Jeffrey Abramson Reflects on the Jury Verdicts in the Harvey Weinstein Case
The author of We the Jury: The Jury System and the Ideal of Democracy and professor at the University of Texas School of Law just published an op-ed piece in the LA Times. He there asserts the jury’s finding of guilt on assault charges but acquittal on predatory rape demonstrates the wisdom of jury deliberations.
Juror in Roger Stone Case Speaks Out in Defense of the Jury and Its Foreperson While the Trial Judge Calls Back Jurors for Inquiry
Seth Cousins, a member of the jury that convicted Roger Stone of seven felonies, this week wrote a passionate op-ed in the Washington Post defending the jury and its foreperson against attacks made by Stone’s defense team and others. On the day Cousins’s piece was published, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson summoned the former jurors back to court for individual questioning by the trial lawyers with respect to defense allegations of misconduct. All of this was preceded by a defense motion seeking Judge Jackson’s recusal because she praised the jury as a whole during her sentencing allocution. Could these intricacies become a casebook lesson in jury trial management?
Screen Writer Discloses the Movie “The Holdout” Is Based Upon his Ever-Haunting Juror Experience
Oscar winning author Graham Moore now discloses that his thriller novel The Holdout and his screen play for the movie The Imitation Game are based upon his own jury service in an attempted murder case in which he and another juror became holdouts against 10 other jurors who wanted to acquit the accused. After days of deliberations, Moore and his ally convinced the rest of the jury to render a compromise verdict and find the accused guilty of a lesser offense of assault. It later emerged this was the "third strike" for the defendant, which under New York law meant he would be jailed for life. Moore now says, “That is a decision which has haunted me every day since. I believe we were right; I am quite certain we were right, yet there is always a part of me which wonders, 'What if we were wrong?' I write novels and films for a living, I live in a lovely house with my wife and dog in Los Angeles and this man, to my knowledge, is still in prison and if not for me, he might not be. That's a weight on my shoulders that I've never figured out how to deal with. . . . Writing this novel was my way of processing through the guilt and doubts I have, and it helped. But I don't know if they will ever go away entirely."
Former Juror in Crime Boss’s Trial Expresses Regrets and Anger at the Murder Convictions
In 2013 juror Janet Uhlar joined 11 other jurors to convict Whitey Bulger of 11 counts of murder and numerous other charges. After she read Stephen Kinzer’s "Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control" recounting the CIA’s LSD-mind-control experiments on Bulger while in prison in the 1950s on other charges, Uhlar started corresponding with the renowned gangster to learn more—in the form of numerous letters and jail visits. She now regrets having voted in favor of the murder verdicts based upon her belief that Bulger’s homicidal actions were caused to some degree by government misconduct.
NCSC Seeks Assistance in Finding Models for Promoting Jury Service
Our regular subscribers know that, over the years, the Jur-E Bulletin has featured innovative public outreach programs about jury service as well as numerous instances where former jurors, jurists, and others have shared perspectives on the virtues of trial by jury. NCSC’s Center for Jury Studies would like to create a gallery of resources (e.g., posters, scripts for public service announcements or op-ed articles, presentations to local community groups, etc.), and an archive of stories that can be used by state courts to promote citizen participation in jury service. Please send your contributions to that effort to the editor, Gregory Mize.