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How Tainted Was This Jury?
In a courtroom with a federal judge, a dozen federal attorneys, a group of defendant, and spectators, a nervous juror entered the courtroom, separated from the other jurors, and had the courage to tell the Court that people were using improper influence in the jury room. The Court snapped at this literally shaking woman.
With uncommon bravado, she insisted that people were making decisions for other people.
Again, the Court's voice rose, saying,
"Ah! Ah! I don't want to hear it!" and sent her back into the jury room for deliberations. One might think the attorneys would be leaping, hm?
Not a peep.
At one point, another juror notified the Court that her Mercedes
Benz had been hit and damaged in the courthouse parking lot, and that she was sure the hit
and run had been committed by one of the defendants, Annette Haley, with Haley's Mercedes
Benz. Never mind that Haley had numerous outside investments; none of the other defendants except the publisher of Who's Who had ever owned a Mercedes. Yet the impression on the jury was clearly significant, more so with a juror carping in every private jury session that a rich defendant's Mercedes had hit and damaged her car, AND had denied it and "Who's going to pay for it?," and.... ... and this does not bode well.
After a few days of complaints, and notes to the Court about who she should submit her money claim to, that juror was finally released, long after her damage was done.
Is it possible for employees of a complainant to sit on the jury? The use of the plural is both intended and accurate: although the U.S. Postal Service was the de jure complainant in this case, efforts to secure jury seats for postal employees succeeded, with nary a peep from the federally-paid defense attorneys. With a sixteen-week trial, and enormous pressure from above, it is clear what their influence effected.
The jury heard days and days and more days of testimony about Bruce Gordon's egregiously lavish lifestyle and ninety-dollar socks; followed by weeks and more weeks of testimony about his financial and ethical chicanery. Talk about poisoning people with guilt by association! Not one of the defendants earned in a year what Gordon spent in a week, never spent personal time with him nor broke bread with him, yet the jury concluded that if Gordon could live this way, his employees must have been doing the same thing. Hundreds of hours of testimony focused exclusively on Gordon and his financial picture.
When several jurors mouthed literally tearful apologives to defendants and defense counsel after the end of trial, it became clear that jurors had been demonstrably usurped of their authority and lawful obligations, ergo provably against their will. The appropriate word is 'arrogate.' This case is one for the books, indeed.