How fans and juries screw it up and why they should stop

One of the highlights of the Wrestlemania Weekend is the WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Originally an awards dinner open only to WWE personnel and special invitees, the ceremony is now open to the ticket buying public. Sadly, on more than one night, the fans have decided to entertain themselves by booing inductors, starting chants during speeches, and offering a slew of moments geared towards amusing themselves or being the focal point attention for those seated near them. And it is not just Wrestlemania. I have been at numerous independent and major league wrestling shows where a set of fans take it upon themselves to become the focus of attention, taking time and attention from those actually working. So just like fans can screw up a good thing by going too far in any direction, so it is with juries apparently.

Here is a recent case out of the California Supreme Court that shows what can happen when people think they are the show and ignore the rules. In this case, you have a group of adults who are all hanging out smoking crack cocaine. Defendant had no money so he reached an agreement with one of the soon to-be- victims that she (future victim #1) would have sex with one his friends in exchange for cash, which he would then borrow for drugs. Later, in the wee hours of the morning Defendant arrives at the home where this victim was staying with others and her 1-year-old child. He came armed with a gun and after demanding drugs and money and not getting it fast enough, Defendant shot everyone. Victim #1 survived by playing dead after Defendant shot through her wrist and into her mouth. By the way, did I mention Victim #1 was holding her child and after putting the child down at Defendant’s insistence, he shot her in the back?

As you can guess, the trial jury easily convicted the Defendant. But, where the jury goofed is that they were discussing this case from the start instead of waiting for deliberations as required by law. One juror in particular repeatedly mentioned how he intended to vote while the prosecution was still presenting its case. This is a blatant disregard for the Court’s instructions and came back to bite everyone in the keister.

When lawyers discovered these facts about the jury, appeals were filed and motions went flying to set the verdict aside. The California Supreme Court emphasized how much it prefers to respect the verdicts of juries and how little it wants to reverse on cases like this. Thanks to jurors deciding to play by their own rules and make themselves the game, a hard earned conviction is lost and the expense of a new trial is in the future for the good folks in Riverside County.

I mention this not to insult juries or fans, but to point out what their role is. For fans, yes enjoy and interact, but stop trying to make the show about you as the star. The show exists to entertain many, not just you. By hijacking the show to the point of obnoxiousness (Do we really need any more of those cursed “What?” chants that can kill an interview or promo?) these fans are not involved WITH the show at all but essentially become hecklers.

As for the juries, I recall often being asked by juries, “Can we recommend they get counseling?  ” or variations on a request to DO something. But, that is not the job either unless directly instructed to do so by a judge. As frustrating as it can be, those orders and rules exist for a reason. If everyone does their job, then everything will work out better. Sure the wrestling fans will have more fun than the jurors will, but fans do not have to worry about anyone coming to overturn their Wrestlemania experiences. Juries, on the other hand, run the risk that instead of dispensing justice, they may just be wasting everyone’s time, including their own.