An Oregon jury has reached a verdict acquitting the occupiers of the Malheur wildlife refuge (earlier) of conspiracy charges. In seeking to explain this outcome, it may help to know about a detailed letter from a juror in the case, published in The Oregonian. Obviously, one juror’s view is not definitive in such a case.
I am indebted to reader J.B. for the following rough paraphrase of some themes and highlights of the juror’s letter:
* We didn’t intend to affirm or endorse the defendants’ views.
* We were certainly convinced that the defendants’ actions caused a lot of real-world disruption and damage.
* We don’t want to encourage other people to do stuff like that and regret the possibility that the acquittal might do that.
* The government had a complicated theory that, according to the law as the judge explained it to us, made the defendants’ subjective intentions more significant than the actual effects of their actions.
* We didn’t think the evidence about the defendants’ subjective intentions was strong enough to meet the legal standard for conviction under the government’s complicated theory as the judge explained the law to us.
* We’re frankly kind of puzzled as to why the government didn’t charge less complicated crimes like criminal trespass that might have been easier to get a conviction for.
All of which is not short enough to fit on a bumper sticker. The report by the Oregonian’s Maxine Bernstein, again, is here.