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Post-Its, And Other Musings


(Possible artist's conception of a jury room near you.)

So, here we all sit.  Waiting for the jury.  Wondering what is going on with deliberations.  Wondering when we'll get a verdict.  Wondering whether we'll get a verdict any time soon.  Trying to be patient.  Yep.  Yepppers…


Ahem.  Okay, so honestly, I've waited for a lot of juries — and the legal beagles in the audience can back me up on this:  they finish deliberations on their own speed, and it's best to busy yourself with other things while you are waiting.  Otherwise, you drive yourself crazy with all the "what ifs."

Sure, we've heard all about the multiple notes requesting post-its and flip charts and pens and all.  I have to say, I agree with Jane's theory:

…the thing that was happening to the jury is what happened to people on the blogs who got into this story — they got addicted to it. They're busy sorting through the details, peeling back layers of the onion, fascinated by the process of mutual discovery as they explore the characters and events that led up to the trial. Pach said in his shrinky expert opinion that this made a lot of sense.

Of course, with the following caveat, which is that you never know what is going on inside the jury room and, more often than not, whatever you are thinking ends up being completely wrong or completely right — but for different reasons altogether than you could ever have imagined.  But I think back to when I first started following this investigation, how little things in the newspaper articles just weren't adding up for me in terms of how I knew investigations normally worked.  How so many of the players involved in this were sending out their own, personal brand of spin into the conventional wisdom ether — and how it wasn't matching up, fact-wise, with everyone else's spin. 

And I recall the first time I sat down with a marker and some poster board and made a timeline, complete with post-it note add-ons during an especially long nap of The Peanut's because none of what I was reading was making any sense in the context of everything else that was swirling around the outside edges of the political bubble that is Washington.  Boy, was that a revelation.  (Unfortunately, it was also destroyed by a large cranberry juice spill and a dachshund that decided to tango in it on the kitchen floor…but it was a truly useful timeline while it lasted.) 

Yes, I have shamefully lived the life of post-it addict following this case — my sheaf of legal documents, with their reams of post-it notes sticking out the side of questions on different aspects and footnotes in the respective filings piling up on my kitchen table.

And I can certainly see the jury getting to that point as well, especially if this is their first real exposure to anything involved in this case.  Just the court intrigue alone within the Bush Administration itself — the WH versus the Veep's office versus…well, you get the idea.  There is an old adage about seeing legislation put together being like watching sausage being made (Eeew!  It's icky — trust me.), and getting this inside peek at how the Bush White House points fingers in every direction but at themselves when the chips start flying?  That has to be an eye opener to the non-political folks on the jury, all by itself — and it takes a while to allow that to sink in, I'd suspect.

Or maybe they are just meticulously going through every piece of evidence and doing their duty to ensure that a just verdict is rendered under the law.

In other words, trying to second guess the jury always ends up getting you stressed out, for no particular reason.  So, I'm trying to take the zen approach and say to myself that the jury will finish when they finish, and that is the end of that.

The other day, I shared that I was listening to a little Coltrane (and Monk) while I waited.  I've moved on to some soothing Yo-Yo Ma cello concertos.  What are you doing to pass the time?  (I mean, besides hitting the refresh button.)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com