Nanny Trial: No apparent clue to jury's reasoning

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The Independent Online
Exactly what happened in the room holding the alternate jurors on Thursday night is still murky. What is clear is that these four men, who were weeded out by drawing lots from the 16 who had heard the evidence throughout, were devastated when they were informed of the verdict.

One court officer told of bedlam, and in particular of one alternate juror who picked up a chair in his anger and hurled it across the room.

News of the scuffle is scant consolation for the defence team, which expressed distress at the very moment that the 16 were reduced to 12. Louise had lost the four jurors that the defence has identified as the most sympathetic to their case.

One of the four alternate jurors, Robert Mangold, said: "I was wondering if these people were sitting in the same courtroom as I was these last three weeks." He said the four men who did not take part in the deliberations began to realise, through eye contact with the jury during breaks, what was happening. "And then anger set in," said Mr Mangold.

"We refused to speak to anyone. They would take a break and come into our room only because of the camaraderie that there was between the 16 of us. We just didn't want that any more. The prosecution did not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt." They reached that conclusion mostly because they were the four with the most impressive educational qualifications. One was Harvard-educated; another was an electrical engineer.

Barry Scheck knew this was bad, because these were the jurors perhaps most equipped to analyse and accept the often highly complex medical evidence.

This was particularly important, Scheck contended in a small-hours press conference, because the jury had freely admitted that they had been prejudiced against Louise by pre-trial publicity, almost all of which had been negative for the defendant.

If there is any slim chance in a possible appeal for Louise it may be in this area: that the pre-trial publicity was so ubiquitous that it was impossible to find jurors unaffected by it. The jury selection system is meant to enable the defence team to get round this problem, but it was evidently impossible in this case.