Well, it’s Monday, and the Alaskan “trial of the century” resumes. Apparently, Juror #4, who left Washington D.C. last week because of the death of her father, could not be reached over the weekend, leaving the Judge to appoint one of the four alternate jurors to take her place.
The jury must now go back to square one, and begin their deliberations over again about whether Senator Ted Stevens is guilty of seven felony indictments for failure to disclose more than $250,000 in gifts and home renovations on his Senate disclosure forms. Two full days of deliberation are lost, but the trial will now continue.
Although it’s impossible to tell exactly where they were in their deliberations before losing – and then regaining – a juror, the jury appears to be moving at a pretty fast clip so far. They got the case Wednesday afternoon and sent Sullivan a note Thursday afternoon asking to go home a little early and saying they had reviewed all of the instructions.
It was a positive development for the jury, which has had more than its share of theatrics since it began its deliberations. The judge took note.
“Everyone was smiling, everyone seems to be in a good mood this morning,” the judge said. “No one appeared to be agitated or displeased. That’s all I have to say.”
Their first day of deliberations last week, jurors asked to go home early because they were stressed and needed “clarity.” The second day, Thursday, 11 of the jurors complained in a note about a 12th juror and asked her to be removed from the panel for being rude and prone to “violent outbursts with other jurors.” The judge resolved the problem with a stern lecture on civility and the jurors left Thursday afternoon, seemingly in harmony.
While it’s fairly common for juries to proceed and reach a verdict with only 11 jurors, less than that is almost unheard of. It’s possible that Judge Sullivan decided to place an alternate, rather than proceeding with 11 jurors, in case Juror #9 acts up again and ends up being removed.