Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Two Angry, I Mean Greedy, Jackson Jurors

This disgusts me. And I mean that word in its proper, nearly fierce sense: Ray Hultman and Eleanor Cook truly disgust me. Here's why:

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Two of the 12 jurors who voted to acquit singer Michael Jackson of child molestation and other charges said Monday they regret their decisions.

Jurors Ray Hultman and Eleanor Cook, who both have pending book deals, planned to appear Monday night on the MSNBC show "Rita Cosby: Live and Direct."

In a preview shown Monday on NBC's "Today," Cosby asked Cook if the other jurors will be angry with her.

"They can be as angry as they want to. They ought to be ashamed. They're the ones that let a pedophile go," responded Cook, 79.

Excuse me, they? Meaning, They who didn't sell out their hypocritical indignation about the workings of American justice for a pocketfull of silver? It gets better:

Hultman, 62, told Cosby he was upset with the way other jurors approached the case: "The thing that really got me the most was the fact that people just wouldn't take those blinders off long enough to really look at all the evidence that was there."

Yet for support Hultman evidently has nothing more to point to than the fact that, in an initial anonymous poll, three jurors voted to convict. Tell you what, 9 of 12 jurors voting acquit ain't half bad with such a sensational case, not by a long shot. And it's not like 9 - 3 turned into 12 - 0 in six hours; the jury deliberated for a very long time.

And what might he mean about "those blinders?" Could he mean that the jurors, the poor oppressed jurors, were bound by law to consider only the evidence the judge directed them to consider, and further circumscribed their inquiry by telling them what to consider and what considerations would determine the verdict. 'And then the dumb bastard went on about some "beyond a reasonable doubt thing," when anybody with half a brain who watches FOX News just knows the queer did it.'

Explaining the turnaround by Cook and Hultman, consultant Larry Garrison, who is working with both on their separate books and a combined television movie, said all the jurors "had an agreement [to be united] and then basically when they went on 'Larry King Live,' both Eleanor and Ray couldn't tolerate what was going on anymore. They said, 'Enough is enough."'

Great, thanks Garrison, since you certainly have no conflict of interest. And thanks CNN for treating him like somebody with something to say. Anyway, it's not like these two are completely obtuse.

In June, Hultman told The Associated Press about the verdict: "That's not to say he's an innocent man. He's just not guilty of the crimes he's been charged with."

Funny, that's true about all of us, and that's the whole thing -- Hultman -- with the whole proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and why juries down hand down "innocent" verdicts. Not because people are or are not innocent, but because the defense has no burden to prove innocence. Similarly, Cook previously has said, "'We had our suspicions [that Jackson had committed a crime], but we couldn't judge on that because it wasn't what we were there to do." Right. Once again, jury instructions prevail.

Juries perform a sacred duty. This is an embarrassment.

And by the way, Shame on you, CNN, for making not a single one of the above observations about the duty of a juror to help contextualize the greedy machinations of a sensational publishing industry and two opportunistic assholes with nothing better to do.

In fact, Shame on everyone noted in the story, CNN most of all for not including one source of repute or one fact not mouthed by someone with an axe to grind. Seriously.


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