Shakespeare wrote "all that is past is prologue" and that's an apt characterization of ALL the books written by pundits and commentators and family about the crime and/or trial. They have all articulated their feelings, their sorrows - each eloquent in their own distinct way and adding to the mosaic of this story.
But until now the jurors have been silent, except for the 3 who spoke in the news conference immediately after the penalty phase and the few others who have appeared on talk shows. There has not been - not until now - a definitive book solely focused on what they thought, how they felt, how they reacted, what they responded to -- how and why. Many words have been shared about how others thought they felt, but until now, we didn't know. Swertlow et al have answered those questions, filled in those gaps, and provided insights that no one has previously collected.
Scott's fate did not hang on the pundits, nor the family nor the public's desire to convict him from the outset. It was - as it should have been - up to the jury. Swertlow has captured their thought process, feelings, attitudes and anger - how they truly felt about the evidence, the attorneys, the court.
I am struck by how a few people are writing to criticize the jurors for their actions or beliefs but I would say, not in defense of the jurors per se but in awe of the process, this is their book! This is their account of the trial.
Many observers have written about how they felt about the evidence, and with all due respect, this is interesting only in passing because, in the end, only the juror's vote mattered.
Is this book definitive? Up to a point. Important and clarifying? Absolutely!
Up until now so many of the Peterson library seem to be books more interested in telling readers what the authors thought about the case as either eyewitnesses to the court or consumers of pop justice through the media. Swertlow has gone to the source -- those who listened and ultimately rendered the verdict of guilty and then death. The verdict about this book is equally clear offering an unparalleled insight into the minds of those who's thinking mattered the most.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars Insight into jurors agonizing decision......, January 1, 2007
By Sanity "Case follower" (Chicago, IL) - See all my reviews
I followed this case closely and have read every book put out about Scott and Laci Peterson. This one was a quick read and not very well written but it did provide some very important insight into the trial. For one thing, I learned how truly agonizing this process was for these jurors. Between the emotional impact of seeing the photos of Laci and Connor's remains to having to decide the fate of a young man and serving about six months on a highly-publicized trial - this was grueling for them. Having followed this case like I have, I do believe these jurors weighed the evidence very carefully and were exceedingly careful and law-abiding in determining their verdict. Having said that, I feel I must respond to "Wary Citizen Pete's" review:
HOW is it obvious from reading this book that these jurors "had their minds made up before opening statements"? There is NO evidence of that. The defense had an eminent jury consultant in Jo-Ellan Demitrius in helping to select this jury so, I do not at all see how that is true. As far as pre-trial publicity and leaks from law enforcement - this is not an uncommon occurrence with a highly publicized trial. There have been many cases with tons of pre-trial publicity. Is every highly publicized case therefore "prejudiced"? As the judge in the Scott Peterson trial said, "we have to live with the media". The trial was moved to another venue to help ensure the defense a fair trial. Also, Scott's own repeatedly bizarre behavior did not help at all with keeping a lid on the publicity. If anything, Scott's evasion, lies, and strange behavior fueled an already raging case.
I'd also like to know....how were these jurors lazy, prejudiced, mean-spirited, and deeply flawed people who thought they were on a soap opera!? What terribly mean things to say about these men and women who had to take six months out of their lives to sit on this jury! Where does "Wary Citizen Pete" get this idea about these people he doesn't even know?!? And, by the way, by law there doesn't have to be forensic evidence to get a conviction. The judge instructed the jury that circumstantial evidence was to be given the same weight as direct evidence. And all that circumstantial evidence - from the secret boat, to the "I lost my wife" comments, to the car loaded up with water purifyers and $15K, to the location of the bodies (and more) - all pointed directly at Scott Peterson - there was no REASONABLE doubt. You could float a whole bunch of disconnected, unreasonable, alternate theories - but the connect-the-dots, reasonable picture added up to Scott Peterson.
And I do not believe the "media" prejudiced this process. Before and throughout this trial, every major show from Greta van Sustren to Larry King, Sean Hannity, etc. ALL had rounded-out panels that debated this case vigorously. There were always defense experts present on these panels. All sides were well represented in the media coverage of this trial. Further, Scott had an attorney who was a media-hound who knew full well how to handle the media. Between Scott's million-dollar media-savvy attorney, his expensive jury expert Jo-Ellan Demitrius and a change of venue for the trial, it's hard to say that "poor Scott Peterson" didn't get a fair trial. Please. Let's look at the thousands of other criminals in this country and examine how their trials proceed. Scott's case had immense scrutiny. Any and all screw-ups in his judicial process would be out there for all to see.
As far as Scott getting a new trial - that is not a foregone conclusion as Mr. Wary-Citizen seems to believe. There must be serious trial error for the verdict to be over-turned. Scott will be spending a very long time in San Quentin before the possiblity of any new trial even looms on the horizon. In the mean-time, I have no doubt after reading this book that these jurors are sleeping comfortably knowing in their hearts that they did the right thing under very difficult circumstances.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars We, the Jury, January 27, 2007
By S. Stewart - See all my reviews
If you followed the Scott Peterson trial closely, this is a must read. Very interesting, well written, and informative. Couldn't put it down!