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Blagojevich Jury Begin Deliberations

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The jury, still including the alternates, is instructed by Judge Zagel. On the right is one of the government’s evidence carts that will go into the jury room.

Tribune story here

Rod Blagojevich
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Posted in Courtroom Tagged with: , ,

The Trend Toward Anonymous Juries

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When former congressman William “Cold Cash” Jefferson stood trial in Alexandria last summer sketching the jury was not permitted.  Three decades earlier, at the bribery trial of congressman “Dapper” Dan Flood, the “jury-shot” was a standard among the images an artist was expected to turn out, along with the required wide-shot and head-shots.  What happened?

While forbidding artists to sketch the jury is not the same as juror anonymity it is part of the same trend.  Maryland and Virginia are both currently considering proposals to make all juries anonymous.

The reasons usually given for an anonymous jury are : (1) the defendant’s involvement with organized crime, (2) capacity to harm jurors, (3) interference with judicial process, (4) possibility of a severe sentence, and (5) extensive publicity that could expose jurors to harassment.

At the Oklahoma bombing trial of Timothy McVeigh a wall was built in the courtroom specifically to block the artists’ view of the jurors, which while perhaps excessive (trust us!) was understandable.

On the other hand, why the jury in the “Scooter” Libby trial was anonymous (identified by number only) escapes me.

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Historical note: the jurors in Rep. Dan Flood’s trial voted 11-1 to convict on five bribery counts and three counts of perjury.  There followed a jury tampering investigation in which the only juror to vote for acquittal failed two lie-detector tests, but no further legal action was taken.

Flood entered a guilty plea before the start of his second trial.

More about anonymous juries here.

 

Posted in Congress, Courtroom, History Tagged with: ,

Libby juror dismissed

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The Libby jury is now down to eleven not too angry men and women after one of the jurors was exposed, innocently the judge said, to outside information.

The dismissed juror, described by some as the haughty Grand Dame, is a retired curator of prints and drawings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a patrician manner and a peculiarity of speech where she slowly, enunciates, every, word, she, utters. She was also the sole juror who did not don a red, heart emblazoned tee-shirt for Valentine’s day.

The feeling among the court watchers is that deliberations may move along more expeditiously now that she is gone.

Washington Post story here.

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with: ,

Libby jurors continue to listen to tapes

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The Jury in the Lewis Libby trial are spending the whole day listening to tapes of his grand jury testimony, all eight hours of it.

Washington Post story here.

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with: ,
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