Skip to comments.Why is the Kermit Gosnell Murder Trial Jury Taking So Long?
Posted on 05/03/2013 12:43:50 PM PDT by Morgana
To hear it from pro-life advocates watching the Kermit Gosnell murder trial, it should take the jury all of five minutes to return a guilty verdict on the first degree murder charges he faces for killing four babies.
But the just has now spent four days deliberating and concluded today without a verdict in the case. It will resume on Monday.
Why is the jury taking so long to adjudicate what seems like an open and shut case of infanticide?
LifeNews talked to Samuel Casey, a pro-life attorney who is the General Counsel for the Law of Life Project of the Jubilee Campaign.
Casey explains that under Pennsylvania law, all 12 of the jurors must reach a unanimous verdict on any of the murder counts Gosnell faces for him to be convicted on any of them. Each of the elements of a charged crime must be proven to each juror beyond reasonable doubt for that juror to vote to convict on that count and one reluctant juror could lead to a mistrial on any of the first-degree murder charges.
Since prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty in the case, the jury will only be deciding whether Gosnell is guilty related to the charges. If convicted, a second jury will be impaneled to determine sentencing under the penalty phase of the trial. During this phase, the judge has already instructed jurors to only consider guilt or innocence, he noted.
Given the number of charges Gosnell faces, and the fact that Gosnell has a co-defendant the jury is considering for conviction as well, the jury make take a longer period of time to arrive at a verdict on each of the 250-plus charges.
Most of the focus in the murder trial of abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell is on the murder charges he faces for killing babies in abortion-infanticides and for killing a woman in a botched abortion. But the abortionist faces 258 counts total and other charges against him include one count of infanticide and one of racketeering, 24 counts of performing third-trimester abortions and 227 counts of failing to follow the 24-hour waiting period law before an abortion so women can consider its risks and alternatives.
The jury also has to evaluate charges against Eileen ONeill, one of Gosnells staffers who pretended to be a doctor who has asked the judge to be acquitted.
Ultimately, that the Gosnell jury is taking so long may be an indication that they are taking very seriously the charges against him and want to thoroughly evaluate them to be able to deliver an appropriate verdict equal to the seriousness of the charges he faces. But as any good attorney knows, one can never predict what a jury may or may not do.
Casey walked LifeNews through the jury process in the state of Pennsylvania and how the Gosnell jury is working:
Generally speaking, after receiving the judges extensive instructions as the applicable law and hearing the final arguments, the Gosnell jury retired to the jury room to begin deliberating. In Pennsylvania, the first order of business is to elect one of the jurors as the foreperson or presiding juror. This persons role is to preside over discussions and votes of the jurors, and often to deliver the verdict. The Judge Meinharts bailiffs job is to ensure that no one communicates with the jury during deliberations.
In Pennsylvania, heres what the law says a criminal case jury can possess in the jury room:
Rule 646. Material Permitted in Possession of the Jury.
(A) Upon retiring, the jury may take with it such exhibits as the trial judge deems proper, except as provided in paragraph (C).
(B) The trial judge may permit the members of the jury to have for use during deliberations written copies of the portion of the judges charge on the elements of the offenses, lesser included offenses, and any defense upon which the jury has been instructed.
(1) If the judge permits the jury to have written copies of the portion of the judges charge on the elements of the offenses, lesser included offenses, and any defense upon which the jury has been instructed, the judge shall provide that portion of the charge in its entirety.
(2) The judge shall instruct the jury about the use of the written charge. At a minimum, the judge shall instruct the jurors that
(a) the entire charge, written and oral, shall be given equal weight; and
(b) the jury may submit questions regarding any portion of the charge.
(C) During deliberations, the jury shall not be permitted to have:
(1) a transcript of any trial testimony;
(2) a copy of any written or otherwise recorded confession by the defendant;
(3) a copy of the information or indictment; and
(4) except as provided in paragraph (B), written jury instructions.
(D) The jurors shall be permitted to have their notes for use during deliberations
As has already happened at least three times in the Gosnell case, it is common that the jury will have a question about the evidence or the judges instructions. If this happens, the jury will give a note to the bailiff to take to the judge. The judge may respond to the note, or may call the jury back into the courtroom for further instructions or to have portions of the transcript read to them. Of course, any communication between the judge and jury should be in the presence of lawyers for each side or with their knowledge.
As has occurred in the Gosnell case, it is common for the court to provide the jury with written forms of all possible verdicts, so that when a decision is reached, the jury has only to choose the proper verdict form. In the Gosnell criminal case, the verdict must be unanimous.
If the jury cannot come to a decision by the end of the day, the jurors may be sequestered, or housed in a hotel and secluded from all contact with other people, newspapers and news reports. In most cases, though, as is the current practice in the Gosnell case, the jury will be allowed to go home at night. The judge will instruct jurors not to read or view reports of the case in the news. Nor should they consider or discuss the case while outside of the jury room.
If the jurors cannot agree on a verdict, a hung jury results, leading to a mistrial. The case is not decided, and it may be tried again at a later date before a new jury. Or the government may decide not to pursue the case further and there will be no subsequent trial.
I am hoping they are trying to come up with a LIST of things to do to that evil twisted bastard
before they kill him
Gott'a waitz fo' zero to return from mexican campaign
Too many of Eric Holder’s “people” on the jury?!
They might be waiting for approval from their messiah.
Probably about six Liberal Pro-abort jurors.
There is at least one juror who is a committed Leftist and must protect their holy sacrement of infanticide at all cost.
Trying to convince themselves that none of those precious creations were actually alive when the butcher cut their spinal cord.
Yep, I think that’s a bingo.
What’s the jury consist of?
If certain folks are there, he’s gonna be innocent.
I know that.
And you know that.
Because there are 7 liberal women and 5 liberal men on the jury.
One or two are horrified.
OK, for those of you who haven’t been on juries, here’s what happens when there are adults in the room:
You go down the list of charges. You look at the trial evidence and you see if it supports the charge. You discuss the prosecution’ evidence. You poll each juror whether he or she agrees or disagrees that the evidence supports the prosecution’s charges. After discussion, you vote on that charge. You record the vote. Then you proceed on to the next charge on the list. And on and on and on until you reach the end of the list.
I was in a felony trial jury in Reno where we had seven (only seven) charges on the docket in front of us. It took us a full day to walk down the list of charges, then the list of evidence and our notes from the three day trial and discuss every one of the charges and the prosecution’s evidence.
BTW - it was the women on the jury who wanted to convict on all seven charges and be out of the court in five minutes. If I’m ever up on a jury trial, I’m going to ask my lawyer to get rid of as many women on my jury as possible. I’d never seen anything so irresponsible in my adult life. It came down to a telephone lineman and me putting the brakes on that BS to give the accused the trial he deserved. The women (all seven of them) on that jury were PISSED at us two adult men (one conservative, me, and the lineman was a liberal) who insisted that we were going to take this job seriously and go down the list of charges and discuss the evidence and vote on each charge like adults.
We didn’t back down, even after getting an earful of harangue from two of the women.
In the Gosnell trial, there are 250 charges.
They’re not going to come back with a verdict for a couple of weeks. People who think this is a slam-dunk issue where the jury should be returning out of the jury room in 10 minutes are fools and have no right to be on a jury... and they also shouldn’t have the right to vote, drink, drive or own a gun, because they’re not adults and aren’t serious people. If the jury came out of that jury room in a day and convicted him, his lawyer is going to file an appeal before the end of that day, because NO JURY could conceivably get through 250 charges and actually take a vote on the evidence with a real count and then write down the result of the vote on every charge. Any jury that comes back with a verdict on that many charges in too short a time is asking, begging to have their verdict appealed (and overturned) because they didn’t weight the evidence properly.
Hell, a jury that came back from this trial’s evidence too quickly on this number of charges is begging to have their decision set aside by the trial judge, right there on the spot. Judges can do that, you know. The judge on the case can say “You didn’t examine the evidence, I’m setting aside the verdict. Bang, bang, all rise, you’re free to go.”
I tend to agree.
I thought there were closer to 300 total charges.
Excellent insight NVDave. Thanks!
I thought there were closer to 300 total charges.
Jesus, people. Let’s hold off on the racial angle for moment, can’t we?
The problem is, how well did the prosecution frame the issue? Why is a child “alive” when it is two seconds out of the womb versus still inside a second before? How much of the argument did the judge allow? What was disregarded by the judge along the way? All of that is probably playing into the jury’s mind.
Bribes taking too long to get deposited to their offshore bank accounts?
Why is it taking so long. Let me axe you some questions.
How many blacks on the jury?
How many women on that jury that have had abortions?
How many liberals on the jury?
We will be lucky if Gosnell doesn’t end up with a Nobel prize.
I imagine it is because there are plenty people in this world who do not see this man as guilty of anything at all.