Jury struggles to find verdict in corruption trial for ex-Mayor Kilpatrick – but what’s that mean?

kilpatrick, kwameThe fate of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick rests in the hands of a jury that can’t seem to make up its mind.

Today, 12 jurors gathered behind closed doors for the eighth day of deliberations in the high-profile corruption case.

What does this mean? Probably nothing, legal experts said.

The more complex the charges are, the longer juries tend to deliberate, according to the study, “Time to Deliberate: Factors Influencing the Duration of Jury Deliberation.” The study also found that deliberations tend to take longer when jury selection drags on, which happened in this case because of the desire to select a racially diverse panel.

Eight days of deliberation are relatively uncommon, but they happen. In 2003, jurors took four months and still couldn’t reach verdicts on 27 counts against police accused of planting evidence and assaulting suspects in California.

By contrast, O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murder in less than three hours.

The only people who know what’s happening in the jury room are the eight women and four men who are weighing the evidence. The panel has emerged just twice – both times to ask questions about extortion charges.

The judge has a few tools to move deliberations along, including asking whether the jury is deadlocked and should declare a hung jury. In that case, Kilpatrick likely would be re-tried.

Got tips or suggestions? Contact Steve atsneavling@gmail.com.

Steve Neavling is an investigative journalist, a freelance reporter for Reuters and former city hall reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Living on the city’s east side, Neavling explores corruption andthe underbelly of an oft-misunderstood city.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.