Unless one has been on the dark side of the moon or further out in space with “Ingenuity” you’ve heard or read Representative Maxine Waters’ exhortation to protestors “to get more confrontational” if the Floyd/Chauvin jury does not render a guilty verdict. And you also likely know the judge has already stated that her comments may provide sustenance for Chauvin’s certain appeal of conviction. Certain, without regard to Waters’ inflammatory remarks.
We’re not going to rehash all that nor comment on the scientifically measured hypocrisy ratio of 78.16 to 21.84 – far right (aka the Republican mainstream) to “further left” of classic liberals like HL, in response to Waters’ most recent public disservice. We will instead comment about how this plays in and with a jury. We’ve been there in a very public and emotionally charged deliberation. Not as big as this, but what others than possibly Scopes and OJ ever has been?
Despite Judge Peter Cahill’s incessant instruction that jurors not follow media reports about the trial nor related news, there is only a tiny chance that all the jurors don’t already know what Waters said and that protestors around the country await the verdict as do National Guard units in virtually every state. That tiny chance reduces to miniscule that not at least one or two jurors have that knowledge.
One of the worst assaults on our judicial and justice system in recent years has come from the media’s relentless attempts to invade the sanctity of jury deliberations and find out who the jurors are, what was discussed, debated and fought over and who voted which way and why. This has provided the recent phenomenon of activist and celebrity jurors that speak with the press, post-verdict, and sometimes leak to them during the deliberations.
Having followed the trial closely and as one that has prosecuted, defended and been a juror at a horrible and high-profile criminal trial, we don’t believe that there is any – any possibility of acquittal here and only a very small chance that the jury will be hung. Leaving our real fear of a public hanging for a holdout juror that believes sincerely and based upon the evidence and jury charge that conviction of a lesser charge than the other 11 jurors also sincerely believe is the correct and just verdict. Leaving aside what Chauvin’s lawyers will be able to make on appeal, of Waters’ incendiary rhetoric, the first and real fear here is that the hypothetical majority “top charge” jurors may not only believe that second degree murder is not only right but necessary to spare their Minnesota community and many others from “confrontational” and violent reactions for a verdict of less than that charge. And this hopeless liberal hopes to be unduly pessimistic and wrong about this.