The Star-News


A few words about juries

Sun, Jul 24 2011 12:00 PM Posted By: Tom Basinski

Everyone else has weighed in on the subject but I hope I have waited an acceptable length of time so this won’t be more overload for the readers.

I have been involved in a few trials as an investigator over the years. If I wasn’t in the courtroom during the trial I was one of many who prepared reports and conducted interviews that made up the lion’s share of the prosecution’s case.

I even sat through a few jury selections. Deciding 12 is dangerous ground. Picking a jury is like walking through a minefield. You never know when one of the selections will blow up on you. I didn’t make any actual choices, but some deputy district attorneys asked for feedback from a regular person as opposed to another attorney.

Jury selection is tricky. One bad pick and you can have a hung jury. How does one explain 12 bad picks though?

The O.J. Simpson jury was probably the worst jury in the entire history of jurisprudence. The DA in Los Angeles made a culpable mistake by holding the trial downtown instead of the outlying area where Simpson killed his twovictims.

It’s doubtful the O.J. attorneys knew they had seated a jury of racists. That fact didn’t come out until some of them were interviewed after the trial.

That crew wouldn’t have convicted Simpson unless there was a videotape of him butchering his victims followed by a confession.

Which brings me to the Casey Anthony jury, or as they should be known: “a confederacy
of dunces” (with apologies to author John Kennedy Toole).

First, the prosecutor should never have sought the death penalty against Casey even if she might deserve it. If there is any doubt, and in this case there is room for a microscopic doubt, I don’t think that most severe penalty should be sought. The next reason for not seeking the death penalty is that her parents were important prosecution witnesses in the trial. It’s unrealistic to think that parents would gladly
testify against a child if their testimony might result in the death of the child.

Casey’s mother’s blatant perjury gives credence to that.

People can testify, albeit painfully, if their child might go to prison for a long time. But death? That’s a little too much to ask.

After listening to a majority of the trial I was astounded at the verdict. I agreed with the not guilty on the first-degree murder. But, aggravated manslaughter or aggravated child abuse? Heck yeah.

What could possibly have caused the jury to find her not guilty on everything except lying to the police? One alternate juror and two regular jurors agreed to interviews. Juror Jennifer Ford told of the jury’s decision-making process and it was insane.

Many of the legal commentators on television who were predisposed to the defense
said, “The jury got it right.” Baloney. They got it wrong.

Ms. Ford said they couldn’t convict on any of the death charges because they didn’t know the cause of death. What planet are they from? The prosecution doesn’t need to prove the cause of death. The y
don’t need to provide a motive either. It’s nice when they can, but it’s not required.

Former Deputy DA Dan Goldstein, now a judge in North County, convicted Lupe Dailey’s husband of the firstdegree murder of Lupe, and Lupe’s body has not been found to this day. For Casey Anthony’s jury to say they needed to know how Caylee died gives a clue on ho w out to lunch they were.

And the jury didn’t need to look at her partying and getting tattooed after the fact either. That was not material to the case. All they had to look at was the fact that Casey was the last one to be seen with the
baby and the lies Casey told during the 30 days she was gone. That’s all that was needed.
The jury did not get it right.

You don’t sit in jail for three years when your daughter dies accidentally, and you don’t make an accidental death look like a murder by putting tape on the accidentally dead child’s mouth.

I hope the jury is haunted by this miscarriage forever. As for Casey, let’s hope America
ignores her forever, and that she doesn’t plan to open a daycare.

(Tom Basinski was a police officer for 35 years.)


© 2009 The Star-News