Thursday, March 10, 2005

Pizza For Lunch

The jury in the Bernie Ebbers prosecution may be near a verdict, although they also asked the court to order out for Dominos pizza for lunch today because they're tired of the food from the cafeteria -- no great surprise there for those who have spent more than a day in most federal courthouses.  The jury asked the judge if they had to agree unanimously on supplemental charges related to sentencing issues that the government had added to the indictment after the Supreme Court's decision in Blakely threw the Sentencing Guidelines into question.  After Booker, those supplemental charges on sentencing factors became irrelevant, and apparently there was never a ruling on the defense motion to strike the language from the indictment as surplusage.  Judge Jones informed the jury they should ignore the supplemental charges, and denied a defense motion for a mistrial. If Ebbers is convicted, this will be one more issue to raise on appeal, largely due to the court's failure to rule on the motion in a timely manner.  The jury appears to have reached the final part of the indictment, so they may be ready to deliver a verdict -- after the pizza, of course.  See an AP story here discussing the jury's dealings with the court. (ph)

The pizza bit has definitely been noticed by more than one journalist.  See the Wall Street Journal story here.  (esp)

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