Thursday, August 15, 2013

A question that needs to be answered: Who was the Hattiesburg election contest jury foreman?

If you'll recall, the Hattiesburg election contest trial apparently had ended in favor of challenger Dave Ware when the jury foreman wrote a note to Judge William Coleman announcing a 9-3 vote to declare Ware the winner of the mayoral race.  But when the jurors were polled, the number was 8-4, not 9-3.  State law requires that 9 of 12 jurors agree on a civil verdict, so a mistrial was eventually declared.  

The immediate speculation amongst Ware supporters was that one of the 4 jurors who voted to let the election results stand must have been too intimidated by DuPree and his supporters to state their "real" vote in public.  (As an aside, this fits hand-in-glove with the belief amongst many white conservatives that black politicians are all Boss Tweed types who bully and intimidate their way into office.)

But now that four jurors from that trial have come forward and sworn affidavits saying the vote was never 9-3, that speculation is baseless.  The real question now is this: Who was the jury foreman in that trial who reported to Judge Coleman an erroneous vote total, and why did he do so?

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