Patterico's Pontifications

6/7/2010

Blagojevich Jury Selection

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 11:15 am



[Guest post by DRJ]

Jury selection continues in former Governor Rod Blagojevich’s trial in Chicago. The Chicago Tribune is covering some of the interplay between the judge and the panel. This was an interesting exchange:

“Like many in the jury pool, number 174 said she had served on a jury before. That case was dismissed before a verdict was reached, but the woman indicated on a pre-trial questionnaire that she came away a little disturbed because some of the people on that jury seemed argumentative.

In questioning the woman, Zagel assured her that arguing was inherent in the jury process. “Sometimes they argue in very loud voices and sometimes they argue in quiet voice,” Zagel said. “That’s a feature of jury service.”

Zagel said he has often talked to jurors after cases and many said they were pleased with the experience. “But nobody I’ve run into says it’s like taking a long slow train ride through a beautiful countryside,” he explained.”

I get his point but my experience serving as a juror is that it’s a lot like a long slow ride.

— DRJ

17 Responses to “Blagojevich Jury Selection”

  1. But DRJ, he didn’t say it “wasn’t like a long slow ride”, he said it “wasn’t like a long slow train ride through a beautiful countryside,”

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  2. I don’t think this trial will ever make it to the jury. Either a deal will be made, or Blagojevich will have “unexpected” health problems before it can be concluded (Putin-style problems). Too much dirty laundry and no incentive for Blagojevich to keep it hidden without a deal.

    Of course, thinking like this is probably why I’m never even called for jury duty. 😉

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  3. I’m betting Blago’s only eating canned food, avoiding Russian tea shops, and has had all the aspirin removed from the house.

    luagha (5cbe06)

  4. What do we know about the prosecutor? Any evidence that he/she might want to air out all the dirty laundry? (If so, get a security detail).

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  5. Yeah, the prosecutor should get a security detail, and an MD from Philadelphia, just to make sure he/she makes it to trial.

    I wish I would get called for jury duty. I love a good argument. And I usually win. But considering what I’ve read about the quality of logical thinking on most juries it would be like a long slow train ride on the Sisyphus Express.

    In any case, I’ve been told they never pick clergy for some reason. I have no idea why. Is it the prosecutor or the defense that would want them all cut?

    Gesundheit (cfa313)

  6. My bet is on prosecutors. Clergy might be seen as too merciful.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  7. considering what I’ve read about the quality of logical thinking on most juries it would be like a long slow train ride on the Sisyphus Express – Comment by Gesundheit

    That has been my experience. That, and learning the diplomacy of how to help someone save face without acknowledging they were wrong, when they were wrong.

    That’s why I encourage people to do their jury duty and see it as a necessary public service, instead of as “just a pain”.

    I think DRJ is correct about why the prosecutor wouldn’t want clergy. I think the defense attorney thought Dr.’s would also be overly sympathetic when he let me on the jury I was on. He didn’t realize that I worked in the neighborhood in question and I routinely observed the brazenness of drug dealers there.

    I’ve asked this before, don’t remember any answer. If you are on a jury, and either lawyer makes statements that you know are not true, and you suspect the lawyer also knows they are not true but makes them anyway to mislead the jury, what do you do?

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  8. Seems like Pool Member #174 is “unclear on concept.”

    To MD: two kinds of truth:

    1) common factual knowledge “You have 11 fingers.”

    2) Logical fallacies (If…Then…)

    In either case, the lawyer is either stupid or dishonest. If stupid, pity his client and look for determining facts elsewhere. If dishonest, pity the client because you’re probably going to decide against him.

    Joseph Somsel (e5cbf5)

  9. I get his point but my experience serving as a juror is that it’s a lot like a long slow ride.

    With deliberations being the train wreck.

    RickZ (41d0ce)

  10. Comment by Joseph Somsel

    Concerning Pool Member #174- i don’t know what she really meant, but there is a difference between being arguing and ARGUING!!. Maybe she understood there would be disagreement and “arguing”, but what she experienced was a jury where there were a few very loud and “powerful” people who demanded their way or the highway rather than an appeal to reason.

    Concerning the truthfulness issue, in our situation a few people (myself included) knew the defense lawyer was making stuff up to deceive the jury, and the problem was he convinced a few folk who were of the “Let’s vote and get out of here, everyone knows he’s innocent” mindset, so within 30 seconds what should have been an easy conviction turned into a protracted discussion trying to back up and let a few people save face at the same time.

    What really bothered me was to know that someone could apparently make a practice out of willfully lying to deceive the jury and get away with it. I really don’t see how we can have any confidence in the system unless all parties are held accountable at every point along the way. Once somebody has been shown willing to deceive one jury on one thing (a major thing), I think the person should have at least a contempt of court charge or something.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  11. What do we know about the prosecutor? Any evidence that he/she might want to air out all the dirty laundry?

    You should know all you need to know about Fitzgerald and his MO by now – he doesn’t care whose ox is being gored, as long as he gets that scalp on his wall. And what no one is talking about (yet) is the 800 lb. elephant in the courtroom, and that’s Rezko. Word is that he’s been singing like a canary since his conviction, and that a lot of his information goes all the way to the top of the food chain. We’ll see what transpires.

    Dmac (3d61d9)

  12. Comment by Dmac- Thanks for the info.

    So Fitzgerald is the prosecutor? I feel about him like I do about Spitzer, at one point in time they had the reputation as being ruthless about the truth, no matter where it led. Then they became ruthless about their own importance and career.

    I would not trust Fitgerald with investigating an overdue library book after the way he played with the press and public on Scooter Libby. Even if Libby did say conflicting testimony that warranted a conviction, the way Fitzgerald played it up in court you would have thought Libby had turned in an undercover agent in Moscow to the KGB, rather than turning in nobody to no one.

    And Armitage gets away with the crime that wasn’t a crime, and Plame gets sympathy for being an “outed” secret agent who wasn’t and wasn’t.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  13. I don’t work in law. But I don’t see how Blago could settle. They already removed him from the governors office. How to compensate for that. It would be really awesome to see this roll out all the way. Names, halos, messiahs…

    Vermont Neighbor (5b9a87)

  14. I would not trust Fitgerald with investigating an overdue library book after the way he played with the press and public on Scooter Libby

    I understand the sentiment – however, he put former Governor Ryan (GOP) in jail, and that was richly deserved. This is his big chance to prove how non – partisan he is, and he’s already convicted a number of Daley cronies. If you play the zero – sum game, you realize that he would never have indicted a sitting governor if he didn’t have the goods on him, big – time.

    Dmac (3d61d9)

  15. MD in Philly,

    Prosecutors are expected to be as much bulldogs as defense attorneys. More so even, so there are special rules to rein them in. But if Fitzgerald, in his professional judgment, had a case beyond a reasonable doubt against Libby, he had no choice, ethically, but to prosecute it zealously within the bounds of the law. Which he did.

    nk (db4a41)

  16. “But if Fitzgerald, in his professional judgment, had a case beyond a reasonable doubt against Libby, he had no choice, ethically, but to prosecute it zealously within the bounds of the law. Which he did.”

    nk – Many people feel Fitzgerald went beyond the bounds of the law in representations he made to the Supreme Court in proceeding to court. Just sayin’.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  17. 16.“But if Fitzgerald, in his professional judgment, had a case beyond a reasonable doubt against Libby, he had no choice, ethically, but to prosecute it zealously within the bounds of the law. Which he did.”

    nk – Many people feel Fitzgerald went beyond the bounds of the law in representations he made to the Supreme Court in proceeding to court. Just sayin’.
    Comment by daleyrocks

    Not sure if you’re talking about the same thing I remember or not. I thought there were some statements that Fitgerald made before the jury that made it appear Libby had outed Plame, which everyone, except the jury that had been cloistered, knew by then was NOT true because it was Armitage.

    So in one way I can understand that a prosecutor with integrity must go after a perjury conviction out of principle, but I don’t think what Fitzgerald did was consistent with that as the only explanation. He allowed and furthered much of the disinformation surrounding Plame.

    Besides, I don’t trust a DOJ that let Bergler get away with such a minimum punishment. Ashcroft I have confidence in, but I know he couldn’t be looking over everyone’s shoulder. And I can only guess that prosecutors all the time make judgement calls over who to prosecute and who to plea bargain, etc., etc., where there are differences in opinion and any given case could go one way or another.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)


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