Monday, February 26, 2007

The one standing out

Perhaps you heard about the Scooter Libby jury and their matching red shirts... well, nearly all of them wore the shirts.

As noted by David Shuster of MSNBC and published by Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake:
When the jurors came in 45 minutes ago for the final evidence presented in this case, 13 of the 14 jurors (12 jurors and 2 alternates) were wearing bright red t-shirts with a large white heart on the front. The shirts appeared to be new… The one juror not wearing a red shirt was an elderly woman who works as an art curator. A man on the jury, who is a retired school teacher originally from North Carolina, then read a statement to the court. The man said the jury wanted to "thank the clerks, marshals, and judge for all of the accommodations made" for the jury during this trial. The juror then said the entire jury understands their responsibilities in this case and that their "unanimity may now go no further." "But on behalf of the jury," said this man, "we want to wish everybody a Happy Valentine's day."

To say this moment was awkward would be an understatement. All of the attorneys, and the judge, appeared on the edge of their seats. At the conclusion of the juror's statement, the attorneys nervously and politely clapped…and the judge sheepishly thanked the panel for being "a very attentive jury." Then, the judge moved on…

What does it mean that one juror, who seemed particularly cantankerous during jury selection, refused to go along with the rest and wear the bright red t-shirt? Could it be that she is the only one on the panel with any sartorial taste? Or does it mean something more serious for jury deliberations next week? The issue was noted by attorneys on both sides of the case outside in the hallway.
And then today we learn that one of the jurors had improper contact with information not presented at the trial:
A juror in the perjury trial of I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, was dismissed from the panel today after acknowledging that she had had outside contact with information related to the case.
Hmm... which one? Like that's a difficult question.
Judge Walton said the problem juror’s exposure to outside information was the result of a misunderstanding rather than intentional on her part. But he said he had no choice but to dismiss her. The woman, who now lives in Washington, was a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for decades....

Before dismissing the juror, and ruling that the 11 remaining on the panel could continue to deliberate, Judge Walton questioned them individually. He then cautioned the jurors, as he has daily over the four-week trial, to avoid contact with any case-related information from outside the courtroom.
Right. That admonition has worked so well.

You can follow Jane Hamsher and her ongoing Libby trial posts here.

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