Serving Waukegan, Libertyville, Lake County, Gurnee & nearby areas of Illinois

This week a federal jury announced that it was deadlocked on 23 of 24 counts of an indictment against the former governor of Illinois. Pundits have been very critical of the jury members, questioning how they could not reach a unanimous decision after so much evidence was presented. While it is unfortunate that the Blagojevich saga will have to continue at taxpayer expense, our jury system is still better than other alternatives. Judges, hearing officers and arbitrators can be just as indecisive or inattentive to evidence as a jury. Despite their legal training, they can often misinterpret or misunderstand the finer points of law applicable to a particular case. They are often biased or unqualified to handle the cases they hear. Perhaps a conversation can take place to allow jury decisions that are less than unanimous, i.e. should a 3/4 majority should be sufficient? Regardless, deciding another person’s guilt or innocence is always a difficult and demanding job. Our legal system has many issues. Allowing an unbiased panel of one’s peers to decide disputed questions of fact is not one of them.