By: Julia Duggan
Senior Staff Writer
The Senators in the impeachment trial did not behave in the court of law as they should have. I give the lawyers credit — most court cases in the United States have six to 12 jurors. This trial had 100. Some juries that have six jurors end up in hung juries because they cannot come to a majority on a decision about what was shown in the court.
To get a majority in one way or the other involving 100 jurors is impressive, but it can be hard to keep the jurors in line. To be fair, courts have had problems in the past with jurors disregarding rules of acting in a courtroom, but those jurors have been ejected. The senators that did not behave ethically in the second impeachment trial stayed and voted.
Jurors are supposed to attend all the days of the trial and be present for deliberating, voting and hearing the verdict. 15 senators did not attend the day The Senate was voting on the case. According to an article published by The New York Times, that is a crime and comes with a fine.
Jurors are not supposed to interact with any of the lawyers outside of the courtroom. Senator Lindsey Graham met with Donald Trump’s legal team outside the courtroom during the time the trial was commencing. According to a document on procedures for courtroom etiquette written by the United States Government, an alarming number of senators violated the rules of being an ethical juror.
The very first thing stated in the document about courtroom etiquette is that no juror is allowed to have a newspaper or magazine while court is in session. Jurors are supposed to be attentive and give both sides equal attention.
Several senators were seen reading documents on other issues, and they were not even trying to hide it. According to Business Insider Senator Josh Hawley was sitting in the gallery, not on the main floor with the other 99, reading material in hand, feet up on the seat in front of him, blatantly not paying attention.
At least all the jurors in the trial were not speaking to each other when the trial was commencing except for one instance according to the BBC. If a juror sat in the audience and not with the rest of the jury, they most likely would have been dismissed.
Jurors are sworn under oath to leave any opinions they have of any individuals mentioned in the trial, outside the courtroom. They are required to remain attentive and give each side equal weight. The avid readers present in the chamber definitely violated this. They were focused on reading other upcoming items for the senate in the future and nothing about the current case.
Some that made sure to be obvious, had already decided their opinion and were not giving equal weight to the sides. Jurors are also not allowed to conduct any outside research or visit any of the people or places mentioned in the trial while the trial is happening — Graham should have been dismissed immediately as a juror.
Jurors are also not allowed to talk about the case with anyone, including friends, families and reporters. In addition, jurors are to avoid any and all news coverage of the trial. All the senators that commented on a news article about anything that happened in the courtroom should have been dismissed.
“To meet their responsibility, jurors must decide the facts and apply the law impartially,” quotes the document mentioned above. “They must not favor the rich or the poor. They must treat alike all men and women, corporations and individuals. Justice should be rendered to all persons without regard to race, color, religion, or sex.”
I think we can all agree that this did not happen here. According to this document alone, close to half of the senators in the Senate Chamber that took part as jurors in this trial should have been dismissed. Normally, in state and federal court, if jurors misbehave this can cause a new trial, with a completely new set of jurors.
However, the trial at hand was an impeachment trial, and there is no pool of senators that have not already heard the case to bring in. This trial in the senate should have been sent to the Supreme Court due to the unethical actions taken by the senators. Like individuals in a state or federal courtroom, the American people deserve a fair trial.