Earlier today, I was discussing the Rod Blagojevich non-verdict with legal analyst Scott Sherman, particularly the jurors who said that the prosecution had offered a confusing case. One of them, a 21-year-old college student, said “They didn’t follow a timeline. They jumped around.”
Sherman observed that this might be a product of all the crime dramas on TV — from the various permutations of “CSI” and “Law and Order” to this summer’s new hit “Rizzoli and Isles” — where viewers have gotten so used to seeing a case wrapped up in an hour that they expect things to be similarly simple when they serve on a jury. They’re used to getting smoking gun forensic evidence, criminals who crack and confess easily, and linear lines of logic, where A leads to B leads to C leads to D and we know without a doubt who the bad guy is and what he did.
Unfortunately, in cases like Blago’s, there’s a lot of complicated stuff. None of the people he tried to extort in exchange for the Senate seat appointment went along with his plan, so there wasn’t an “Ah ha!” moment caught on tape. The FBI recorded a lot of Quid, but not so much Pro Quo.
If that’s what jurors expected and wouldn’t convict without it (and in the case of the biggest charges, we now know it was just one juror who caused the deadlock), their disappointment was as basic as not getting complete resolution to the mystery between the last commercial break and the credits.