The case at Hand: One Mr. James Jones was convicted as a sex offender. Under Illinois laws, sex offenders are obliged to register when changing residence or moving from one place to reside to another for about ten or more days.
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My initial thought on the case of Mr. James Jones would be not to convict. It is so because assuming he had been convicted before, it is such a harsh decision to convict a person who has moved out from one door to a couple of doors for residence, and be convicted for it.
However, since Mr. James Jones had been convicted as a “sex offender” specifically “juvenile pimping” and that the Illinois law provides, “a convicted sex offender shall register in person with the chief of police of the municipality wherein he or she resides, and upon moving, shall likewise register no more than ten days after the move, or at any place of temporary residence, where the period of residence exceeds ten days.”
While it may be necessary to consider the defence’ side of the case where the intent of the Illinois law has not been violated, that is, to inform a neighbourhood of the presence of a sex offender in the area, it is to be noted that there can be other reasons, why such clause or law was enacted, that is, in my personal opinion, to safeguard and expedite a speedy response among the police or authority in case another offence has been committed by Mr. Jones.
Kenneth Goodpaster suggested that, “There cannot be one voice invested with the authority of the community. It’s important to introduce amateur judgment in a process that tests professional judgment. Thomas Jefferson used to argue against the professional legislator, in favor of the citizen-legislator; the jury system values the experience of the ordinary citizen.” The professional judgment may be gauged as to the purpose of the violated clause or provision of the Illinois law, and that is to register with the police officer with regards to transfer of residence. It was not indicated whether the transfer would be the same neighbourhood or not, but simply, a transfer of residence from any previous, or a movement that requires more than ten days of residence.
For the Goodpaster suggestion, the jury must look into what is very apparent, what was violated, and not go over the fence and look for the purpose of the enacting of a law, of which policy-makers and as well as law experts dwell on.
So that in the process, I would finally decide to convict such that an agreement with the Parole Officer when he signed a form indicating he understood the provisions of the law, and has been violated.
I have learned through this exercise that while there could be no apparent reason or reasons for the enactment of a law, or insertion of a clause therein, public safety at most is guarded and at the priority list.
To be a member of a jury could be a real challenge, for those who are amateurs and un-initiated. However, to be fully capable of doing a jury’s duty, once must at most times, put reservations aside in order to view the most apparent harm, or protection that must be valued and prioritized: and that is the safety and security of the public.