Friday, March 19, 2010

Jury Fatigue?

Jurors are deliberating the fate of former Pennsylvania House Democratic Whip Mike Veon and three aides for the fifth day in a Harrisburg courthouse.
The 12 jurors have been deliberating 139 separate criminal counts since Friday afternoon.
Some of the panelists are feeling the strain – one woman wiped away tears and told Judge Richard Lewis the jurors were “turning on each other” at the end of the day Wednesday.
Wes Oliver, a professor at the Widener University School of Law – says he understands the juror’s dilemma, noting they need to determine whether or not each individual defendant violated scores of different complex laws.

"First of all, you’ve just got a matter of wading through not just the evidence, but even the charging documents. You’ve got to map on the charges to the facts. And that’s a difficult task in and of itself. It’s going to take a lot of time."

Oliver also speculates the jury may be discussing whether or not campaigning on state time is a common occurrence at the Capitol and whether or not the charges are something the defendants should go to jail for.

"A lot of the crimes we’re talking about here look like business as usual, even though they technically violate crimes – or technically constitute crimes according to the statutes and the charge instruments that were given in this case."

Veon and former aides Brett Cott, Annamarie Perretta-Rosepink and Stephen Keefer are charged with theft, conspiracy and conflict of interest.

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