in another state there is no further restriction imposed on you when you travel to Illinois. Neighbouring Indiana and Wisconsin have weak gun laws. 16% of firearms in Illinois are registered in Indiana. More than half the guns in Illinois are from out of state. None of it is an example that restrictive laws do not work. Just an illustration that you need a coordinated national response: https://www.npr.org/2017/10/05/555580598/fact-check-is-chicago-proof-that-gun-laws-don-t-work
 
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Poison

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i concur

to be honest, australia is fairly lax on rural gun ownership (at least rifles etc.). i don't remember the laws on firearms in general, but australia as a whole, doesn't have nearly the issues of gun violence chicago does. in fact, you very rarely see "gun" related crimes in aussie land.

this comes from a usa and australian citizen (dual).
There is a category of gun ownership for primary producers like farmers that permits them to possess certain types of rifles for work-related purposes, but the licensing and registration regime is very thorough and basically requires you to own/manage/run a farm or a shooting range. I'm yet to see evidence that criminals are purchasing large tracts of land under the guise of being apple farmers merely in order to obtain weapons for nefarious purposes. Even then, you can't legally acquire weapons with a mechanical capacity of more than five(?) rounds I think.
 

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There is a lot going on in this thread. A tried a lot of murder trials and got convictions under the old non-unanimous law. And other laws may have changed since then, so since I don't do much criminal law anymore, here is my perhaps outdated take on unanimous juries and double jeopardy.

First the double jeopardy. Hayes was charged with second degree murder and found guilty of a lesser offense, manslaughter. The manslaughter verdict was over turned. I think double jeopardy attaches to the second degree murder charge of which he was effectively acquitted. I think they can, and will, try him again for manslaughter. DA's are political animals. We have a well liked famous Saints player killed, shot in the back. I would think the case will be tried again.

I have always been in favor of non-unanimous juries in civil and in criminal cases. Its so hard to convince 12 people of anything, regardless of the evidence. We have more people than we want to believe who think Sandy Hook was faked and that the government is run by a secret society of pedophiles. You cant win any case with one juror on the panel who thinks all news is fake when all you need is one holdout to hang a jury.

Non-unanimous juries make the job of defense attorneys much easier. All you need to one doubting Thomas on the jury. Most of the cases I tried in New Orleans involved African American victims, as well as defendants, so I never saw non-unanimous juries as being a racial thing. People of all colors want to be protected from bad guys of all colors.

What I did not know, and learned when the bill to do away with non-unanimous juries was introduced, was that the idea of non-unanimous juries was rooted in racism. I was educated by the history of this and the evidence that the concept of non unanimous juries was rooted in racism is compelling, The idea of non-unanimous juries was part of a plan to disenfranchise black jurors, I believe that to be true. That honestly never occurred to me as I tried many cases with non-unanimous juries. In thinking back on it, I think most all of my murder cases were unanimous verdicts. I did have a jury hang 11-1 on the death penalty phase with one holdout that spared the defendant the death penalty. I was not then and am not now a big fan of the death penalty, so it was not a disappointment. Even back then, unanimous juries were required for the death penalty.

I do not think non-unanimous juries in Orleans parish in recent years or so have actually disenfranchised black jurors in the way some claim, nor do I think race was an issue in the Hayes case where a black man shot a black man. Orleans parish is predominantly African American now and the jury pool is reflecting that. In the past juries might have only a couple black jurors, now there might be some majority black juries. I do not know the race composition of the jury Hayes had, I assume it was mixed. I just do not think race played a factor in his conviction, it could have, it just doesn't sound like it did.

I suppose that given the history of non-unanimous juries being rooted in racism, it was best the law changed to unanimous juries. That might save an innocent man from being convicted, something no good person wants. The law change does make it harder to convict any criminal, white or black. Since most of the victims of crime in New Orleans are black, there is an unintended consequence of the law change that impacts them, that is, that people who commit crimes against blacks will be harder to convict. It doesn't sound like much in the abstract as we discuss it here, its not abstract if the guy who killed your son or spouse walks after an 11-1 verdict to convict.

That said, we value due process greatly in our country and probably due to the way our ancestors were unfairly imprisoned before the revolutionary war, we think it better for a few guilty men to go free than one innocent man go to jail, and I get that too. So I do favor unanimous juries, but if you excuse the pun, its not as black and white an issue as it seems. One might even argue if we started seeing predominantly black juries that unanimous juries work to the benefit of white defendants.

Back to the Hayes case. I am one with great faith in juries, that almost all the juries I have ever seen take their job very seriously and try to to the right and fair thing. I thought under all the circumstances, manslaughter was the right verdict. Smith did play a role in creating the conflict. But Hayes killed him and, in my view, had opportunities to withdraw from the situation.
Nice to see you again Dude.
 

FullMonte

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I have always been in favor of non-unanimous juries in civil and in criminal cases. Its so hard to convince 12 people of anything, regardless of the evidence.
I thought that was LITERALLY the point of a unanimous jury requirement. To make sure that you got it right. If you can convince 12 people that this person is guilty, then that person is likely guilty. Even with that standard, we've still seen a significant number of people wrongly convicted. Lowering it to 10 out of 12 will simply increase the number of wrongful convictions.
 

Saintman2884

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I cited a Harvard University study which concluded that the ready availability of a lethal weapon increases the risk that people will die by suicide given it is often a spontaneous choice. You have cited your own anecdotal experience. In the premises I will prefer the former.



The whole "look at Chicago" argument is just dumb. Gun laws don't respect state lines. Illinois has more restrictive gun laws than some other states but if you are an owner of a firearm registered in another state there is no further restriction imposed on you when you travel to Illinois. Neighbouring Indiana and Wisconsin have weak gun laws. 16% of firearms in Illinois are registered in Indiana. More than half the guns in Illinois are from out of state. None of it is an example that restrictive laws do not work. Just an illustration that you need a coordinated national response: https://www.npr.org/2017/10/05/555580598/fact-check-is-chicago-proof-that-gun-laws-don-t-work
You do realize a more nationwide coordinated response might unfairly target or make millions of law-abiding Americans who are gun owners, most who have no criminal records save for speeding tickets seem barbaric.

Then there's much more deeper sociopolitical issues of Americans seeing more restrictive gun laws leading to unintended consequences of possible extremist, authoritarian regimes taking advantage of these laws to target perceived enemies and eliminate them. If you examine the history of Europe dating back to 13th century when Vatican issues papal edicts denying or forbidding peasants and even the gentry from owning warlike weapons like swords, axes, later on guns, ammunition. How many European peasant revolts with legitimate grievances or persecuted minorities like Jews in Spain, German states, Czarist Russia, or even in the Ottoman Empire, where they recieved greater toleration, began to receive severe attacks, pogroms, sometimes led by local Ottoman officials or generals in the Balkans in the late 19th century. In most, if not all of these cases, these targeted Jewish communities were helpless because of strict laws forbidding minorities or most citizens from owning weapons of any sort, other then soldiers loyal to the oppressive regimes in power.

German Peasants Revolt of 1524 was destroyed by the governing HRE princes because of highly-trained, well-armed professional soldiers or Knights that could cut down untrained, unskilled even armed peasants who cant fight off or defend against the onslaught of heavier, more intense weaponry.

Then there's the European wars of religion from mid-16th century-early 18th century in France, German states where French Protestant Hugeunots were mercilessly and methodically wiped out, most of whom were defenseless and peaceful by ruling Catholic Bourbon monarch in St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572.

Then there's the suppression of peaceful workers demonstrations like the Chartist movement in the 1830's and 1840's or how most of the liberal political revolutions of 1848 failed in numerous German states because of disunity, bad leadership, and lack of access to majority of advanced, sophisticated weaponry which the ruling, oppressive German princes, dukes, autocratic leaders did have more of.
The suppression of mostly peaceful working class unrest in early 19th century have led some historians to argue that it partly led to rise of extremist, militant, far-left Marxist parties, movements, or similar more extreme ideologies like anarchist assassinations like President William McKinley in 1901 in Buffalo at a Pan-American trade exposition.

I also get the sense that in most European countries and in Australia/New Zealand, not that most citizens of these countries, don't question their governments, or there isn't some general distrust of government in some sectors, but there's a greater sense of belief or trust that the police, military, coalition governments won't use violence to enforce controversial policies or use disproportionate force in times of severe crises or severe unrest or that if God forbid, someone does use it, they'll be held accountable.

Which in most cases, turns out to be true. In other countries, like Philippines, Hungary, or Putin's Russia, or even brutal, repressive authoritarian or Islamic theocratic regimes in Middle East like Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria or failed states like Lebanon, the situation isn't so optimistic.
 
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Poison

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You do realize a more nationwide coordinated response might unfairly target or make millions of law-abiding Americans who are gun owners, most who have no criminal records save for speeding tickets seem barbaric.

...

I also get the sense that in most European countries and in Australia/New Zealand, not that most citizens of these countries, don't question their governments, or there isn't some general distrust of government in some sectors, but there's a greater sense of belief or trust that the police, military, coalition governments won't use violence to enforce controversial policies or use disproportionate force in times of severe crises or severe unrest or that if God forbid, someone does use it, they'll be held accountable.
Thanks for the thoughtful and considered response.

This is no criticism, but the idea that the act of removing firearms which have the obvious potential to cause great harm (school shootings, the Vegas massacre et al) is described as "barbaric" probably underscores much of what follows in your post. And indeed I do not dispute much (if anything) that you have said, save for perhaps the legitimacy of the premise that any armed citizen, or indeed group of them, is genuinely going to be able to resist the "tyranny" of a federal government with the power of the world's strongest military at its disposal. In saying that, I am sure there are people who subjectively believe that to be a valid reason for gun ownership.

You are right when you say we do not have a deep-seated suspicion of government here too. Indeed, the first white settlers arrived and the laws of England as they stood were transposed to Australia at that point in time. In other words, a system of government was here before the (white) people were. Nobody seriously considered that laws targeting gun ownership were about reducing the capacity of our citizens to fight back against an oppressive government. It was a health and safety issue, it was framed as such, and the overwhelming majority accepted that the measures were appropriate.

Moreover, I accept that a legacy of sociopolitical factors combine to make gun ownership normal and generally acceptable in the face of the obvious damage it does to society. I also accept that the implementation of any buyback or voluntary hand-in scheme of the kind that saw about one-third to one-half of Australia's total gun inventory returned and destroyed after 1996 would be a far more challenging proposition, though not impossible. What I don't accept are the flawed arguments that these laws - properly and universally enforced - do not work: they do, and we are proof of it.

Never once has it crossed my mind that an altercation with a person who has merged without looking, stolen a carpark I was about to turn into, or collided with my car on the 2-3 occasions that has happened in 15+ years on the road might be armed. At worst, in a road rage incident, you run the risk of someone throwing a punch. It is absolutely inconceivable that somebody could fire seven shots into your back, as Cardell Hayes did to Will Smith. It also follows that the self-defence argument falls away when there are no guns, because using one is plainly disproportionate to any potential threat. The anxiety of people in the community is reduced. The temperature is lowered. The scope for incidents to escalate is significantly curtailed.

My initial point was merely this: America could take meaningful steps to eliminate gun violence. It could drastically reduce the number of incidents like Sandy Hook, Vegas, Columbine, the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, etc. It could introduce laws that would, over time, dramatically reduce the figure of 12.1 gun-related deaths per 100,000 people, making it by far the most dangerous first-world country in this respect.

Instead, for a variety of reasons (some of which you have concisely articulated), the country seems content to accept a trade-off where a given (and comparatively very high) number of people will die in avoidable situations so as to preserve the right of ordinary citizens to own high-powered weaponry. I also want to avoid the perception I am a random foreigner in another country arrogantly pontificating on these issues without the benefit of context: I have been to 25+ states in the US, have tailgated at SEC football games, driven through and spent lengthy periods in some of the deepest red states in the country.

Your post succinctly articulates why there is no sufficient appetite for change. I do understand these views even if I don't agree with them. What I don't agree with are disingenuous arguments in favour of the status quo which are to the effect that it is not a solvable problem.
 

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