Thursday, June 23, 2005
Now that the jury, in the trial of Richard Scrushy, has to resume deliberations "anew" because of the replacement of a juror with an alternate - - what happens next? The NY Times here, Wall Street Jrl here, and Birmingham, Alabama News here, all talk of the long process that has accompanied the deliberations. The NYTimes even includes a detailed hourly summary of the deliberation process (see here) But the effect of a new process and new individual as a part of the process is truly an unknown.
If the jury was 11-1 for a verdict and the one holdout for a particular view was the dismissed juror, then we may see some quick action. But if the votes are split further than that, this replacement may not be as consequential to a speedy resolution as some might want. (unless the juror is a master at negotiation or advocacy and can convince the others to come around to a position). Because of the secrecy of the jury process, we really will not know the full extent of what has occurred in this deliberation, until perhaps it is over. And it is possible that we may never know.
Some may not agree with the slow process of this trial and the failure to have fuller days of deliberation, but the judge's response to this criticism is important. The judge recognizes the sacrifices being made by jurors. (see here) and in doing so she is considering not merely the accused, but also the costs to everyone when the government proceeds to trial. I guess slow justice isn't super, but I'm still bothered by the lightening speed of the "other southern jury" that worked through Memorial Day and Weekend (see here).