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Re: [dvd-discuss] [OT] elcomsoft/sklyarov jury denied text of law?

David, I agree with you; except that I'm not willing to rely on an 
ambiguous news report to conclude that the judge only answered questions.

What the story does not say is whether the jurors were given written copies 
of the jury instructions.  In federal court it is typical practice (though 
not mandatory) that the judge give the jury the instructions in writing, 
their own set to take into the deliberation room.[1]  As the jury needed to 
decide whether ElcomSoft violated DMCA, the jury instructions (whether 
given orally or in writing) necessarily would have included the precise 
language of the relevant portions of DMCA.

So, if the judge gave the jury the instructions in writing, then the judge 
in fact did what you suggest; if the judge gave the jury instructions only 
orally, then I would be troubled also.

[1] As a general rule, the more complex the case, the more likely the judge 
will give the jury a full written set of the jury instructions.  Here, the 
facts were nor complex, but the law which had to be applied to the facts is.

At 06:08 AM 12/19/2002 +0000, David Wagner wrote:
>James S. Tyre wrote:
> >My guess (and it is only that, I have no special info) is that there is
> >more to the story than the blurb in the Wired piece, "The jury asked U.S.
> >District Court Judge Ronald Whyte for a full copy of the DMCA to assist in
> >their decision-making. But he declined to provide a copy of the document,
> >which is over 100 pages long.  Instead, Whyte said he would answer specific
> >questions jurors had about portions of the law they must consider in
> >determining ElcomSoft's guilt or
> >innocence."  http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,56853,00.html
> >If I were the judge, I'm not sure that I would give the jury "a full copy
> >of the DMCA", if, in fact, that is what the jury really requested.  Using
> >an extreme analogy, it would be akin to giving the jury a full copy of the
> >Internal Revenue Code when the sole charge against the hypothetical
> >defendant is tax fraud by virtue of claiming non-existent charitable
> >deductions.
>That may be an excuse not to give the whole law to the jurors (though how
>much do 100 page of copies really cost?  $5?), but the right response
>would then be to give the jury a copy of the appropriate segments of
>the law, rather than insisting on only answering specific questions.
>If the newspaper article was correct, it gives the impression that the
>judge didn't trust the jury to come to a thoughtful decision, which
>leaves a bad taste in one's mouth.

James S. Tyre                               mailto:jstyre@jstyre.com
Law Offices of James S. Tyre          310-839-4114/310-839-4602(fax)
10736 Jefferson Blvd., #512               Culver City, CA 90230-4969
Co-founder, The Censorware Project             http://censorware.net