Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The benefit of sequestering a Jury

Casey Anthony is very fortunate that the Judge who presided over her trial had the wisdom to sequester the jury -- not just take jurors from a jury pool some distance from Casey's hometown, but to sequester that jury for the duration of the trial.  If not for that, Casey Anthony would undoubtedly be en route to death row.

Unfortunately, Judge Delucchi didn't have Judge Perry's wisdom and common sense.  Delucchi pretty much laughed off the need to sequester the jury on the pretense that they would have to be sequestered on Mars to do any good.  And the DA's office had their dirty hands in the effort to not have the jury sequestered -- with pages and pages of hundreds of witnesses that it never intended to call -- oh, yes, in addition to the 175 or so it did call.  The DA's office wanted to be sure the trial would seem to take so long that no one would want to serve on the jury if it was sequestered for that long.   The only one I can think of that would have been eliminated for that reason was #8, the teamster, and with what we know of his shenanigans and manipulations during the trial, that would have been a good riddance.

Why sequester a jury?  It's just common sense in a high-profile case that commands not only the print media but the airwaves as well.  Oh, and let's not forget the Internet.  Now, jurors can avoid googling the defendant's name on the Internet, but is it reasonable to expect that not a single juror has a home page that gives headlines of current national and local news?  Such as Yahoo, Google, and other home pages thousands of people access every day to retrieve their emails.  And how can jurors totally avoid radio announcements of news bulletins about the case -- must they NEVER listen to radio during the entire trial?  Same for TV.  And what about the newspapers on display at grocery store checkout lines?  Or along the sidewalks in front of stores?  What about family and friends that know the person is on the jury?  Delucchi actually believed that giving the jurors a warning not to discuss the case, not to read or see or hear the news reports about it, would be faithfully, 100% obeyed.  That's not naivety -- that's incompetence.  That Delucchi laughed off the need to sequester the jury demonstrates more than anything else his incompetence to sit as a judge in a high-profile, capital murder case.  Whatever virtue he brought to the bench during his many years of service certainly had vanished by the time he took over Scott's trial.

Surely no one that has followed the Anthony case can deny the immense emotional and financial investment the media has made in this case.  Just look at the reactions -- Nancy Grace is beside herself.  Just imagine, a jury had the audacity to not ask her opinion, but to make a determination based on the evidence as presented during the trial!  What is the world coming to?

What would jurors have been exposed to had they not been sequestered?  I didn't watch much of the news coverage -- I've long since lost the ability to stomach such incompetence and malfeasance passed on as "news" -- but I did catch one cable show about the case, and noted that a body language expert was explaining why George Anthony was telling the truth, and Casey Anthony was guilty.  And of course, the derision has already begun -- the jurors called idiots who believe the earth is flat.

Let's not forget that in Scott's trial during jury deliberations, the media were so concerned that Scott would be acquitted, or have a hung jury, that they provided lengthy discussions on the evidence the jury didn't see, just to be sure America knew an acquittal or a hung jury was the WRONG verdict.

Sequestering a jury in a high-profile case is a NO-BRAINER.  Can I say it any more plainly?  How about, DUH!


Burkey said...

DUH!!! Great post.

I can't bear this kind of show, so I didn't watch. I mean, you can't help out of the corner of your eye seeing what's going down, and people talk about it (ugh).

Sometimes common sense has such clarity, though, that all the efforts of charlatans to complicate things is shown to be, very simply, if you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull. Wait, have I heard that somewhere before?

Sometimes it's really just real simple. Like you said.

tees said...

Fantastic post, as always! Do you think that this will become part of the reason for appeal? I don't know much about the appeals process but it would certainly seem to me that this a significant reason, if not the main reason that Scotts conviction be overturned! I've said this before, and I say again, I believe whole heartedly that you should be a member of the appelate team! Had you been from the beginning, as well as Burkey, I don't think Scott would have been convicted, let alone sitting on death row! Well done Marlene! As always!

Burkey said...

I gotta say--I came late to the Peterson case. My blog really works from Marlene's work and the work of others who were involved with this case and have paid attention and been physically on the scene from the beginning. The situation makes me nuts--along with other situations in the world that I somehow also can't seem to keep from making me nuts. "Detachment" is what fellow "professionals" preach to me and I can't quite get there.

But whatever bombastic commentary I might be unloading on my own blog from time to time, it's important to point out that Marlene, Matt Dalton, the Poetic Justice blogger (whatever his name is--Vance Holmes?) and others have done a lot more to put the truth about Peterson's case front and center. My contribution is mainly rehashing/analysis and not so much the active research and leg work that people like Marlene and Matt have done.

Just felt I should make that point---considering how few attorneys there are in CA who can handle death penalty appeals (I've seen it put as low as 100) I would guess Peterson's attorneys could use all the help they can get. I hope they are taking advantage of these online publications and of the obvious problems with the case as outlined (unintentionally) in "For Laci"--where Laci's mother's side of the story reveals just how poorly the Petersons were treated from the very beginning.

Marlene's PCW-SII blog is a particularly important catalogue/library of facts, issues and testimony surrounding the case, and the questions that should be answered.

I would encourage you and anyone else interested to talk/discuss this case with people. There is a lot of interest right now because of that other case (Florida, so far away, and so unrelated to Peterson's case except for, as far as I can tell, the fervor--the creepy certainty about Anthony's guilt).

Burkey said...


When I tell people about the Aponte tape, you should see their faces. When I tell them about the other cassette tape that the Modesto PD lost--the tape found by CHP officer John French upon which he stated, in a police report, that someone had recorded themselves describing kidnapping someone and taking them to a reservoir---"almost sounded like he said Laci," French wrote in the police report---then they really start listening. (Dalton, p 102)

The facts speaking for Peterson's innocence are simple and powerful, no matter how little coverage they get in the snooze. Oops, just regressed back to junior high there for a minute. I mean the news.

The incredible distortion of facts by the media is only one issue with the Peterson case. The other is the frontier justice that seems to be really bothering some Californians, while others assume that this is just how it's supposed to be. It's not just about Peterson--it's about all of us. It's about that tattered piece of paper called the Constitution that's been blowing in the wind for decades now--maybe a century, or even more. Held together here and there by good people with paper clips and spit and pure will, but maybe less so than we even realize. We can sit here and say all this doesn't affect us---but it does. We are all in this together. The Petersons are our neighbors. They are clearly upstanding people who are being subjected to the worst possible punishment that law-abiding citizens can undergo--the Two Minutes Hate that goes on, and on, and on, and never ends, toward those the Establishment (there's a 60's word for ya, and I was barely even born then) chooses to demonize. This is a terrible crime and it is in progress right now, as Peterson sits on death row with over 700---700!!!! people in the Q.

The temptation is to be resigned. And well-meaning friends will even say it's better to be resigned because it will be less stress, leading to lower cholesterol, better sleep, and blah, blah, de blah blah blah blah blah.

But a still small voice might remind you, ask not for whom the bell tolls. Remember? It tolls for all of us. It tolls for thee.