Reader Donna D. describes herself as "HLF trial watcher" and has previously forwarded her observations of the HLF jury as it deliberated in Dallas. The jury ultimately proved to be hung on charges submitted to it against all but one of the defendants, who was acquitted of all charges but one. Over the weekend she drew our attention to the Dallas Morning News article by Jason Trahan on a possible retrial. Trahan's. Only one juror -- William Neal -- has publicly spoken out regarding the government's case and the jury's deliberations.
Neal has ardently attacked the government case as well as certain of his fellow jurors, whose education and insight he finds lacking. He sounds like he imbibes his news and attitude from National Public Radio. Donna dubs Neal "the bully juror." The Dallas Morning News article quotes Neal's interview (audio accessible at the link) with a local Dallas radio station. Donna writes:
The Dallas Morning News article cut out some Neal's most revealing statements -- see comparison excerpts below. If anyone doubts this case should be tried again, they just need to listen to this bully juror's interviews. As Jason Trahan noted in his article, "Mr. Neal admitted he ran roughshod over most other panelists, whose intellectual abilities he has criticized."
Among other things, Neal has gone on record to say that he didn’t even think the defense needed to stand up and present a case; that the prosecution case was “a waste of time;” that the case was only about George Bush. “George Bush shut them down and he's just trying to make sure that he gets that case closed." He said the reason for the loss of the first juror after a week was the juror thought they were guilty and just did not want to argue about it any more. He is taking credit for having turned the jury away from their own opinions that the defendants were guilty.
WHAT THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS PUBLISHED:
Neal: "A lot of the jurors couldn't even say words that had four syllables," Mr. Neal said. "A lot of these people were blue collar. You had people of secluded lifestyles. They have no idea of worldly affairs....What the prosecution was showing us was fear."
WHAT JUROR WILLIAM NEAL ACTUALLY SAID un-CUT EXCERPT FROM RADIO INTERVIEW:
Neal: "A lot of the jurors couldn't even say words that had four syllables," Mr. Neal said. “They just picked a jury based on socio-economical reasons.”
"A lot of these people were blue collar—working UPS, working cafeteria, uh, cashier. You had people of secluded lifestyles."
“They had no idea of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. They have no idea about worldly affairs and to get them and show them bombs and show them the kids, ‘Well, that’s not our lifestyle so we got to vote them guilty because of that.’ That’s the whole reason. Honestly if I had not been on that jury this would have been a different case.”
More illuminating William Neal comments from the radio interview:
KRLD: Do you think [the large number of charges] was by design?
Neal: Oh course it was by design.
KRLD: The reason I ask is that the more confusing it is the harder it is going to be to get a verdict and you have to wonder, “Well is it by design because we realized after we started this thing, we’re Mike Nifong here? We can’t make the case? They didn’t say the stripper is a nappy headed ho? Or is it a case of, we will just throw so much out there they’ll be so confused, they’ll have to go with us because they don’t want to take a chance.
Neal: That’s exactly right.
KRLD: So it’s the latter then?
Neal: "A lot of the jurors couldn't even say words that had four syllables," Mr. Neal said. “They just picked a jury based on socio-economical reasons.” "A lot of these people were blue collar—working UPS, working cafeteria, uh, cashier. You had people of secluded lifestyles. “They had no idea of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. They have no idea about worldly affairs and to get them and show them bombs and show them the kids, ‘Well, that’s not our lifestyle so we got to vote them guilty because of that.’ That’s the whole reason. Honestly if I had not been on that jury this would have been a different case.”
KRLD: But on a jury don’t you want to go in with no preconceived notions?....Maybe the best thing in this case was to have people who don’t know about the background, so they can hear both sides equally?
Neal: Well, yes and no. I think what the prosecution was showing us was fear. The fear of being blown up, a fear of bombing to sway that ignorance. Okay we’re going to show them the bomb belt and the kids running around with little guns and emulating Hamas heroes—whatever—that was the fear coming into it. That was a huge part of the prosecution’s attempt to get these guys guilty.
KRLD: Just looking at this in a legal sense, you have both sides playing on emotion. Here’s needy kids, they need to eat. Here’s that same kid with a bomb belt on, he’s going to blow you up. So you have both sides playing on emotional levels here and in all of that you have to hope and pray that the people in the jury can see beyond all that and see what the real live, touching facts are.
Neal: For the most part a lot of the jury did believe that. Like I said earlier, a lot of people felt that way, they just didn’t vote that way. But the last hold out, she was so wishy washy. If verdicts were closed, we’d be in by nine and out by five. She was that wishy washy. Thursday she’d change her mind and Monday she’d change her mind again. In fact, she even tried to change her mind again when the judge came back to greet us after the case was over.
KRLD: It seems like with someone like that the idea would be to excuse yourself from the jury, and say, I just don’t think I’m qualified to make decisions.
Neal: She was just after the check. She lost her job during this case. She was there for vacation and checks. She was flim flaming all over the place.
Donna refers to another interview with Neal (video at the link) and comments:
In the post trial interview with Rebecca Lopez of WFAA, Neal made mention of “an awkward moment” when the judge came back to greet the jurors after the trial, saying she said, "I don’t understand." Now he is saying she was trying to change her mind again at that time. Really painting the hold out juror as ignorant, devious, lazy, just out for the check. This guy is a complete jerk. That lady may have only be a cafeteria cashier but she at least paid attention during the trial, continually took notes and didn’t fold to his bullying as all the other jurors did.
Donna also cites this Texas Lawyer article on the jury deliberations and comments:
Was the holdout juror as “ignorant” as HLF juror William Neal has been feeding a too-willing to listen and just accept press?
[Paul D. Stickney, the assigned U.S. magistrate judge on the case] Stickney recalls that earlier on Oct. 18, one juror seemed upset and concerned about the jury's decisions. Stickney says she asked if the individual jurors would be polled.
On Oct. 22, before the 10 a.m. scheduled proceeding, juror No. 7 wrote a note to the judge asking: "1. Are we going to be polled? 2. Does undecided mean (not guilty). If we are not going to be polled I would like to give my statement with the court reporter there on some of charges with the defendants will you please let me know...."
Source: PowerLine Blog
H/T: Nice Deb