Fri August 13, 2010
Former judge discusses Blagojevich jury
By Dan Klefstad
Rockford, IL – Legal experts have been watching the case against former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich carefully. Paul Logli is a former judge who's also a former Winnebago County State's Attorney.
Logli says it's bad news for the prosecution when a jury takes two weeks to deliberate and decides on two charges out of 24. He says prosecutors have, by now, lowered their expectations: "They're saying to themselves `Give us a handful of counts. Give us the right 2, 3, 4, or 5 counts of guilty and a mistrial on everything else.' As long as they have a chance to keep Rod Blagojevich in court and subject to sentencing provisions."
Logli has also been watching the actions of the presiding judge in this case. He says it's important for Judge James Zagel to follow proper procedures. For example, he cannot have direct communication with jurors. Instead, he says everything is being done through notes passed from the jury to the judge. The judge responds by passing notes back, but ONLY after conferring with both the prosecution and the defense, with the defendants present.
Logli says this procedure is required by the Constitution. Any deviation could result in the case being overturned on appeal.