Listen to JoAnn; leave the Blago jurors alone

The lone hold-out in the first Rod Blagojevich trial, JoAnn Chiakulas, recently ended her silence and made a rational, strong appeal for juror respect and independence.

Because of her refusal to convict Blagojevich on all but one count, causing a mistrial on the others, the feds are trying the ex-governor again on serious corruption charges that could send him to prison for a decade.

Blagojevich's media blitz is transparently aimed at finding  another strong-minded dissenter who could deadlock a jury again and discourage U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald from trying Blago for a third time. So, we have a prospect of another hold-out and the repeat kind of post-trial media assault on Chiakulas' personal life and privacy.

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As galling as it is to see Blago "get away" with anything, everyone ought to be mindful that jury service is a civic responsibility that very few people seek. All the jurors on the first Blago panel deserve respect, whatever their decision was. No one outside the legal process has the right to challenge their intelligence or dedication. 

It's something I said in refusing (perhaps the only pundit to do so) to criticize the O.J. Simpson jury for his acquittal. None of us has heard all the evidence and sat in the jury room for all the deliberations. Which is always the case with every jury trial.

Chiakulas' treatment could go either way as far as its impact goes on BlagoII. Perhaps, it will achieve Blago's aims, to stiffen the back of any juror that isn't convinced of Blago's guilt, becoming the one holdout to create another mistrial. Or perhaps it will backfire, scaring jurors into going with the flow to avoid public crucifixion. 

Whatever you might think of Chiakulas' decision in BlagoI, she's exactly right on the responsibilities we have to respect and accept juries' decisions.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Tags: legal, public corruption



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  • "Blagojevich's media blitz is transparently aimed at finding another strong-minded dissenter who could deadlock a jury again and discourage U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald from trying Blago for a third time."

    No. Blago's only strategy is to convince the public that a second trial would be a "waste of money" or to convince the jury pool in advance that there is no evidence against him.

    He said before the prior hung verdict on the 23 counts that the government proved him innocent. I guess they did not if he is being tried a second time.

    Rest assured that the government has the resources to try him a third time if there is another 11-1 deadlock. However, the two Adams family members couldn't afford to represent Blago pro bono for the second trial, and Sirotsky was crying about not being paid, even at the federal defender rate. So, who doesn't have the resources for a third trial.

    I just figure that you are just one of the members of the press who has bought Glenn Selig's propaganda on this matter. The only other defendant I know who has a press agent in Drew Peterson, and while the same press agent, at least Drew is locked up incommunicado.

    Given that Blago is a convict, and is facing 2 to 5 to begin with, he should already be, too.

  • I also find it EXTREMELY CURIOUS that the juror came out on the eve of jury selection, not 6 months earlier. Explain that.

  • I have to correct myself. Based on what I heard on the radio, and reflected in this Tribune story what Sheldon, Rod, Glenn, and JoAnn are trying to do is so convince the jury pool that Rod is such scum that the government will have to get a change of venue to, say, the U.S. District Court branch in Lincoln Nebraska, where they just know the defendant as an eccentric who was fired by Trump and sold pistachios for a few days.

    With that description of how jury selection went the first day, either the government will have to accept a brain dead jury here, or move the trial. You know that Sheldon isn't going to keep the former State's Attorney on the panel.

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