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Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Juror Refuses to Cave to Pressure

Earl Jordan of Huntsville, Alabama, must be one unusual dude.

If ever there was a go-along-to-get-along society, it is America 2008. If ever there has been a time and place where people are quick to dispense with principles for the sake of expediency, it is right here, right now.

Don Henley, one of our musical heroes here at Legal Schnauzer, calls this a "post-postmodern world" in the song "They're Not Here, They're Not Coming."

But Earl Jordan evidently is not part of our world of convenience. And so he refused to give in to pressure from 11 fellow jurors who wanted to convict Alabama representative Sue Schmitz in a federal fraud prosecution that a number of legal observers had said was stunningly weak.

"Let's at least convict on one fraud count," the other jurors said. "Nope," said Jordan.

That led to a mistrial. And it let us know that at least one gentleman in north Alabama will stick to his guns.

"I didn't think she was guilty," Jordan told reporter David Holden of The Huntsville Times. "I didn't think she intended to defraud anyone."

Jordan said other jurors accused him of refusing to deliberate. "But that is not true," Jordan said. "I just wouldn't agree with them."

Schmitz had received positive evaluations until she was dismissed, and Jordan said that played a major role in his decision.

Thoughts of this document called the U.S. constitution also were on Jordan's mind.

"I live in this county and I believe in the Constitution," he said. "I believe I can say that a person is not guilty. I'm not going to let anybody take that away from me. They tried to."

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