June 8, 2005
That Other Southern Jury v. Scrushy (and HealthSouth Addendum)
While the other southern jury (Senator Charles Walker) is long since over (see here) , the Scrushy case is proceeding leisurely through the week. It looks like they will only be working two days this week. (see AP Birmingham News here).
In looking back at the Walker case, a case tried by two of Atlanta's finest attorneys (Don Samuel & Ed Garland), one has to wonder was the work week too grueling for the jury. In Walker the jury worked from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., seven days a week, including holidays and Sundays. (see here) They worked, yes- Memorial Day weekend including Memorial Day. Is this fair to a jury and what happens when a jury is put under this strain? In the Walker case, the jury convicted the state senator of 127 counts. (see here).
With so much talk about uniformity in sentencing, one has to wonder if maybe the focus should be on uniformity in trials. Where is the happy medium between the Scrushy trial and Walker case. On one hand we praise the judge in Scrushy for accommodating the jurors, individuals who are giving up valuable time in their lives to assist the justice process. After all if you were a juror who had pre-paid for a vacation, to be asked to cancel it might influence your decision. But is it right that one defendant is fast tracked through trial and another is not?
Some of the forthcoming post trial issues in Walker are likely to be? (1) Can an honest services mail fraud conviction be sustained where evidence is premised on a failure of the defendant to file state-required personal financial statements, (2) The judge's reseating a juror that the defense had struck premised upon the background of the individual and the type of case involved. (3) The honest services prong of the indictment.
Addendum - Wall St. Jrl reports here that HealthSouth has "agreed to pay $100 million to settle claims brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission" and that the jury in the Scrushy case will resume deliberations on Monday of next week. (esp)
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