April 20, 2008

My jury duty war story

In VDARE.com this week, I tell the story of my time on a jury:

All this millennium, I've been banging on in VDARE.com about the links between immigration and crime families. But even I was surprised when I ended up on the jury in a trial that so perfectly exemplified what I've been saying that it sounds like I made it up.

Unlike on Law & Order, real trials are not crackerjack battles of wits. This one plodded on for a couple of weeks, but it did get more amusing when the defense went on the offense.

The defendant was an Iranian immigrant with a shaved head and a goatee. He lived in Orange County's idyllic seaside suburb of San Clemente.

Although this tax fraud trial in downtown Los Angeles was a VDARE.com column come to life, one thing I did learn was that you don't have to be a criminal mastermind to make millions in white-collar crime.

The scam was incredibly simple. Get licensed as a car dealer and buy a used car lot. Sell an old car for, say, $10,000 plus the $825 in sales tax, but send the state of California only $412.50, pocketing the other $412.50.

Repeat until rich.

Brilliant, no?

There was just one little flaw in the accused’s otherwise perfect plan: lots of other people had tried to pull this same fast one since California started collecting sales tax in 1933.

So, maybe it wasn't such a perfect plot, but … Whose scheme was it, anyway?

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My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Another unscientific measurement of immigration's effect on crime: if you go back and watch old episodes of COPS you can clearly see a huge increase in Mexican perpetrators. What's worrisome is that the criminals aren't illegal immigrants so much, they're more often the kids of illegal immigrants who can't be deported and will expect social services. White criminals are usually drunk or meth-addled rednecks while the Mexican ones are violent and organized.

COPS reruns also showcase the militarization of the police, but that's a different story.

Ryan said...

Great article! I have question about the trial: did the prosecution use ANY visual aids to explain the narrative? For years prosecutors have been complaining about the "CSI Effect," that juries expect incontrovertible evidence wrapped in a pretty package.

The obvious solution is PowerPoint! LOL

Anonymous said...

So how did you avoid getting challenged? The defense lawyer must not have been that smart or well read. Did they ask you whether you had any biases against immigrants?

David said...

Steve doesn't have any biases against immigrants. He sees them for what they are. And reports here on various aspects of them, good and ill.

Truth is not a bias. Only when falsehood enters the picture does the term "bias" acquire meaning.

Jim said...

As a retired Louisiana Prosecutor I must say thank you. The Jury system is designed to empanel the stupidest people in the community. Only a few concerned citizens and plenty of people too dumb to avoid service make up the pool of potential jurors. Then Defense attorneys are usually alert enough to reject those who actually care about their own society. I am surprised you got on the jury.
I've used powerpoint, timelines, videotaped confessions, and other aids to explain the case to the jury. But after all of that it comes down to whether anyone on the jury cares about the crime. Without a sympathetic victim, and the State of California does not ever qualify, the jury will not have the emotional response needed to vote guilty. I would have linked the car buyers as victims of the theft and played on the poverty of the "victims".

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of a (supposed) Japanese saying: "He who requests a jury trial has a weak case indeed."

Along the lines of what Jim said, I've read multiple times that juries are disproportionately composed of the lazy and dim faction of the unemployed.
Supposedly the libertarian professor Gordon Tullock has argued for a libertarian or common law case against jury trials, but I haven't read the book.

testing99 said...

Steve don't discount Law and Order. It's conditioned people to expect a neat and tidy and dramatic revelation on the witness stand.

simon newman said...

jim:
"I would have linked the car buyers as victims of the theft and played on the poverty of the "victims"

That was my reaction too - the buyers were being charged sales tax, which the company then pocketed - that makes them victims, unlike in the cash only/no sales tax charged case. I'd have thought that could have played on the jurors' sense of unfairness.

Steve Sailer said...

Jim said:

"Without a sympathetic victim, and the State of California does not ever qualify, the jury will not have the emotional response needed to vote guilty. I would have linked the car buyers as victims of the theft and played on the poverty of the "victims"."

That's an important point. To put it in the abstract terms that are easier for me to remember: Most people believe in the Golden Rule, but they don't get Kant's Categorical Imperative.

Anonymous said...

Steve,
You seem to have areal phobia for 'hairy, gold chain wearing men'.
As you say such types seem to emanate from the Levant and the Caucases, have gruff voices, high testosterone (and sex drives), are crooked in business but outstandingly succesful.
Perhaps now you will understand what the poor Russians have had to cope with for the past 200 years.

poor richard said...

How did the other jurors explain their not guilty votes?

Lots of whiterpeople (or similar: smarterpeople) hate juries, because they inject too much common sense or community values into a system that could be legalistic. They can put the brakes on ambitious prosecutors. Juries even have a right of jury nullification, which prosecutors really hate and try to hide from the public. They will boot you off a jury if you know about the right of jury nullification.

Bernie Goetz was a nebbish white (Jewish) guy who was assaulted by a gang of black youths on the NYC subway. He stood up for himself and shot them with a small gun. Prosecutor after prosecutor tried everything they could to railroad him, but the juries wouldn't have it.

I'd like to know what it was about the prosecutor's case here that went against the jurors' sensibilities. 11-1 is a pretty strong statement. Maybe it was just the Tax Man aspect, right before April 15, no less. So Steve, what reasons did the other jurors give for their votes?

nathaniel said...

When I served jury duty in L.A., one of the standard questions was the employment of the potential juror. The prosecution must have really dumb to allow a car salesman on the panel.

MensaRefugee said...

Illuminating article.

I cant get worked up about immigrants shafting the tax system though. I would even applaud them if they were consuming 'free social services'.

The government is a behemoth that virtually everyone hates now. Not feeding the monster is, per se, morally just and even patriotic!

Anonymous said...

Good job on sticking it out in the Jury room. Will there be a re-trial? Conviction rate is usually very high on those because prosecution has had a chance to "scout" the defense.

Let us know the final result.

Anonymous said...

Some years ago, I was on a jury in Texas, where the judge picks the members of the jury. The case involved a young woman who was kidnapped from the parking lot where she worked, driven out to the woods at gunpoint, raped, run over and left for dead. The cops caught the thug who committed this horrible crime, and he was convicted and given 40 years to life. The victim then filed a workman's compensation against her employer. The members of the jury included doctors, nurses, engineers and some ordinary working folks. And although you couldn't ask for a more sympathetic plaintiff, we voted not to give her anything. I was impressed.

Galactic Overlord said...

Steve, I'm surprised you didn't add the "Men with Gold Chains" label! I'm disappointed... LOL

David said...

Juries have to see someone hurting. No pain, no crime.

Makes sense.

The public in this cynical age is apt to perceive anything less than that as merely another instance of greedy lawyers horse-trading in the whirlin' world of numbers.

Some straw buyer shaved a percentage off a percentage that someone else shaved before he got it, then his accountant failed to comply with Reg. ZZZ before the disputed due date. Who gives a damn, aside from the shysters on the take who are fighting over the case?

Bring me a crying mother, or snaps of an arson victim, or a doctor-crippled child trying painfully to waddle to the stand.

Physically harmed people bawling their eyes out are the fundaments of law since the Old Testament. The rest is perceived as BS.

The public is probably right. This is a democracy, after all.

Danindc said...

Another great post/article- kind of depressing in the long term but at least I can walk around with a smug sense of knowing what's going on in this country while others are blind. I want an updated 12 Angry Men with Steve as the Fonda character. Steve- get started on that screenplay. Actually, that is a good idea- updated 12 angry men but the big climax is SURPRISE- the guy's actually guilty...no one would see that coming.

Anonymous said...

I wonder about the lack of Powerpoint, but there is another bit of software I would have thought would be used for this kind of thing, but isn't: ANalyst Notebook. It gets used a lot in drug and organized crime cases, and, from what I understand, criminal prosecutions of terrorists.

It's pretty pricey software (I'm waiting for someone to create an open source version, or for Microsoft to take over the company), but it does work well to communicate a case, especially complicated financial ones, since you can enter in the data of financial transactions and come out with a chart showing who profited from them.


Planetary Archon Mouse

Ron Guhname said...

Using General Social Survey data, I show that the immigrants do not differ from natives in the attitudes toward cheating on taxes.

http://inductivist.blogspot.com/2008/04/immigrants-and-white-collar-crime-steve.html

Anonymous said...

off topic, but when cops first aired around 1990 it featured police responding to serious crimes like murders, armed robberies and aggravated assaults. dead bodies were shown and the perps were often black.

after complaints from the usual suspects, they began filming cops in places with almost no blacks like albuquerque and portland and showing mostly comical drunk redneck/mexican domestic disputes and disorderly persons incidents rather than real crime.

i saw an interview with one of the producers of cops who stated that if they were to show 4 incidents on an episode and 48 of 50 indcidents filmed had non-white suspects, they would be sure to use the 2 incidents with white suspects every single time.

David said...

And of course "Law and Order" not only goes to the headlines to rip its stories - it often flips its stories. The real-life black perp becomes, on TV, a white perp.

Someone - was it Steve? - suggested the reason for this is white vanity: most of L&O's viewers are white, and they want to see whites as antagonists and protagonists. That it fits anti-white media agendas (most violent crimes in the real-world are likelier to be committed by blacks than by whites) is just one of those suspicious coincidences.

Simon Oliver Lockwood said...

IANAL but one possibility I can see for the prosecution letting the car salesman on the jury is that the prosecutor thought he would be likely to be upset by a competitor getting an unfair advantage by cheating. I'm not saying it was a good reason mind you ...