With Stewart Verdict, The Jury Was Right


The verdict in the Martha Stewart trial surprised a lot of people who figured those 12 people could not possibly subject America's finest hostess to potential jail time.

Yet, she was found guilty of obstructing an investigation, conspiracy and lying to investigators. She now faces up to 20 years in prison.

The jury did what juries are supposed to do, make a decision based on the strength of the evidence -- not Stewart's talent for creating extravagant desserts.

Stewart, however, has not been charged with insider trading, which is perplexing considering she sold her ImClone stock shortly after her friend, and CEO of the company, dumped $8 million of his stock -- all this occurred the day before the FDA rejected a cancer drug the biotech company manufactured. This is not a coincidence.

For a woman worth millions of dollars, losing $51,000 hardly seems a reason to risk her empire.

The public thought Stewart would get off as her stock rose steadily throughout the day it was pronounced the jury had rendered a verdict.

Once the verdict was announced, shares plummeted 20 percent.

After the O.J. Simpson trial, many of us lost faith in juries. One juror, who found the former football star not-guilty of killing his wife and her friend, said, "this case had nothing to do with domestic violence."

Obviously she was not taking into account the statistic that 80 percent of female homicides are committed by intimate partners -- not the enormous amount of DNA, circumstantial evidence, and his suicidal ride toward the border in his Bronco.

The Stewart trial was not as complex, and scientific evidence did not play a major role, limiting the jury's need to understand abstract concepts.

Either Stewart lied or she didn't.

Regardless of the facts, juries still have the right to make decisions based on something other than the facts. This is called jury nullification. Rarely are those decisions overturned, regardless of how ludicrous they are.

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