Friday, April 11, 2008

State Terror In America - FBI Agents Contacted Jurors After Mistrial To Find Out Why

"Westmoreland County defense attorney Tom Ceraso, who was not involved in the case, said in his decades of experience trying cases in federal court he has never heard of the FBI telephoning or interviewing jurors."
--Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
from TPMmuckraker

by Paul Kiel
The latest from Pittsburgh, where the U.S. attorneys' office continues to drop jaws with its handling of the case. From The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Two jurors said Thursday they were unnerved by FBI requests for home visits to explain why they deadlocked in the federal public corruption trial of former Allegheny County coroner Cyril H. Wecht.

Experts said the practice of using FBI agents to contact and interview jurors in their homes after mistrials was unusual, but the U.S. Attorney's Office in Pittsburgh characterized it as "commonplace."

"I thought it was kind of intimidating," the jury foreman said about the FBI phone call.

Said another juror, "I found it kind of unusual."
A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's Office in Pittsburgh tells the paper that prosecutors just wanted to chat about the case with the jurors, a "commonplace" practice. The FBI agents were simply setting up the appointments. It is true that it's commonplace for lawyers from both sides to speak to jurors after a trial to get feedback. But there are two important distinctions here...
In Full @ TPMmuckraker

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