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INVESTIGATION UNCOVERS HLF JURY ROOM BULLYING {Holy Land Foundation trial}
Investigative Project on Terrorism ^ | December 10, 2007 | Michael Fechter

Posted on 12/11/2007 7:40:30 AM PST by 3AngelaD

Edited on 12/21/2007 4:47:29 AM PST by Lead Moderator. [history]

DALLAS – She felt the men were guilty and tried to explain why to the 11 other jurors. When she finished, one juror spoke up in an angry tone. "If you're going by the evidence in this room," she recalls him snapping, "then you need to go home."

The terrorism-support trial of five Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) officials, which began July 24, already had been stressful for 49-year-old Kristina Williams. She had lost her job two weeks into it. Now during deliberations, she felt bullied and intimidated virtually every time she voiced an opinion...

While several jurors favored acquittals, just one out of the 12 did most of the knocking down. In fact, interviews with three HLF jurors...suggest that juror William Neal's stridency may have changed the trial's outcome. Neal even claimed credit for steering jurors away from convictions in a recent radio interview. Until now, he has been the sole source for public perception of the deliberations and the government's case.

The three jurors interviewed by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) showed the Neal-created perception as skewed. All three jurors say they disagree with his views of the evidence and the prosecution's case. To them, it seems clear that Neal made up his mind going into the jury room and refused to consider any argument in favor of guilt. He preferred to read the court's instructions rather than look at exhibits in evidence, they said. And his often snide manner intimidated and bullied those who disagreed with him.

The effect this had on the case is clear. When a juror walked out in frustration after just four days of deliberations, it followed a confrontation with Neal. When another juror briefly refused to cast a vote, it was after a confrontation with Neal. Williams broke down several times during the 19 days jurors spent locked in debate. Each incident followed what she felt was an attack by Neal....

The defendants were accused of illegally routing more than $12 million in support to the terrorist group Hamas through a series of charities, known as zakat committees. Prosecutors said those committees are controlled by Hamas. Defense attorneys argued HLF simply helped out Palestinians living in desperate poverty and provided support to widows and orphans regardless of whether they served Hamas. Interestingly, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas effectively sided with prosecutors recently by claiming he was closing down 92 charities he said had been taken over by Hamas....

Excerpted


TOPICS: War on Terror
KEYWORDS: hamas; holylandfoundation; islam; jurorintimidation; terror

1 posted on 12/11/2007 7:40:31 AM PST by 3AngelaD
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To: 3AngelaD

wow - that’s a freaking pathetic story. I can’t understand the lack of backbone in those jurors who couldn’t stand up to Neal in the jury room. They really should be ashamed of themselves. As for Neal, pure garbage.


2 posted on 12/11/2007 7:58:23 AM PST by MrShoop
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To: MrShoop

It has been suggested on other forums that his finances might bear looking into. Ahem.


3 posted on 12/11/2007 8:07:43 AM PST by 3AngelaD (They screwed up their own countries so bad they had to leave, and now they're here screwing up ours)
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To: 3AngelaD
Here's what the sack of $#¡^ looks like:


4 posted on 12/11/2007 8:19:44 AM PST by SeafoodGumbo
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To: 3AngelaD
This is one incident I can't understand. I can't imagine being intimidated by another juror. Ever.
The only possible explanation is that this one juror could not articulate her opinion as well as the "other".
This reminds me of the usual way forepersons are "chosen" usually the loudest, pushiest person is tagged. I usually just smile and wish him/her luck. Playing the devil's advocate is much more satisfying.
Presumably deliberations begin with most jurors comfortable on their view of the outcome, from the evidence and their inferences; assuming that they were awake and engaged during the trial, and have the mental equipment to make valid inferences.
The results of this one should be interesting.
5 posted on 12/11/2007 8:20:23 AM PST by Publius6961 (MSM: Israelis are killed by rockets; Lebanese are killed by Israelis.)
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To: SeafoodGumbo
Here's what the sack of $#¡^ looks like:

What he looks like is nowhere as important as what groups he belongs to, what he does for a "living", and what facts he witheld during initial juror interrogations...

6 posted on 12/11/2007 8:22:42 AM PST by Publius6961 (MSM: Israelis are killed by rockets; Lebanese are killed by Israelis.)
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To: Publius6961
What he looks like is nowhere as important as what groups he belongs to, what he does for a "living", and what facts he witheld during initial juror interrogations...

You're so right - but the looks are a little telling....just a little.

7 posted on 12/11/2007 8:24:20 AM PST by babyfreep (Duncan Hunter Fan!)
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To: onedoug

jury duty ping


8 posted on 12/11/2007 8:25:16 AM PST by windcliff
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To: 3AngelaD
At times, Neal raised his voice, cursed or otherwise belittled them for what they said. A handful of jurors called for an immediate break after he hollered "f*** your opinion" to a female juror.

This is serious stuff.
I hope there is a lawyer (or ex-judge) among the freepers who can comment on this. What are the options for the other jurors when an animal ends up on their jury?

Who was the foreman? How was he/she chosen? so many unanswered questions. The fact that a mistrial resulted was curious at the time it happened.
It gets curioser and curioser.

9 posted on 12/11/2007 8:35:07 AM PST by Publius6961 (MSM: Israelis are killed by rockets; Lebanese are killed by Israelis.)
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To: Publius6961; Congressman Billybob

At what point does the jury foreman need to call the judge, or can he?

Was Neal the foreman?

Could he have been a plant?


10 posted on 12/11/2007 9:06:18 AM PST by texas booster (Join FreeRepublic's Folding@Home team (Team # 36120) Cure Alzheimer's!)
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To: Publius6961
What he looks like is nowhere as important as what groups he belongs to, what he does for a "living", and what facts he witheld during initial juror interrogations...

I agree, but I always like to see what someone looks like. As far as his profession, the prosecutors were idiots to put a graphic designer on the jury. It's a profession that leans heavily to the left. It might be hard to find solid conservatives in NYC, but not in Texas. The beard thing is also a red flag for him possibly being a blinkered lefty. Same goes for him being a musician/DJ.

11 posted on 12/11/2007 9:19:32 AM PST by SeafoodGumbo
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To: windcliff

Ahomina-homina....


12 posted on 12/11/2007 10:09:21 AM PST by onedoug
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To: MrShoop

I’ve been the lone holdout on a jury.

You have to have the courage of your convictions. The prosecution is not always correct, nor are its witnesses always reliable.

Twice, I had to demand that the foreman write to the judge for clarification on the testimony we all heard. Twice we were marched back into the courtroom, and the judge had testimony reread, I was correct on both counts.

Each juror had their turn at me, and I answered their arguments with facts and testimony, not emotional appeals.

There was one egregious charge that was unproven in court, but everyone had made their mind up on. I threatened to hang the jury, as there was no way I would vote for it as there was no evidence for it—it was completely emotionally based.

The outcome was a verdict we could all live with and which I believe was factually correct.

I say all this to illustrate thatjurors must listen carefully and make decisions on facts, not emotions. And in the jury room, others will attempt to sway you for their own purposes and you must be ready for that.

You must be true to yourself. And it is very hard, in a room of 12, not to follow the crowd. But you must be prepared to do so.

I don’t know the particulars on this case. The jury experience can be a painful one, but you must live with your verdict.


13 posted on 12/11/2007 10:19:55 AM PST by exit82 (How do you handle Hillary? You Huma her.)
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