Wednesday, March 27, 2013

(empo-jooryst) Now it can't be told

Yesterday, a jury in Rancho Cucamonga, California returned guilty verdicts in a criminal trial.

I have not said anything about this until now, for a compelling reason - I was an alternate juror on that jury, and obviously a juror can't discuss a trial while it's going on.

It turns out that a juror can't discuss a trial after it's ended, either. You can thank the O.J. Simpson circus - I mean trial - for this:

Gov. Pete Wilson on Monday signed bills spawned by the O.J. Simpson double murder case that make it illegal for witnesses and jurors in criminal trials to sell their stories until the case is finished....

Under the legislation, AB 501 by Assembly Speaker Willie Brown (D-San Francisco) and SB 1999 by Sen. Quentin Kopp (I-San Francisco), it will be a crime starting Jan. 1 for jurors, witnesses or potential witnesses to provide information for compensation, a practice known as "checkbook journalism."...

Jurors will be barred from engaging in any arrangements for compensation until 90 days after being discharged.

Well, how does this affect me, you may ask? It's not that people are beating down my door offering to pay for my story. All that I can say, look to the left over there. While it's a stretch to say that one of those boxes to the left may qualify as "compensation," you can't be too careful.

So I'll tell a few stories about my jury July.

In the meantime, now that I am now able to read about the case and the particulars online, I'm going to do some catching up. When you're a juror, you are only supposed to base your decision upon evidence that is actually presented in court. If there was any coverage of the crime when it originally occurred, I'm not supposed to use it as a juror. In fact, I don't even know if the defendant hired his own attorneys to defend him, or if he were assigned a public defender.

After this self-imposed cone of silence, I have some catching up to do.

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