Streams

Sean Bell Update

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Sean Bell case is now in the hands of the judge. Nicole Bode of the New York Daily News and Michael Wilson of the New York Times give us an update.

Guests:

Nicole Bode and Michael Wilson
News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Comments [14]

COACH from MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA

.....I RETIRED FROM A BIG CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT.
WAS INVOLVED IN NO LESS THEN SEVEN SHOOTINGS.

..ALWAYS/ALWAYS WAITED UNTIL I SAW A WEAPON...

USE OF FORCE IS CLEARLY STATED - COMMON SENSE AND
SPECIAL CIRCURMSTANCES WILL SOMETIME OVER RULE,
BUT IT (C S / S C ) IS CERTAINLY NOT EVIDENT IN THIS CASE.

Apr. 21 2008 12:44 AM
David from NYC

Paulo--good points.

J--I must have missed something. Who argued that Bell, Benefield or Guzman deserved to be shot?

Apr. 15 2008 11:38 AM
J

I don't see how the history of the victims has anything to do with the case, it was the club that was under investigation at that point. It sounds to me they are arguing that Sean Bell was a "disposable man". Furthermore, to say they deserved to be shot is like saying a rape victim deserved to be raped if she flirted with a man.

Apr. 15 2008 11:35 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey


David, I agree that the prosecution seems to have failed to meet the burden of proof for reckless endangerment. I mean, they really, really should've gotten their witnesses under control. Seems to me that the witnesses saw an opportunity to get more money out of the city from the lawsuit by making themselves seem more sympathetic, but the prosecutor should've made it perfectly clear to them that this course was not in their best interest and prepped them better for trial.

But that aside, I think it would be much, much harder to argue against criminally negligent homocide.

Apr. 15 2008 11:35 AM
David from NYC

Paulo (8)--I agree with you 100% on this.

Apr. 15 2008 11:31 AM
David from NYC

#7--I agree that it appears to have been a bad move, but changing testimony, testimony claiming that shouts were heard before shots, etc. = reasonable doubt. IMO, the prosecution has failed.

Again, if I had been in the court room, I might have a different opinion. It's not good to base these decisions on media reports.

Apr. 15 2008 11:30 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

David,

I think they would've just because they would expect a judge to be more sympathetic. It has nothing to do with the knowledge of the law. In fact, knowledge of the law would probably be counter-productive without that sympathy because it opens up the possibility of finding them guilty on several lesser charges rather than a complete acquittal based on lack of evidence.

That said, I am a strong supporter of professional juries provided it's done right. I think asking people who have no law experience to make a decision on these types of things is not only unfair, it's unjust.

Apr. 15 2008 11:28 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

I think criminally negligent homocide seems to fit the bill pretty well from what I hear. I mean, I can't believe this was a competent, good faith shoot just based on the fact that (as someone pointed out) they didn't nip this in the bud right away and waited until they didn't have control of the situation, they probably didn't identify themselves properly, they didn't shout a warning for them to get their hands up when it looked like Guzman might be going for a gun, and the shear number of shots fired (one of them had to reload his gun to continue shooting after all) that makes it clear that they were grossly incompetent to the point of being criminally responsible for their actions.

Apr. 15 2008 11:25 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

Anyone have an answer for me or do u want mine?

Apr. 15 2008 11:23 AM
David from NYC

Slightly related--I recall a few years ago some small movement to establish "professional jurors." These would be people who, while certainly not lawyers, would be provided some education in law. Jury trials would then be heard by a panel drawn from this resource.

This case is interesting, partly, because it's a bench trial. I think this was a smart move by the defense. I wonder if they would have requested a bench trial if there were a pool of professional jurors.

Apr. 15 2008 11:22 AM
ab

#2

Good question

But I wonder about the wisdom of not seeking a charge related more to negligence....

Apr. 15 2008 11:18 AM
Katie from Forest Hills

10 days till a decisions. Don't forget to do your taxes, you all.

Apr. 15 2008 11:14 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

Ok...they overhear that 1 guy mentions he is going to get his gun/has a gun...WHY don't the police do something then? WHY do they wait for them to get in the car...I have my explanation...

Apr. 15 2008 11:14 AM
David from NYC

I am generally very reluctant to draw opinion on court cases based on media reports, but I have to say that media reports do suggest that the prosecution has failed to provide evidence that eliminates reasonable doubt.

Miscarriage of justice? I don't know if I'd go that far if the judge rules in favor of the police officers, but this is a tragic ending of a life that did not need to happen.

Apr. 15 2008 11:11 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.