During our Wednesday evening 6:00 newscast we posed a question that made me uneasy. As we led into the report on jury deliberations in a local murder trial we asked..."Why is it taking so long (to reach a verdict?)"
Webster defines DELIBERATION as "a discussion and consideration by a group of persons of the reasons for or against a measure." DELIBERATION comes from the root word DELIBERATE... defined as "a characterization by or resulting from careful and thorough discussion."
We posed the question at the end of the second day of deliberations... a total of some 12-13 hours. It seems like a relatively short time when you look at the facts of what this jury is trying to decide. Remember, the defendant, Timothy Johnson has admitted to killing two people at a tailgating party outside Carter-Finley Stadium last fall. There's no question of his guilt or innocence in the deaths of two young men. The questions before the jury involve his motivation, state of mind and awareness of his actions. These are questions that deserve careful consideration by those who have heard ALL the testimony. For journalists, who have not been there day in and day out and more importantly who are not in the jury room, patience seems more appropriate.
Two lives have already been lost...families are forever shattered.
Fortunately the US Constitution prohibits instant justice. Something we'll strive to remember.