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Derek Chauvin Trial

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MisterSwig
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I'd imagine Swig's objective background and conceptual framework of what's real and what's not, what's justice and what's not would make him a pretty good judge, or here a better juror than most. It's the framework that gives one a quite accurate "B.S. detector" about falsehoods and truths heard from witnesses and experts.

There's also the common fault by people of getting bogged down in "details", many irrelevant, and not integrating them, so losing sight of the bigger picture. Ultimately they are more prone to ¬backing their hunches¬ and making emotional assessments, or being influenced by glib lawyers, than holding the objective perspective in mind. 

Edited by whYNOT
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7 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Any inductive method that operates through finding essentials doesn't even require all the details

If you don't know what the essential details are, then you need to pay attention to as many details as possible and logically relate them to your question. In this case it was: what caused Floyd's death? If your bias is that the police caused Floyd's death, then you're probably going to note everything that points to that conclusion, and you're missing the most important details that point to his actual cause of death. You're not thinking in essentials. You're thinking in biased essentials.

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5 hours ago, whYNOT said:

It's the framework that gives one a quite accurate "B.S. detector" about falsehoods

That's true. When you rely on expert testimony, you need to pay attention to details that are relevant to their objectivity and honesty and trustworthiness, as well as those relevant to the charges in the case. 

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9 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

then you need to pay attention to as many details as possible and logically relate them to your question.

In the next sentence I say that paying attention is enough as far as being able to decide which facts are important. You are saying that you need to pay attention. I'm saying the same thing. But note taking in and of itself does not indicate how well anybody is paying attention, nor does it allow people to pay attention after the fact. 

9 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

If your bias is that the police caused Floyd's death, then you're probably going to note everything that points to that conclusion

This is true, which is the importance of setting the frame of your thinking before information is presented.  This would precede everything. The value of the environment is that I think it sets your frame of thinking far better than anything else.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

It should be said that the rioting started up anew towards the tail end of this trial, prompting a whole new round of curfews across Minnesota. In conjunction with the severed pig's head at the residence of one of the witnesses (etc) it seems fairly obvious what happened here.

 

Chauvin was attempting to deal with an unreasonable and uncooperative individual, who was already in the process of dying (please remember that his drug dealer feared legal liability for this). He used less force than would've been permissible under the circumstances and called an ambulance in the attempt to save Floyd's life.

Remember that our epistemic standard here is reasonable doubt. The defense did not have to prove that the balance of probability was on their side (although they seem to have done so anyway); all they had to demonstrate that the case for his guilt was not entirely airtight. The defense showed that we can't even be certain what role Chauvin played (if any at all) in the causal chain leading to Floyd's death; if we have reason to suspect that Floyd might've expired in precisely the same way, regardless of the police presence or absence, then we have reason to doubt the whole damn thing right down to the root.

And yet, in the words of Dear Leader Maxine Waters: "guilty, guilty, guilty".

 

This was a human sacrifice to appease the mob. And it didn't even work (as no form of appeasement ever does); no sooner had Chauvin's blood started drying on the altar than they found a new martyr to riot for: teenage knife fights!

That last is not hyperbole. A black teenager was just shot in the act of attempting to stab another black teenager (whose black life does not seem to matter after all) and resulted in a discussion of whether we need our police to prevent teenagers from stabbing each other.

 

I'm not sure how much track is left ahead of this crazy train.

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On 4/19/2021 at 6:11 AM, MisterSwig said:

You see, that would have been a straight answer, even though I disagree because none of the experts have said he died from a drug overdose.

Didn't the coroner state that Floyd had three or four times the lethal dose of meth and fentanyl in his blood system and that if his body had been found at home it would've been ruled a straightforward, textbook overdose?

 

I think saying that he could've gone to jail or (hopefully) the hospital or perhaps he might've died anyway is the best synopsis any of us could give to that question, given everything we now know.  This is why I find it so outrageous that the jury didn't consider there to be any reasonable doubt about manslaughter, let alone the murder charges.

It's not relevant how any of the bystanders at the scene felt about what happened.  Their collective effect on the officers' judgements isn't even relevant unless we know for sure that they were what killed Floyd.  If we can't be sure of that (and from everything we've seen I don't believe we can be) then that, being the root issue, is the only relevant factor.

If there's reasonable doubt about manslaughter then we can't even consider murder because the latter requires the former at a bare minimum.

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On 4/20/2021 at 2:35 PM, MisterSwig said:

[The prosecutor] concluded: "You were told that Mr. Floyd died because his heart was too big. You heard that testimony. And now, having seen all the evidence, having heard all the evidence, you know the truth. And the truth of the matter is that the reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin's heart was too small."

It's also rather telling that the defense wrapped up by addressing the facts and discussing how drugs and a preexisting health condition likely played a role in what happened (and specifically how the jury ought to take this into consideration) while the prosecution wrapped up by declaring in sloppy poetics that Chauvin is basically the Grinch.

The problem (if I may adopt the same rhetorical style) is not that Chauvin's heart was too small but that the mob was hungry for it.  And when forced to choose between truth and justice versus short-term security we (like the Aztecs before us) gave them what they wanted.

Isn't there some bromide about this being the land of the free because of the brave?

On 4/20/2021 at 11:35 PM, Eiuol said:

He strikes me as arguing that there are so many factors involved that we can't really know what was going on, nor can we trust the evidence that people perceive - the only perspective we can even look at is the person accused. And worse, he conflated perspective (as in the way you judge things) with perception (what you see with your eyes). 

That's precisely it.  There were too many factors involved for us to be certain how much of Floyd's death was in fact caused by Chauvin.  In light of all the evidence we saw I don't believe this can be disputed.

As you yourself noted, if any of us were asked what would've happened to Floyd if Chauvin hadn't restrained him in that way, we can't really say.  Maybe they could've gotten him to a hospital in time to save his life; maybe he would've pulled through on his own, through some stroke of blind luck; maybe he would've died in the squad car; we just don't know.  And the legal term for "we just don't know" is reasonable doubt.

It would be very interesting to compare what "reasonable doubt" meant in this case versus that of OJ Simpson.

On 4/21/2021 at 10:06 AM, Eiuol said:

It seems like the prosecution made a better case anyway, just as far as quality of argument.

How do you figure?

I know I'm fond of employing overly-flowery hyperbole myself, on occasion, but I'm not a lawyer.  That way of speaking might be fine for me but a court of law is supposed to have very rigorous rules about only speaking on what's strictly relevant and keeping one's interpretations of the facts to oneself.

I might describe the mob which was threatening those cops as a "bouquet" of something (although certainly not of "humanity") but if I did it wouldn't even constitute a legal argument, at all.

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On 4/22/2021 at 9:47 AM, Eiuol said:

Or, like, maybe they judged the evidence and came to the conclusion that he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

They could only have done so by disregarding the very evidence they were supposed to consider.

Once again - what would have happened to Floyd without Chauvin?  We know there are several distinct possibilities (with one of the major ones being death by drug overdose) but as you yourself said we just can't be certain.

This is both true and very relevant to what the jury should've done.

On 4/22/2021 at 9:47 AM, Eiuol said:

I'm not saying nothing bad would happen if he was found innocent. I'm saying that your argument amounts to distrusting all juries and that you think trial by jury is bad.

Which is why I say "I'm not sure how much track remains ahead of this crazy train".

 

If our current justice system can be distorted into a popularity contest (which seems to be precisely what happened here) then all it would take for any of our lives to be ruined would be widespread unpopularity among the lowest common denominator of our fellow countrymen.

Of all the things I personally deserve to brag about, popularity certainly has never been one of them.  And I don't think that's an uncommon trait among O'ists (or even the better thinkers of any philosophical persuasion).  The only people who would be safe in such a society are the lowest common denominators, themselves.

 

I wholeheartedly agree with @whYNOT here.  Trial by jury could soon become something that we should rationally fear.  And that should be concerning to you, too.

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On 4/22/2021 at 1:18 PM, Eiuol said:

If you want to talk about intimidation, without any evidence of people being intimidated, you are granting that every single jury is intimidated to come up with any decision other than what the mob wants. By nature, juries have to contend with what the public will think. If you want to say that some juries are intimidated, this would be fine, but then you would have to provide evidence. Not that people might have been intimated, but that they actually were. 

The previous residence of one of the witnesses was showered in pig's blood and had a severed pig's head left on its doorstep.  There was rioting in the street once again and when asked about it Maxine Waters explicitly stated that unless he was found guilty on all counts the mob needed to get "more active" and "more confrontational".  More confrontational than setting the Twin Cities on fire and beating up random pedestrians, mind you.

You might be less keenly aware of this than those of us who actually live in Minnesota; I'm not sure.  I honestly don't know how much of my local news has made it into national awareness.  But I can provide you with a rather extensive laundry list of evidence of attempted intimidation, if you'd like.

 

I do agree that you were only drawing out the implicit ideas in @whYNOT's post.  I don't think you were putting words in his mouth that didn't already belong there.  But those implicit words are also correct.

 

On 4/22/2021 at 2:47 PM, dream_weaver said:

I'm not sure what question I'm avoiding. The verdict rendered was guilty. How will discussing it with you change that?

Men can lose sight of justice (although it cannot cease to exist) but it is always in their own self-interest to retain their own awareness of it.

 

We can't change the verdict but it is still in all of our own best interests to know (and rationally know, for good reasons) what the right verdict should have been.

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On 4/23/2021 at 11:38 PM, MisterSwig said:

This trial was televised. I watched every second of it. I have a better claim than the jury. One, the jury had to remember testimony, they weren't given transcripts, whereas I could watch the testimony repeatedly on YouTube and also pause it to facilitate copious note taking. And two, statistically I'm probably more intelligent than most of those jurors, though I don't put much weight in statistics, so mostly my objective advantage comes from point one. 

And you can state what you believe to be true without any fear of having your house burned down while your self and your family are still inside.  That's probably the primary advantage we have over the actual jurors.

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1 hour ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

There were too many factors involved for us to be certain how much of Floyd's death was in fact caused by Chauvin. 

There aren't too many, and most people seemed to agree, but that's what skeptics do. They give reasons to doubt, based on sheer possibility. That was my only point.

1 hour ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

but a court of law is supposed to have very rigorous rules about only speaking on what's strictly relevant and keeping one's interpretations of the facts to oneself.

I don't think that's true, rhetoric is extremely important for persuasive speaking and lawyers understand this, but anyway, I was referring to the majority of the prosecution, not that everything I thought was good arguing.

1 hour ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

Tu quoque.

If you look carefully, I never said anything about the decisions the jurors made. I didn't at all say what decision they should have made. It's fine for us to talk about the evidence that we saw, but we can't go on to then say that the context is irrelevant - it really does matter that we weren't there. 

1 hour ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

The previous residence of one of the witnesses was showered in pig's blood and had a severed pig's head left on its doorstep. 

Fake news. I don't believe you.

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8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

Didn't the coroner state that Floyd had three or four times the lethal dose of meth and fentanyl in his blood system and that if his body had been found at home it would've been ruled a straightforward, textbook overdose?

The fentanyl was at a possibly lethal level, but the meth was at a low level. One problem is that Floyd might have developed a high tolerance for fentanyl. Also, he was not found at home. There were other known factors. The fentanyl intoxication, however, is substantial grounds for reasonable doubt.

 

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10 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Fake news. I don't believe you.

Well that's easy.

https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/derek-chauvin-trial/6990597-Former-home-of-defense-witness-in-Derek-Chauvin-trial-vandalized-with-pig’s-head-blood

It looks like that one didn't make it into national circulation (so I don't blame you for not knowing about it) but it did happen. Once again we seem to touch on the crying need for better media.

10 hours ago, Eiuol said:

It's fine for us to talk about the evidence that we saw, but we can't go on to then say that the context is irrelevant - it really does matter that we weren't there.

Every single moment of this case was broadcast nationwide. Any one of us could've taken the trouble that @MisterSwig did and watched the whole damn thing.

What relevant information, apart from that, could the Jury have had access to?

It's quite ironic that you're calling the defense's closing arguments skeptical while maintaining this position, while I find this position rank skepticism but not necessarily that of the defense. Maybe we're both wrong (although I obviously don't think so at this moment) but you must admit the symmetry is weird.

 

 

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

What relevant information, apart from that, could the Jury have had access to?

That is the question. The objection is that being in the courtroom, or being an actual juror, was some kind of advantage to discovering the truth in this case. I, however, think it was a disadvantage.

This is similar to the point Mr. Nelson made about perspective. The jurors were limited to their in-the-moment perspective, particularly regarding witness and expert testimony. The human mind can only take in and retain so much information, which limits its ability to integrate and evaluate a large body of evidence. I, however, was not limited to an in-the-moment perspective. When I became overwhelmed by the trial testimony, I could pause the proceedings, think critically about what I had heard and observed, notice fine details, and reach a greater understanding of the evidence. I could replay any confusing testimony. I wasn't in a stressed mindset, where I had to put aside confusions and push through mental fatigue or distractions. When I got confused, tired, or unfocused by other thoughts, I paused and took a break at my leisure. I was in a peak, objective mental state for nearly the whole trial. I'd call it a "free time" perspective. I could watch the live recording or rewind to history or stop and think freely about the evidence, even contemplate what the defense or prosecution might say or ask in the future. 

Edited by MisterSwig
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12 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

It looks like that one didn't make it into national circulation (so I don't blame you for not knowing about it) but it did happen. Once again we seem to touch on the crying need for better media.

I actually have more reason to think that this incident is faked, or unrelated. The house isn't near the trial, the witness doesn't live in the house, it didn't happen to others, and no connection was established. Hell, maybe the incident was legitimate but for completely different reasons, including because those people who lived in the house were the actual target. There is so much missing information. 

12 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

What relevant information, apart from that, could the Jury have had access to?

Nothing. I never was talking about the difference about evidence for the case. That's why this isn't about skepticism on my part. I'm not proposing "what if so-and-so evidence was presented? That would change everything!" I was proposing that the difference is the very way people think it's different in a courtroom, relevant contextual considerations. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/11/2021 at 2:57 PM, Eiuol said:

I actually have more reason to think that this incident is faked, or unrelated. The house isn't near the trial, the witness doesn't live in the house, it didn't happen to others, and no connection was established. Hell, maybe the incident was legitimate but for completely different reasons, including because those people who lived in the house were the actual target. There is so much missing information. 

Alright. How about the second round of race riots, the president of the United States taking a stance on what the "correct verdict" should be or Maxine Waters explicitly urging the rioters to take things up several notches if they saw anything less than "guilty, guilty, guilty"?

Now, if I'd been on the jury I would've been tempted to acquit him just to remind miss Waters that she is not the boss of me, but I also know that this is not the usual response to such pressure - particularly when there are credible threats of violence behind it.

And such threats were credible. Have you seen what the rioters did to Minneapolis last summer?

 

On 5/11/2021 at 8:02 AM, MisterSwig said:

I could watch the live recording or rewind to history or stop and think freely about the evidence, even contemplate what the defense or prosecution might say or ask in the future. 

And speak freely about your conclusions without fear.

That trial should not have been conducted in Minneapolis and something should've been done for the anonymity of the jurors.

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