Extended jury leave could have big impact on jurors

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Twelve jurors, eight men and four women, ranging in age from early 30s to 60s will decide Christopher Deedy’s fate.

“It’s an important duty because when you are sitting where Deedy is sitting, you want 12 people who really care about their obligation to this constitution,” University of Hawaii School of Law professor Kenneth Lawson said.

But after more than 20 days of testimony and a weeks worth of deliberations, the pressure can build for a juror to reach a final verdict.

“Early on in the process they took an initial vote to see where everybody stands. From there, it’s a back-and-forth between the jurors to try and reach a unanimous verdict,” criminal defense attorney Jason Burks said.

“When you are locked in with 12 people, some of them you like and some of them you probably can’t stand by now,” Lawson said.

For this tough and time-consuming job, they get paid $30 a day plus gas money. An employer may or not give them their normal wages.

“A lot of times when I would try a case and then the verdict would be reached and go back and talk to jurors, they would be exhausted,” Lawson said.

Lawyers and law professors say that added outside pressures can weigh on a juror.

“Something that no matter what your decision in the end is, there will be people critical of you. People in the media are critical in a high-profile case like this,” Burks said.

“Are you making a decision as a juror based on the evidence or based on what you think others will say about you?” Lawson asked.

It’s a decision the jurors will have to carry with them.

“The process for the state of Hawaii and for the defendant, especially when you are down there changing lives, do you know how many lives get changed based on what goes on in that jury room? I mean changed forever,” Lawson said.

KHON2 has put in requests with the court to hear from jurors after a verdict is reached.

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