Did Peterson Jury Base Verdict On His Demeanor?


Jurors in California’s Scott Peterson murder trial have said that no single piece of evidence decided the case. Several have returned to one crucial point, says the Christian Science Monitor: Peterson never showed the slightest hint of grief, remorse, or sadness. With so little solid evidence, his demeanor seems to have played an unusually prominent role in the jury’s decisions. Legal experts worry that the emphasis on emotion reveals a more fundamental shift in juries nationwide, as Americans increasingly weigh “Law and Order” acts of contrition as much as actual evidence. “The drama of the courtroom and how you evaluate it is important,” says Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. “That has always been a part of the equation, but I’ve never heard it articulated as clearly as by this jury.”

Three jurors mentioned Peterson’s stoicism during the proceedings, suggesting that it would be unnatural for an innocent man to behave that way. process that would naturally occur,” he says. Some see a lesson for future high-profile cases. “These jurors received quite a bit of applause, literally, for what they did, and jurors like to be approved of,” says Levenson. “No jury wants to be vilified like the O.J. [Simpson] jury.”

Link: http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/1215/p02s02-usju.html

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