Trial in the Wecht case began January 28 and jury deliberations now in only their sixth day will resume on Tueday, April 1, exactly three weeks after hearing the last witness testify. What is of note is the painfully slow progress of the trial occasioned in part by the court’s habit of not holding trial on Friday’s, so that it could tend to other court business. On several other occasions, court was recessed for other reasons with the result being that from January 28 until the last witness was called on March 11, only 44 witnesses testified in 23 trial days.
Even MacBeth, Act V, Scene 5, would be unhappy that this trial has crept along at such a petty pace. That same slow pace has continued through jury deliberations. Jurors are deliberating only from 8:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. And, for the second consecutive week the jurors have been given a four day weekend.
This lack of continuity during deliberations is rare. Many judges in high profile cases will, if the jury has not been sequestered during trial, begin sequestration during deliberations. This practice insures that jurors devote their undivided attention to the case.
Last week, the jury submitted the following question to the Court: “Out of the 41 counts, if any one or more count the jury cannot come to unanimous agreement on, does that constitute a hung jury?” (sic) The court, of course, answered in the negative.
It will be interesting how this slow progress affects the outcome of the case. This reminds me of the first Scrushy trial, where he was acquitted following jury deliberations that took place in fits and starts over six weeks.