Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Simpson Jurors Low on Rights; `They're Doing Time' 18 Endure Loss of Freedom, Privacy

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Simpson Jurors Low on Rights; `They're Doing Time' 18 Endure Loss of Freedom, Privacy

Article excerpt

When they became jurors in the O.J. Simpson murder trial, 24 citizens from Los Angeles County gave up their rights to live life as most Americans know it.

Their number now reduced to 18, the remaining jurors and alternates are living in a legal no man's land, with virtually no right to privacy and no case law giving them any say over how they are treated.

Danny Davis, a defense counsel in Los Angeles, said: "They don't have any control over the duration of their sequestration. They have no control over their movements. They have none of the options they had three months ago in a very mobile society, in Los Angeles. In my terms, they're doing time."

Davis represented Raymond Buckey in the McMartin Preschool molestation trial, where jurors were sequestered for 3 1/2 months of deliberations.

A new window into the jurors' daily existence was opened last week, when dismissed panelist Jeanette Harris told a television interviewer that jurors might have been discussing the case and alleged that some sheriff's deputies, supervising the jury, had been "promoting" racial divisiveness on the panel.

As a result of her charges, life may get even tougher for the remaining jurors. Superior Court Judge Lance Ito ordered an investigation.

Since the trial began in January, allegations of juror misconduct have cropped up frequently, often coming to the judge in the form of anonymous tips. Two specially designated sheriff's deputies - nicknamed the "jury busters" by some commentators - have been assigned the task of chasing down leads and reporting to Ito.

Terri Waller of the National Jury Project called it unprecedented to have sheriff's deputies investigate jurors during a trial. "But that is only one of many ways in which this case differs from virtually every other case."

Among those replaced after an investigation was Tracy Kennedy, whose room was searched after the judge was told that he might be keeping notes for a possible book on the case. …

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