Blago jurors to continue deliberations Monday

August 8, 2010 8:47:09 PM PDT
Is this the week? Will the jury return a verdict in the Rod Blagojevich corruption trial as soon as Monday? These are the questions many following the case were asking Sunday evening. Monday will be the ninth day of deliberations.

The jury took a half-day on Friday and hasn't had any communication with the judge in days.

The early departure on Friday might simply have been an accommodation to a juror or jurors who had made previous plans. After all, the trial itself took Fridays off.

Or, maybe the jury has made considerable progress, and they wanted a longer weekend to think things over before re-starting on Monday.

The jury in the George Ryan trial actually reached its decision on a Friday, and waited over a holiday weekend before announcing its verdict the following Monday. The Ryan jury had lots of issues, lots of notes. The Blagojevich jury has sent no signals in the last week.

"I'm just suspecting after they've had a couple days of clearing their heads of stuff they've been thinking about probably way too much, perhaps things will look more clearly on Monday and they may be able to resolve some of the things they had difficulty doing before," said Bill Grimes, trial consultant.

There are bound to be differences of opinion in a case as legally complex as USA versus Blagojevich, but only the jurors know if differences have become difficulties in reaching judgment.

There is a school of thought that this jury is very focused, very disciplined and the absence of a single note or question from the jury for an entire week of deliberations suggests they're moving toward verdicts.

"I think it shows they are unusually productive. They're making progress -- it's proceeding as they wish -- whatever that is we don't know, but they're working well. So, they don't need the court," said Ron Safer, former Asst. U.S. attorney.

By way of their professions, the Blagojevich jury would appear to be quite disciplined: three older, male military veterans, one of whom is the foreman, a public school teacher, two jurors with knowledge of accounting, two with some knowledge of the law through their work. So, there is quite likely a lot of attention to detail.

But those who've served on juries know there are human factors at work, too.

"We judge on what we would do. That's what I found. If a person is 'lassiez faire,' who cares, they have the same attitude, 'Well, he didn't do anything wrong.' So they'll find him innocent. They may hold out, too," said Lynda Filipello, a former jury forewoman.

The length of time this jury has been out is very much in keeping with other public corruption cases over the last couple decades. Should this jury continue well into this week -- and the public hears nothing at all-- well, then the questions will really start.

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