Blagojevich Blog: Nine Days Deliberating

Will the jury meet Friday? Blagojevich I’s jury did not meet on Fridays because of previous commitments made when it was anticipated that the trial would last much longer than it did, and we had been sitting in court only four days a week. During the trial, those members of the jury who worked would do their respective jobs Fridays; some worked on Saturdays and even Sundays. It was easy for those of use who were retired. For those out of work, it was still difficult worrying about where extra money could be made. To do one’s civic duty by serving on a long jury is a testament to citizenship.

The other day on Chicago Tonight, JoAnn, our dissenting juror, said things that I was very disappointed with. She saw the majority of men on the jury as being different than the women. She accused those of us who saw guilt in the actions of the former governor early on as seeing only black and white, while the women saw shades of gray.

In an earlier Chicago Tribune interview, she did not mention the other women of the jury as seeing shades of grey, only herself. I can only speak for myself when I say I saw every shade of color in the evidence presented during the trial. I arrived at my conclusion, not because I was convinced before all of the evidence was presented, and not because I didn’t understand what the law was, but because I used, what I thought was, a logical thought process.

There is a stark truth behind all of the banter, bravado and subterfuge of the former governor’s words. One can understand it when everything is taken as a whole and not as disparate events that are not tied together. I believe I arrived at a reasoned opinion made by weighing all of the factors given to me.

It is very easy to say things that on the surface reflect things about one’s self but in analysis reflects on the conduct of others. Because one differs in opinion with the majority, does not make that person right simply because they see a grey scale that one thinks the others do not see.

We make up our minds based on a logic that we find that works for us. One can also arrive at a correct opinion for the wrong reasons. In our judicial system, a guilty person can be acquitted and an innocent person can be found guilty. If one finds their truth in the same evidence as another person who feels the exact opposite, it is still their truth. In justifying one’s position, it is not necessary to denigrate another’s thought process.

We are all entitled to our opinions, and further, we who are in the majority may even be right — even if we are men.

Chiakulas mentioned that early on we voted and it seemed, from what she said, as if we voted on the general guilt or innocence of Blagojevich. We never did that. We always voted on each count individually.

Chiakulas said she felt pressured almost from the first. I cannot agree with that assessment; we did not pressure her. Only on one occasion was there overt pressure, and that lasted for only a very short time, as she explained to another juror why she felt the way she did as the other juror “looked into her eyes.”

I would never have allowed anyone to apply undue pressure on Ms. Chiakulas. She had sleepless nights; a few of us had sleepless nights also. It was difficult, but not as it seemed in her narrative of duress and torment from the rest of us, or at least some of us.

Evidence, evidence, and evidence. That was what concerned us. Where was, or is, the evidence that exonerates Blagojevich? To me, all of it was as ambiguous as Rod’s Chicago Tribune “layoff” explanation.

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