Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Thursday, April 25, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

drew verdict jump

"I'm very surprised," said defense lawyer Steward afterwards.

He also could not help taking a shot at O'Brien, saying, "He wants to continue being the U.S. Attorney under an Obama administration." One way to ensure job continuity, he said, "was if he could get a victory in this case. Unfortunately for him, he didn't get it."

After the jury verdict was read in court, Judge George Wu went to unusual lengths in urging the jury to limit their comments to the press.

He noted to the jury that he was making decisions during the trial not only to ensure a verdict but also to preserve the verdict in the future.

"You should respect the privacy of what happens in the jury room," said the judge. If the jurors did speak with members of the press, he added, they should do so with the confidence that their words might appear in print and that they might later have to testify to them "under oath."

But the jurors demonstrated a high degree of independence.

Stumbled upon at Union Station, juror Shirley commented on both the unathorized-use half of the case, the one that seemed more difficult to prove, and on the infliction-of-emotional-distress half of the case, which had seemed easier to prove.

She said the MySpace terms of use were intended to protect MySpace and not the individual users, reflecting an argument made by the defense lawyer. Yet the jurors did convict on three misdemeanor counts that hinged on unauthorized use of a computer.

"Even if you don't read it, you're supposed to," she said. "It's our responsibility to read it."

Regarding the count where the jury hung up, on conspiracy, she said the jury was split 7 to 5 in favor of conviction, as best she could remember. They could not agree on a meaning for the word "tortious," a required element of the charge.

Juror Marcilo had said the same thing, adding, "I'm going to go home and look it up."

But both jurors agreed that the conduct of the defendant had not reached a level where it was outrageous or shocked the conscience, as is required to show intentional infliction of emotional distress.

"It was not intended to drive her over the edge or do anything bad to her," said Shirley.

"You've got to talk things out with your kids," said juror Marcilo in conclusion. "I hope they deal with this tragedy, both families."

Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.