Jury Trials: One Juror Saves Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich From Conviction

Although a criminal case, and not a Maritime case, the trial of former Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich, ended with him being found guilty on only one of twenty-four charges. However, it was learned that the jury was one vote shy of convicting him on twenty-three more serious charges.

Most of the Maritime personal injury and wrongful death claims we handle result in the right to a jury trial. Our clients always ask about how a jury trial works. The dynamics of a jury is very interesting topic. Our firm is regularly involved in reviewing studies made regarding the dynamics of a jury in order to further improve the trial skills and techniques of our firm. The dynamics of a jury are always changing. There is no exact science regarding selecting a jury.

We are providing a link here to a really interesting PBS News Hour story discussing jury dynamics with professor Valerie Hans, who is a professor at Cornell University, and a co-author of the book “American Juries”.

Again, this is a criminal case and it involved a twelve person jury. Typically, in most maritime cases, there is a six person jury. A unanimous decision is required, and one juror can be a hold out preventing a unanimous verdict, resulting in what is called a hung jury.

The prosecutor stated that former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will be tried again with a new jury. The PBS interview is interesting because we do not always get a chance to hear directly from jurors who participate in such high profile trials, leaving the public curious as to how decisions are made by juries.