Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Tale of Two Jurors

The GOP is all over the report that two jurors from the Georgia Thompson trial have asserted they think Thompson's actions were based on pressure she received from her superiors.

In an attempt to bolster the legitimacy of the two, the Republican Party keeps asserting that they are in a unique position to pass judgment on the "Why did she do it?" question because they sat through hours of testimony during the trial (as if no one else was in the courtroom).

Yet, interestingly, the "Why did she do it?" question wasn't central to the trial -- even the prosecuting attorney has said that. The trial was about the "Did she do it?" question and that's all. In fact, no direct evidence was presented at trial that demonstrated Thompson was acting under the explicit will of her superiors.

So to say these jurors are uniquely qualified to judge why Thompson did what she did is ridiculous. And to claim they are uniquely qualified because they sat through all of the testimony is even more ridiculous because the testimony they heard wasn't directly aimed at answering the "Why did she do it?" question.

Answering the "why" question wasn't a necessary component of convicting Thompson -- the testimony they heard put them in a unique position to answer the "did" question and that's it.

If other people were involved in wrongdoing, then prosecute them. If not, then let's get on with discussing the numerous substantive issues that are facing Wisconsin this election season.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you are not correct. "Why" absolutely was part of the trial. The charges centered on her rigging the bid in order to please her bosses and advance her career or secured her employment. Why did she do it? Career security.

Did she do it under orders? That is the part that was left unclear. I say yes. I think most people will come to the same conclusion. Why would this non-political person manipulate the scores? Logic would tell you that she was told to. The jurors are saying they think Doyle was the one giving the order.

June 15, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

There's a difference between a question that comes up at trial and a question that's central to a trial. If you're the same anonymous commenter as my last post on the subject, we already established that proving the "why" wasn't necessary to getting a conviction.

If that's the case, then these jurors (and the rest of the public, for that matter) have not heard everything there is to hear on the "why" question -- as the RPW is making out -- because it wasn't the focus of the trial.

If the "why" question was central, different evidence would've been presented, different witnesses would've been called, and different questions would've been asked of those witnesses. In short, it would've been a different trial.

That's the point I'm making in this post. It's to call into question the high stature given to these two jurors on the issue of why Thompson did what she did.

Just as the "did" question would surely arise at a trial focused on the "why" question, it makes sense for the "why" question to arise at a trial focused on the "did" question. But that doesn't mean those two scenarios would result in the same trial -- in fact, they almost certainly would look different.

June 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We may be saying the same thing, just a different way. The charges against her had a certain level of "why" attached. In other words, she rigged the bid for a specific reason. The prosecution said that this reason was for job enhancement. So, my "why" is narrow in that the felony charge needed a "why" to hold. I think you are using the "why" in a broader sense that deals with the potential influence from her bosses.

While Biskupic did not specifically target that aspect of possible coercion in the trial, some of the evidence presented certainly implied that was the case. Marotta's phone calls for example would certainly lead a reasonable person to believe that there was communication between MM and Adleman. This is what the jurors are referring to, I beleive.

On a slightly different note, I have spoken with a few Dem friends on this and they keep telling me that she acted alone and her motivation was simply to impress her bosses, not react to their pressure. However, at trial the defense said that GT had absolutely no knowledge of the political ties between Adleman and Doyle. If she did not know of the ties between them, how would she know that Adleman was the preferred client?

June 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would she want to "impress her bosses" if she didn't think that rigging this bid would get her kudos from her higher ups?

your dem friends are admitting there is a culture of corruption in Jim Doyle's administration

June 15, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

Again, my post is about the RPW talking point that the jurors are in the best position to answer the "why" question -- that's it.

As for why Thompson did what she did, it could be a myriad of reasons. I don't think she thought she was doing anything wrong, and I certainly don't think she was being pressured to act in a certain way by people above her.

I don't know why your Dem friends (I don't know them) said what they did, so it's pointless for me to comment. It'd be like me grabbing a Republican off the street, asking what they think of the case, relaying it to you, and then demanding you explain why they said it. What's the point of a game like that?

The culture of corruption charge is weak. The fact is, so far, this case started with Georgia Thompson and it's ended with Georgia Thompson. The Republicans are just looking for something to hit Doyle with because they can't find anything to bolster their own candidate.

We'll just wait and see, though, what the prosecution does next. If it's something, let the conversation continue. If it's nothing, then let's just drop it and get on with the real issues facing Wisconsin this election year.

June 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mean like Doyle's nearly 3-billion dollar deficit?

yeah, that's a good issue too

June 16, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

I write about that here.

The $2.6 billion figure is pure GOP spin. The actual figure cited by the LFB in its analysis -- which it completes before every budget cycle -- was $1.54 billion. And that figure doesn't include annual increases in revenue, which are expected to total $1.45 billion over the next two years, making the projected deficit $90 million, which is a very manageable number.

Before Doyle took office, after 16 years of Republican governors, the LFB projected two-year deficit (minus projected revenue increases) was $2.9 billion -- almost twice what it is now.

But, to answer your question directly, yes, these are the types of debates we should be having. It just turns out that on this issue, the GOP's got nothing...except, that is, their spin.

June 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you admit that Doyle lied when he said he balanced the budget

June 16, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

No. He did balance the 2005-07 budget -- he dug us out of a significant hole that existed after the 2001-03 budget.

The 2007-09 budget will be balanced, too, but the process for that hasn't started, yet.

Speaking of a balanced budget, how did Mark Green do while serving as a member of the Republican-controlled Congress alongside a Republican-controlled White House? Adding $2.6 trillion to the national debt over a mere five year span doesn't sound too balanced to me.

June 16, 2006  
Anonymous passing by said...

Speaking of a balanced budget, how did Mark Green do while serving as a member of the Republican-controlled Congress alongside a Republican-controlled White House? Adding $2.6 trillion to the national debt over a mere five year span doesn't sound too balanced to me.

BAM! BOOM!

something tells me anonymous won't respond...

June 19, 2006  

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