Mar 17, 2010

Jury's Actions Indicating A Not Guilty Verdict In Bonusgate Trial

Any good prosecutor knows that the longer a jury deliberates the more likely that a defendant will be found not guilty. Sadly by analyzing the recent actions of the jury in the latest bonusgate trial, this seems to be the path the jurors are heading down.

So I can't believe that I am actually going to say this but I predict that former House Minority Whip, Rep. Mike Veon and three former staffers will be found not guilty of the charges linking them to the use of taxpayer paid bonuses for campaign work.

You don't have to be a lawyer to figure out what is going on in the jury room. The majority of the jurors are probably voting for not guilty and a few are standing firm on their guilty vote. That is why the jury asked the Judge for more clarification on what exactly is conflict of interest and conspiracy charges.

In her article in the Philadelphia Inquirer today, Mario F. Cattabiani also reports that the stress level of the jurors who have been deliberating for a week is beginning to become overwhelming. The jurors even requested that they be allowed outside for 15 minutes of sun today. Here is a snip of just how intense things are right now.
The eight women and four men informed Dauphin County Court Judge Richard A. Lewis in the morning that they were nearing a decision on one defendant. But at day's end, three jurors appeared to have tears in their eyes.

The deliberations have been "hard for everybody," a juror told Lewis. "We're turning on each other."

Lewis urged them to approach disputes as if they were neighbors trying to work out a common dilemma. "We're aware of the strain on you, believe me," he said. "We ask that you give it your best and keep trying

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All signs are pointing to one or two jurors sticking to their guns on a guilty vote. However the jurors did indicate that they have already decided the fate of one defendant which is probably former Rep. Mike Veon who has the greater chance of being found guilty. Veon's defense of everyone was doing it and we "technically" broke the law may just have worked.

A not guilty verdict will send shock waves through the political landscape here in Pennsylvania. Many have already questioned why it took so long for Attorney General Tom Corbett's office to prosecutor after what first seemed to be overwhelming evidence that lawmakers were paying for campaign work through the use of state bonuses. Also

It is funny how the fate of Corbett's political future may be in the hands of a 12 member jury from Dauphin County.

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