* This is a fascinating insight into how the Blagojevich jury operated…
Instead of private ballot, they did a “fist to five” vote, a consensus-building technique Karin Wilson [a teacher from Palatine] suggested. If a juror raised a hand with all five fingers, that meant they were leaning strongly toward guilty. A fist was innocent. If the juror was somewhere in between, the number of fingers held up gave an indication of which way she or he was leaning.
Connie Wilson said they had about four or five separate votes on each count.
* They seemed to be intelligent, calm, rational and respectful…
“Everybody was very respectful,” Hubinek said. “When I think of how a jury should go, this is what I thought about.”
* And open-minded…
Maribel DeLeon, a juror who often smiled at the ex-governor during his testimony, said she wanted to side with Blagojevich.
The evidence, though, did not side with him.
“I’d come in thinking, ‘OK, he’s not guilty,’ and then all of a sudden I’m like, Gosh darn you, Rod! You did it again!” said DeLeon, the mother of three. “He proved himself guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. He kept saying ‘Do it.’ ‘Push it.’ ‘Get it done.’ That’s where he crossed the line.” [..]
Another described the former politician as coming across as “personable” during parts of seven days on the stand.
“It made it hard to separate that from what we actually had to do as jurors,” said Juror 103, a bartender and self-described “weekend warrior” who pursues photography on the side.
* And just…
The jury was “12 strangers” who evolved into “an amazing group of people” that should make taxpayers “proud,” the forewoman said. “They were so wanting to keep ‘innocent until proven guilty.’”
Jurors nodded in agreement as one female juror said the easiest decision was finding Blagojevich guilty of trying to peddle President Obama’s former Senate seat for his personal gain. Blagojevich’s defense lawyers contended Blagojevich’s tape-recorded comments about trading the Senate appointment for a high-powered job were just talk from a politician who liked to talk.
“Our verdict shows we did not believe it,” one juror said. She noted that Blagojevich went beyond talk because “there were several times he said, ‘Do it.’”
“There were just so many times he brought it up to people,” noted another juror.
* Watch jurors explain their verdict by clicking here. A transcript is here.
* This is a far cry from the image of juries conjured up by John Kass earlier this week…
All it takes to sway a jury is one relentless personality, first going one way, then going the other, wearing down the more agreeable and placid folks.
How do I know this?
Because I was that personality (aka “that jerk”) when I performed a rather unscientific experiment in jury dynamics many years ago. […]
And I knew that [the jury forewoman] would soon come to hate me.
On the first day of deliberations, I argued against the boy and his grasping lawyers, saying we should all know this for what it was — an insurance scam. […]
But the next day, our brief meeting wasn’t brief. I dragged it out, saying I had a change of heart, because I wondered what would happen if that little boy wanted to attend the U.S. Naval Academy and fly jets? His eye injury might prevent it. […]
In one sense I was merely airing both sides of the argument, which is what jurors are supposed to do. But I was also testing how easily a jury can be manipulated. What I did was wrong, but I was always for the kid anyway, and justice was served.
Thankfully, the Blagojevich jury wasn’t interested in conducting silly experiments.