Orie jury foreman: 'No one likes to do what we did'

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Saturday was the turning point in the jury deliberations in case against state Sen. Jane Orie.

The jury of five men and seven women struggled throughout the day with the 24 individual counts.

That evening, they reported to Judge Jeffrey A. Manning that they had reached a "serious impasse."

He told them to soldier on.

"Saturday was our hardest day, easily," said the foreman, who asked that his name not be used. "It was the most important day of all."

The jurors began their deliberations Thursday afternoon and were sequestered at a Downtown hotel for the duration.

"The sequestration was difficult, a surprise. None of us saw that coming," he said. "We were just exhausted."

Even in their frustration, though, the jurors asked themselves, "Are we going to do what it takes as a group of committed citizens?" the foreman said. "We renewed our efforts, and Sunday was a productive day."

The panel spent more than 13 hours deliberating on Sunday -- never once asking the judge a question or giving any indication what was happening. They ordered their dinner in so they wouldn't lose time going out.

"We rolled up our sleeves again," the foreman said. "We dug in to the evidence. We worked as hard as we could as a group."

The jurors spent Sunday and Monday going over every element to every count.

"We were passionate about it. We took it very seriously," the foreman said. "We committed to each other again and again, we were going to make it through this."

He talked about the lasting friendships that have been formed and said the jurors have already planned a reunion.

The foreman said he has never been involved in anything like it.

"None of us have slept for four nights," he said. "This is a life this is impacting. We never lost sight of the impact of our decision on another human being.

"No one likes to do what we did, but we're proud of what we did."

Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620. First Published March 27, 2012 4:00 AM


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