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What’s up with the jurors?

Friday, Aug 6, 2010

* The Rod Blagojevich jury has left for the weekend without a verdict. Here’s my intern Barton Lorimor’s latest report from the jury deliberations

A jury consultant said during interviews with media outlets Thursday she is not surprised the 12 decision makers in the Rod Blagojevich trial have requested Friday afternoon off.

Being on a jury in a major trial such as this can be emotionally draining, said consultant Theresa Zagnoli.

“They know they’re going to have to justify the verdict,” she said. “Not necessarily to the press, but just to their neighbors, their spouses, their families; they need to have a solid reason for why they raised their hand at a certain time.”

Make sure to watch the video


* If you’ve lost any faith in juries over the years, then make sure you watch this Chicago Tonight interview with the foreperson of Scott Fawell’s jury.

She talks about how they worked out a problem with people talking all at once (which may come from an old American Indian tradition of passing a sacred object from speaker to speaker), how the original vote went and how jurors were convinced to focus not just on the prosecution’s points but also look at the defense’s arguments. They run a Fawell clip during the interview where he makes some good points about how the jury probably wasn’t qualified, but if you’re looking for something to restore your faith in humanity a bit, watch this

* Zorn

It now appears that the Blagojevich jurors plan to deliberate into next week, and though it’s awfully hard to guess what’s going on in the jury room, conventional wisdom is that long deliberations tend to yield convictions, as the jurors, mindful of the gravity of finding a person guilty, go over everything with extreme care and work to eradicate the reasonable doubts of a few potential holdouts.

Is he right?

* Jim Nowlan looks at the real damage Rod Blagojevich has done to our state

Ex-governor Rod Blagojevich has committed “crimes” against Illinois arguably worse than those of corruption. In his six years in office, Blagojevich mismanaged the state bureaucracy into demoralized chaos and projected to the world such unpredictability, instability and general buffoonery that business has come to see the state as a questionable place, at best, in which to locate or expand. […]

Under Blagojevich, the state’s reputation as a place to do business has suffered as well. We should have a good reputation. Our business taxes are moderate overall; we are at the center of a huge market, and we have a rich transportation system. Yet according to CEO magazine, the Illinois business climate ranks 46th among the 50 states; Forbes, another business publication, says we rank 44th. Part of the reason for the abysmal ratings, I believe, is the perception that Illinois decision-makers are unpredictable and unstable. Business leaders crave predictability and stability, which helps them plan for the future.

For example, in Blagojevich’s first term, he proposed a gross receipts tax on business that would have been the largest tax increase in the state’s history. Businesses everywhere recoiled, and while the tax proposal was rejected by the legislature, businesses continue leery of doing or expanding business in a state whose leaders harbored such goofy (in their eyes) ideas.

Add to all this the surreal behavior of Blagojevich, twice elected as governor by Illinois voters, and you have a state which has become the punching bag of late night TV jokesters.

* Also, Rich Samuels has a Blagojevich flash-back video/audio page that you should browse.

* Roundup…

* Blagojevich verdict? Maybe next week

* Blagojevich jury plans early out Friday

* Blagojevich jurors on 7th day of deliberations

* Blagojevich trial stalls Jackson Jr.’s aspirations

- Posted by Rich Miller        


14 Comments
  1. - George - Friday, Aug 6, 10 @ 1:47 pm:

    GRT was in the second term.

    Duh.


  2. - Patriot - Friday, Aug 6, 10 @ 2:03 pm:

    I disagree with Zorn. Personally, I think the longer the better for Blago. I think it tends to dhow that there may be a few who think he’s innocent. I feel this way in this case especially because the defense never put on a case. Therefore jurors tend to have a lot more evidence of wrong-doing put on by the pros. Accepting that this evidence tends to lean toward guilt, I’m left to think that there may be a few who are still not swayed by the G’s case.

    In the end, I obviously have no idea but I’m really surprised to see Vegas odds sway toward guilt the longer they’re out. I would have thought the opposite.


  3. - Wensicia - Friday, Aug 6, 10 @ 2:03 pm:

    Zorn is usually right, his predictions on many of the events concerning Blagojevich have been spot on so far. I think the jury may also be struggling with finding the point where Blagojevich’s activities and conversations crossed over the line into criminal behavior on some of the charges. Or didn’t. The individual counts are one thing, you have to look at the whole picture to really understand.


  4. - Verdicto - Friday, Aug 6, 10 @ 2:08 pm:

    Fawell could’ve just had a bench trial if he didn’t think jurors were capable of comprehending
    the issues involved.


  5. - Jake L - Friday, Aug 6, 10 @ 2:10 pm:

    The George Ryan jury was out 11 days. less counts, but a longer trial. But then the defense did put on a case in that one. So, my point is, I have no idea.


  6. - PeoriaBob - Friday, Aug 6, 10 @ 2:16 pm:

    Simple explanation on why the Blago jury only working a half day on Friday morning: They(and the bailiffs) knew that Lollapalooza crowds would be an issue in the Loop today. It’s not like the jury lives in a bubble.


  7. - Mark Buerhle - Friday, Aug 6, 10 @ 2:25 pm:

    On Nowlan’s point, Blagojevich also had a clear chance in 2007 coming into his second term to ask for a moderate income tax increase that might have stemmed some of this tide. Instead, he let his delusions about running for president prevent him from asking for the revenue, and, here we are.


  8. - Justice - Friday, Aug 6, 10 @ 2:34 pm:

    I’m confident he’ll be found guilty. In fact I suspect he has already been, on many counts. Likely they are sorting through the few that may be questionable for them.


  9. - 47th Ward - Friday, Aug 6, 10 @ 2:43 pm:

    ===So, my point is, I have no idea.===

    Ditto.


  10. - Ann Rather - Friday, Aug 6, 10 @ 2:47 pm:

    To Nowlan’s article - - the state’s malaise continues even without Rod in office. It is easy to blame him, but I look to voter apathy and to a lack of interest in what goes on in Springfield (thus accountability of elected officials across the board) by the general public. The article posted the other day about cuts in Springfield reporters hits on this. I also think that rampant incumbent protection depresses voter turnout and democratic participation. There is very little competition and, again, accountability among our government leaders. That is what has been bad for our state - with or without Rod Blagojevich.


  11. - girllawyer - Friday, Aug 6, 10 @ 3:26 pm:

    Never can be certain till it’s over but in my experience juries find it easier to aquit than to convict. And dedicated responsible juries take more time to consider all the issues. Think OJ Simpson’s aquittal in 4 hours. All things considered, I think this looks better for the prosecution than the defense.


  12. - Logic not emotion - Friday, Aug 6, 10 @ 4:21 pm:

    To the business climate… I think the work comp situation also contributes towards the low Illinois rating. There does not seem to be enough investigation / enforcement to prevent fraud so businesses wind up with higher rates than appropriate as a result - if they continue to do business in Illinois. That has been a stated factor for loss of potential businesses in our community.


  13. - flabergasted - Friday, Aug 6, 10 @ 4:54 pm:

    Both Ann Rather and Logic not emotion make excellent points. We should also consider the delays in payments to its vendors,not just the Medicaid and state health insurance providers but the landlords, the businesses that supply items to the state and such. Also, what Blago started is continued by those left unaccountable in state managment.


  14. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 6, 10 @ 5:06 pm:

    Thanks for posting the interview with the foreperson. What an outstanding person! Certainly demolishes the aphorism that a jury consists of the 12 mopes who couldn’t figure out how to get out of jury duty.


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