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April 11, 2011

Who should be pleased the jury is still out regarding Barry Bonds?

Because I am not a trial lawyer, I am very bad at assessing what to take away from on-going jury deliberations.  Thus, I hope some trial lawyers might opine in the comments on the import of this news today from a federal court in California:

The jurors in the Barry Bonds perjury trial deliberated a second day Monday without a verdict after reviewing testimony by a witness who said she saw Bonds’ personal trainer inject him in the navel.

The panel of eight women and four men listened attentively to a reading of the testimony of Kathy Hoskins, who has known Bonds since childhood and shopped for his clothing from 2001 to 2003.

Hoskins testified that she saw Greg Anderson, Bonds’ personal trainer, inject him in the navel in the 2002 season while she was packing Bonds’ clothes for a road trip. The jury heard evidence that human growth hormone is generally injected in the abdomen.

Bonds, 46, has remained at the courthouse with family and friends while the jury has been out.

Recent related Bonds post:

April 11, 2011 at 07:10 PM | Permalink

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Comments

During law school, I second chaired a homicide trial with a very experienced prosecutor. They jury had been out over a week and I asked him if that was a good or a bad thing. I will never forget his response. "It is either a good thing or a bad thing, we will know which one when the jury returns its verdict."

Now after being in civil for a while (since the economy prevented me from getting a job as a prosecutor), I agree with the sentiment. Every jury is different and trying to read tea leaves regarding what testimony they have read back, how long they take to deliberate, what questions they ask the judge, etc. is about as scientific as reading actual tea leaves and leads to nothing but hair loss while you wait.

Posted by: dda2b | Apr 12, 2011 11:51:58 AM

The above prosecutor comment implies the arbitrariness of the jury vote. It implies the trial is a sports even with unpredictable outcomes, subject to last minute scoring.

There should be one immediate secret ballot. Period, if 2/3 of jurors agree, a verdict is reached.

After that, the verdict reflects that of a bully, and the rest of the panel that just wants to go home. The movie, Twelve Angry Men depicted that process accurately.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 12, 2011 12:54:37 PM

Absolutely agree with dda2b - that is a good way to put it, "we will know when the verdict comes in." It seems to me that most lawyer "wisdom" in this area is completely unscientific and speculative.

Ps- Since I am so late to this thread, we now "know" it was a bad thing for the defense. (Or was it? I guess it depends on whether they had thought were the odds of a complete acquittal vs. conviction on all counts.)

Posted by: Anon | Apr 14, 2011 12:38:05 PM

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