Friday, March 26, 2010

Jury Visit to Capitol...Cause for Possible Mistrial?

A juror’s blog post has lawyers calling for a mistrial in the case against a former top House Democrat and three one-time aides.
A day after the jury convicted former Beaver County State Representative Mike Veon and former staffers Brett Cott and Annamarie Perretta-Rosepink of campaigning on state time, alternate juror Jonathan Smith wrote a blog entry about his experience.
He mentioned the panelists took their “juror” badges off during lunch, and that one time they decided to tour the Capitol to seek out the room where much of the campaigning allegedly took place.
Perretta-Rosepink’s lawyer, Michael Palermo, says that may be grounds for a mistrial.

"I don’t know – let’s say, for instance, they said, well I want to go see because I want to see the proximity to Mike Veon’s office to 626 to see if it was even possible to get this done. And, you know, they find out where Veon’s office is, and somebody tells them, well 626 is upstairs. And to actually see that – now that could affect the deliberations."

Palermo says the unauthorized field trip may have been innocent but he wants Dauphin County Judge Richard Lewis to bring the jury back and ask about it.
Kevin Harley, a spokesman for Attorney General Tom Corbett, says he’s confident the verdicts will be upheld.

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