Kilpatrick trial: The case of the sleeping juror - FOX 10 News |

Kilpatrick trial: The case of the sleeping juror

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SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (MyFox Detroit) -

There was a lot of chatter today at the courthouse about the somnolent juror.

And by chatter, I mean nattering by reporters speculating on the purpose of the quick meeting Judge Nancy Edmunds called with the lawyers at the start of the morning's first break.

Since testimony started last week, the courtroom has been atwitter -- not to be confused with being on Twitter, which is strictly verboten from the courtroom -- about a juror who occasionally has closed his or her eyes for extended periods. (I use "his or her" not because the juror is androgynous -- on the contrary, they are a fine specimen of their gender -- but because the judge has threatened to stone any reporter who makes more than a vague reference that could identify a juror. So, to keep things copacetic, henceforth I will refer to the juror as "Pat.")

Courtroom observers say Pat fought valiantly today with the Sand Man, but ultimately surrendered, putting his or her chin in his or her hands to get a good start on an apparently sorely-needed 40 winks.

I have a pretty good vantage point on the jury, but I didn't notice Pat nod off. I don't doubt my fellow reporters, though they occasionally get a little carried away. Last week, for example, a colleague nudged me to point out that one of the older jurors had faded out. I could see, however, that he simply had his head down while earnestly scribbling notes.

It's worth noting that since jury selection began on Sept. 6, I've seen more than a few of the defendants and the lawyers hang their heads involuntarily (but, thankfully, I haven't spotted any droolers). Even I was accused of zoning out one day last week. My accuser was wrong. That time. As for other occasions, well, I'll just take the Fifth.

While a juror who can't absorb the arguments is a serious matter -- particularly this early on in a trial that is expected to last four months -- there are a few issues worth considering before giving Pat a night cap and thanking him or her for his or her time.

First, before putting all the blame on Pat's shoulders, the lawyers may want to consider how their occasionally tedious and methodical questioning could anesthetize a spastic.

Second, most of the folks out on the street -- the very peers we want to sit in judgment of us -- would have a hard time keeping their eyelids apart during some of the testimony. (Example: "Would you please look at this piece of paper?" "OBJECTION! How do we know it's paper?" "Sustained. Please provide evidence that the thing in your hand was once part of a tree…")

Third, if you're having trouble staying up for the stars of the federal bar on Monday morning, it may be because you were under the stars shutting the bars on Sunday night.

That last point may make you a less than ideal candidate for this jury, it makes you exactly my kind of person for a night on the town!

In the meantime, Pat, keep your chin up. Remember, we're all in this together ...

Follow M.L. Elrick's coverage of the Kilpatrick & Co. trial daily on Fox 2 and at Contact him at or via Twitter or Facebook.

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