March 18, 2010 Leave a comment
A Dauphin County jury has been deliberating the fate of former House Democratic Whip Mike Veon and three ex-aides for nearly a week now. The process has apparently been strained at times – one juror cried in court yesterday, and told Judge Richard Lewis the panelists were “turning on each other.” (The Post-Gazette, Inquirer and AP all have takes on that exchange.)
Wes Oliver, a professor at the Widener University School of Law, says the panelists may be taking Harrisburg’s political culture into consideration, and arguing whether or not the charges of campaigning on state time are something the defendants should go to jail for.
He draws an analogy to a hypothetical trial for someone driving two miles over the speed limit – the charges are straightforward, but jurors are considering other factors.
Oliver says another factor for the lengthy deliberations is the complex nature of the charges. The four defendants face a total of 139 separate counts, most of which are for technical crimes that don’t have cut-and-dry definitions.
The jurors have already asked to be dismissed at 4:45, so a verdict isn’t likely today.