What do you think of the balance between jury decision making and the contribution made by legal professionals?

It has been suggested (by an American lawyer!) that the American civil justice system has a happy combination of democratic jury decision-making and the benefits that derive from professional lawyer’ and judges’ active participation. These benefits of factual issues to be decided. These benefits also come from the rational discovery, presentation, and criticism of the evidence in the case.

What do you think of the balance between jury decision making and the contribution made by legal professionals? Is the balance right or not?

And don’t worry about disagreeing with your professor’s opinions!

Once again, in your answer to this question, tell me what the legal issue presented by each subsection is, even if you are not sure how to resolve that issue. (Number your answers to the subdivisions.) If you would need more information to resolve the issue, tell me what more you would need to know.

John Washington is a police officer in the city of Hillgate, a small city of 20,000 persons in the state of Illinois. He has been on the police force for five years and is African-American. He is one of three African-American officers on a police force of thirty officers. The chief of police is James Noble, who is white.

Last month, John Washington pulled over to the side of the road a white male in his sixties, Joe Holden, during a rain storm. An examination of Holden’s driver’s license showed that Holden was driving on a license that had expired the week before.
Washington wrote a citation for driving on an expired license and told the driver: “You cant just drive off in this car because you have no valid license. You cant stay in the car because I want to be sure you wont drive off when I leave and I am keeping your car keys. You will have to walk to the gas station two miles down the road and call a cab. No, I’m not calling a cab for you: that’s not my job.” (The driver did not have a cell phone or an umbrella.)

Holden complained to Noble that Washington was rude and unsympathetic to a citizen in distress. Noble suspended Washington for a months without pay for “conduct unbecoming an officer”. Washington spoke to the local paper and said, “This wouldn’t have happened if I was white.” His quote was printed in the local newspaper.

1. Washington immediately filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court against Noble and the City alleging that this suspension was motivated solely by racial discrimination by Noble against Washington. Washington made a motion for a preliminary injunction asking that he continued to be paid during the pendency of the case with no immediate suspension. The district (trial) court denied the motion. The plaintiff (Washington) appealed and the defendant (Noble) moved to dismiss the appeal on jurisdictional grounds for lack of a final judgment. What is the probable ruling on the jurisdictional issue by the appellate court and why?
2. Noble files a counterclaim against Washington, claiming that Washington owed him $1,000 for a personal loan Noble allegedly gave to Washington during the first month Washington was on the police force. Washington moved to dismiss the counterclaim as improper joinder of issues. What is the probable ruling and why?
3. Noble files a “ Rule 14 Impleader” against the Hillgate police department’s dispatcher, John Oak, claiming that Washington wouldn’t have stopped Holden (and so eventually learned of his expired license) if he hadn’t received an erroneous communication from Oak claiming that there was an outstanding arrest warrant for Holden. Oak and Washington move to dismiss the Impleader claim against Oak. What is the likely result and why?
4. Washington includes a claim against one of his fellow officers, George Mackey, who happens to be a cousin of Holden, for personal injury for shoving Washington against a locker out of anger created by Washington’s alleged mistreatment of Holden. Mackey moves to dismiss for improper joinder of parties. What is the likely result and why?
5. Washington’s lawyer takes the deposition of a fellow officer of Washington, Rick Paul, and inquires about conversations between Paul and the lawyers for the City with regard to Noble’s attitudes toward black officers. The City’s lawyer objects that the question encroaches on the City’s attorney-clients privilege and instructs the witness not to answer. Washington’s lawyer moves to compel Paul’s answer to the question. What is the likely result and why? (Assume for this question that the City will be treated like any other corporation).
6. During Paul’s deposition, Washington’s lawyer asks Paul about statements by fellow officers to him about Noble’s attitude toward Washington’s race. The City’s lawyer objects on hearsay grounds, claiming that the conversation would not be admissible under the hearsay rule at trial. Washington’s lawyer explains that he may learn something from the testimony that may lead to admissible evidence. After Paul answers the question, the City’s lawyer moves to strike the answer from the record under the hearsay rule. What is the likely result of the motion to strike and why?
7. Washington’s complaint alleges the facts surrounding the Holden incident and then alleged: (1) Washington is African-American; (2) Noble is white; (3) Washington’s suspension was motivated solely by racial discrimination; (4) Other officers have received lower suspensions or no suspensions for conduct more serious than Washington’s. No specific examples of such other conduct by other officers was offered the complaint. Noble moves to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim under Twombley and Iqbal. What is the likely result and why?
8. Washington’s complaint seeks permanent injunctive relief against future acts of discrimination and restitution from the City of Washington’s lost wages for the month of the suspension. The city files a jury demand for the restitution claim. Washington moves to strike the jury demand. Assume that a claim for restitution of wages improperly withheld by an employer would have been treated as an action in enquiry in 1791. What is the likely result of Washington’s motion to strike the jury demand and why?
9. Assume just for this subsection that the trial judge concludes that the City is entitled to a jury trial on the lost wages claim. Several of the elements (such as the alleged discriminatory motive of the police chief) of the lost wages claim and the injunctive claim are the same. In what order should the two claims be tried and what is the effect of the first trial’s result on the issue of discriminatory motive on the second trial’s determination on that element?
10. Washington moves for class certification for a “Class of all Afro-American officers who will in the future be suspended by Chief Noble because of their race. “Noble opposes the class certification. What is the likely result and why?
11. Noble counterclaims against Washington for defamation for Washington’s statement to the local paper. Washington moves to dismiss for improper joinder of issues. What is the likely result and why?

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