I was contacted this week by an Orie juror who I learned shares several mutual friends with me.
He took great care to show me pictures that proved he was on the jury, such as pictures of the jury instructions, etc.
His name is Joe Rostan and he took the time to email me his feelings about the trial, the sisters, and which way he thought his fellow jurors were leaning. He said the jury was given no gag order or any instructions about not talking to the media. Simply dismissed and told thank you for their service.
This is Joe and his words follow.
Because it is a quite lengthy post, I’ve put half of it behind a “more” link. Click to read the rest.
On being picked for the jury:
When I showed up for jury duty, I knew they were picking jurors for that trial. I got called in to be interviewed and with every intention of trying to get out of it. How I planned to act, and how I acted changed dramatically when being questioned by the assistant DA, a judge, several attorneys, a senator, and all of them with paperwork that already seemed as though they did an initial non-scientific background check on me. They knew I was picked from voter registration records and I was republican. They had papers that had google URLs on them. So, making up reasons why I wasn’t a suitable juror wasn’t worth looking like a fucktard (my word… Use it as you wish. Most people like it) and… I was on the jury.
On at what point in time the forged documents were first introduced:
Those documents were first introduced by the defense when Jamie Pavlot was cross examined by Costopolous, the attorney for the senator. Now, they were introduced at that time, but we were not able to see them because Jamie Pavlot methodically denied ever seeing any of the handwritten notations on them. (She verified that the documents were written to her, with her email address, from the senator, but DENIED ever seeing the hand written notations of them) About 50 documents as I recall. Then, the documents were brought up again when the senator took the stand. My impression was that because those docs being such a big part of their case, the senator needed to identify them since her chief of staff couldn’t. I question whether the senator would have taken the stand at all if the defense didn’t NEED to get those entered into evidence and have the jury see them.
When the senator was on the stand, she was cross examined. The snip and pasted signature was on a document that outlined policy within the legislative office. It was signed by the employee and Jamie Pavlot (allegedly). The document boldly stated on the second page of the 2 page document that “No comp time would be given for work that was political in nature” and something about doing that work on your personal time. Mr. Claus asked the senator if she noticed the signature was odd. And whether or not she noticed the crookedness of the signing. (namely, that the signature line didn’t line up with the obviously printed line) and that the last “s” in the word “Witness” was cut off (or covered as it may be). The senator said that she didn’t see anything wrong with it. And then the questioning moved on. The jury, like I said, all raised a brow when it was pointed out.
Almost all of those handwritten notes, introduced by the defense while Jamie Pavlot was on the stand for the Commonwealth, were on printed off emails. Come on! Who prints off an email, writes a response on it with a pen, then hands it to the person who sent it to you!?!? No way. You get an email, you click reply, type what you need to say and click send. Done. Those handwritten notations were so descriptive and pertinent to the case, it seemed way too planted. Then the cut (with scissors) and pasted (with glue) signature from Jamie Pavlot that looks like it slipped out of place when put face down on the copier.
On Janine Orie:
My impression of Janine Orie was that she had a minimal amount of contact with the legislative staff. While working for the Judge Orie Melvin, she did work with a paid fundraiser. And the senator was the pro-life caucus leader in the senate and had actual legislative duty to write letters of reference on her behalf. She just happened to be related to her too. She would have surely been found not guilty. The jury hardly considered her when we spoke.
On why he had reasonable doubt:
I tried to imagine what non-work things I did at various jobs I’ve had. The way the Asst. DA made it sound and the way he methodically pointed out, “You sent an email!!! On a senate computer!!! During the day!!!!!” My God, the stick up this guy’s ass. Geez. I felt guilty for every YouTube video, happy hour planning email, funny cat with lime peel on its head picture I’ve ever looked at or read at work. Everyone I know has done something of that nature. Some of their presentation was really pushing it a little.
The reasonable doubt came from 61 character witnesses. The woman seemed like a workaholic. Driven. And expected a lot of her staff. The staff DID HAVE A VESTED INTEREST IN MAKING SURE SHE WAS RE-ELECTED. If she wasn’t re-elected, they didn’t have jobs. I did see records supporting that work was done on personal time, off the clock in one form or the other. There was room for interpretation. Reasonable doubt.
One thing was when it was pointed out that, as it was documented by email and text records, that the senator (hold on to your hats!) sent an email to someone from her blackberry to their senate email address! It was asked “why couldn’t you have called her!?!?” by the prosecution. The senator looked up at the projected screen, and said “it was 1:30 in the morning, she has 6 kids. I wasn’t going to call her then. My blackberry had that email set as a default. I didn’t think about it.” That point was noticed by the jury. That she was doing all sorts of work during any hour. She owed the state 7.5 hours a day… And they got a lot more than that.
On why the forgeries didn’t cause a halt immediately to proceedings:
As far as why an issue wasn’t brought up about it before going into deliberations, I can only speculate. Perhaps that is when they found the exact matching signature on another document? Perhaps when the document was on the screen was the first time Mr. Claus noticed it and asked the senator about it on a whim and didn’t have time to develop the issue? Perhaps since the jury was in the second day of deliberations, and the prosecution thought a quicker verdict pointed to guilty, they saved that bit of info to stop the whole thing? I don’t know why it took a few extra days for it to come out.
The jury’s reaction to the mistrial:
The jury was frustrated. Sitting through the entire trial, you can imagine that most wanted to finally do our part… and do what we were called to do. Instead, the jury was stopped abruptly and relieved in a matter of hours. I don’t think any of the jury envied the next group to hear the case. It was grueling. Many battled home and personal issues. One woman’s grandmother died during the trial. She was given 3 hours. 3 HOURS! Told to be back by the end of lunch the following day. That’s tough. I personally took a big financial hit being on the jury. Thousands of dollars lost. My employer gave me the time, but did not pay me while I was gone.
On which way the jury was leaning:
I think the jury would have found Janine (the sister) not guilty.
I think the jury would have found Jane Orie not guilty as well, based on reasonable doubt and the very specific instructions given to us by the judge after he instructed us on the law… ON SOME OF THE CHARGES. On other charges, I think it would have taken some time to come to a conclusion. I would have initially voted for a non-guilty verdict across the board, based on the evidence the jury was presented. Remember, we weren’t privy to all the news stories and side show stuff everyone else was. Some of the evidence was just really stretching it as to what was being done.