A review of recent high-profile jury deliberations

August 5, 2010 4:40:32 PM PDT
It has now been one week since the corruption trial of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich went to the jury. Once again they have gone home without reaching a verdict.

ABC7's Paul Meincke took a look at how other juries have handled similar cases.

For the case to be in the jury's hands for seven days - and likely more - is not unusual when you look at other public corruption cases that have preceded this one.

The initial jury in the case of former Governor George Ryan had deliberated for eight days when the Tribune revealed that two jurors hadn't fully answered criminal background information. The two were removed and replaced, and the reconstituted jury deliberated another 11 days before finding the former Governor guilty on all counts.

The jury in the trial of Blagojevich friend and fundraiser Tony Rezko worked for 13 days before finding the political fixer guilty on 16 of he 24 counts against him.

Former Cicero Town President Betty Loren Maltese was convicted on all charges after 11 days and Ryan confidant Scott Fawell after six days.

The conviction rate in federal court is over 90 percent, but the government doesn't win them all.

Former alderman and state rep Miguel Santiago was accused of ghost payrolling, but was found not guilty on all charges in January of 99, and two years earlier ex alderman Ray Frias was the only acquittal in the government's Silver Shovel case.

The Blagojevich defense team would like to think that longer deliberations bode well for their clients, but they acknowledge that's not always the case.

"Obviously they're very concerned. They're nervous the governor strongly believes he's innocent. His attorneys all believe he's innocent. We hope and expect the jury will find him not guilty," said Sheldon Sorosky, Blagojevich attorney.

"You can speculate all day, I don't think there's too much we can say. They're in the jury room. They're deliberating. They have a duty to deliberate. There's a lot for them to go through and I think clearly they are doing that," said Lauren Kaeseberg, Blagojevich attorney.

So everyone waits while the jury works. The trial itself took Fridays off, though the jury decided when it got the case to deliberate Monday through Fridays.

There's been no formal confirmation of a schedule change for deliberations, but attorneys in the case say they're aware of a request from the jury to meet for only a half day on Friday, August 6. By its nature, that suggests deliberations will continue into next week.

The half-day session might be due to previous commitments.


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