Chicago Sun-Times
Inside the Rod Blagojevich investigation and related cases

Blagojevich defense wants judge to start over with jury screening

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Defense lawyers in Rod Blagojevich's case want U.S. District Judge James Zagel to start all over with qualifying jurors for selection in next week's trial.

Lawyers say Zagel excused hundreds of jurors who marked on a questionnaire that serving on a several-month trial would be a hardship.

A motion filed today by Rod and Robert Blagojevich's lawyers says the judge excused more than 75 percent of the 400-member potential juror pool without allowing defense lawyers to check whether "an undue hardship or extreme inconvenience truly existed."

"Out of those 400 prospective jurors, it is the defendant's belief that approximately 75% (close to 300) were summarily excused by the court for hardship based upon the length of the trial," lawyers wrote in a filing today.

They are asking the judge to start over, which, if granted, would undoubtedly delay proceedings that are now set to begin a week from Thursday.

"Jury service is a duty that should be excused only in the most extreme, unavoidable
circumstances - for example, where financial embarrassment is such as to impose a
real burden and severe hardship validly exists," lawyers wrote.

Lawyers in the case are scheduled to meet in court Thursday afternoon.

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Just a week before trial is supposed to begin, attorneys for Rod and Rob Blagojevich will be back in court this afternoon asking a judge to start over with screening potential jurors. In a filing Tuesday, Blagojevich lawyers argued... Read More

6 Comments

Blago won't stop and will take every opportunity to drag this process out for as long as he can. His short term goal is to stay in the news and influence his jury pool. The more people he influences, the more likely he'll get a more sympathetic jury. See all of his antics over the past 1+ years at http://rodblagojevich.com. His intent is obvious.

***JURY TAMPERING-NOT A MISTAKE***James B. Zagel's concocted unilateral 'hardship screening' process amounts to jury tampering and likely profiled and removed potential anti-prosecution jurors based on various measures such as occupational profession, level of education, criminal record, and then maybe quite possibly genuine hardships to justify his actions. This intentional conduct would be performed in order to try and steer the verdict in favor of the prosecution. The concocted 'hardship screening process' is the job of the jury commission at first tier, and then the prosecution and defense teams at second tier, and then finally at third tier the judge with transparency to both legal teams. This judge can't remove jurors from the jury register without complete agreement from both defense and prosecution. Appears to me like he was caught engaging in judicial misconduct. The judge should be replaced or else he must cite a legitimate excuse for not informing the legal teams.Thanks to Blago's attorneys, Blago was protected from this form of jury stacking which is also performed incognito after the jurors are selected and then later removed for alleged misconduct and accusations then summarily replaced by an alternate juror. Defense attorneys have no comment because they are protecting the profession which has enriched their livelihood in past, present, and for years to come. The judge will not be outed by the defense team for judicial misconduct, however the jury selection should start over with another pool of jurors. It's obvious Blago's attorneys are not pretending to represent him but actually representing him to the full extent of their awareness.
Tim L Thornton Springfield, IL

Wow? It funny how I never here about the prosecution complaining about not having enough time to prepare their case, or about any rulings made by the judges presiding over the case? Maybe we should allow Rod to extend his paid reality TV\media tour and continue to undermine, and criticized both our legal system and law enforcement at every opportunity, or give him another 1.5 million in addition to the 2.2 million he already has for attorney’s representation paid for by Illinois taxpayers? Maybe we should give him back his assets confiscated by the federal government? Oh thats right he was not charged under RICO or the ClassX law. How about not indicting Patti? Oh thats right the FBI did not want to take his corrupted wife from his children. Rod and his legal team did not seem to be concerned with changing his trial date during his state wide media tour? As far as I am concern Rod and his entire family have gotten more consideration than anyone in Illinois history, and now it is time to pay the piper. As an Illinois Taxpayer I would like to thank the FBI for doing nothing short of a great job catching this scumbag and hope the Supreme Court supports your efforts just like the lower courts did? Because if left up to Illinois; Rod would still be on a political crime spree; him and King Rat Quinn. To all the fallen officers may God continue to bless you, and watch over your families! Sorry that your deaths are not getting all the media attention and consideration this scumbag is getting. God bless law enforcement.

Oh come on Blago, stand up and take the trial with the "testicular verility" you supposedly have. If you didn't do the crime, what do you have to lose? Complaining about jury selection doesn't make you a sympathetic character, it pretty much shows your guilt.

DELAY BABY DELAY. COMPLAIN BABY COMPLAIN. GO TO JAIL BABY.... (drum roll....) GO TO JAIL BABY.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on May 25, 2010 9:12 PM.

Blagojevich's mug shot was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich lawyers today will ask judge to restart jury screening is the next entry in this blog.

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