Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In Russia, Jury Is Something to Work Around

New York Times
November 15, 2010

Iosif L. Nagle was watching a final curtain at his small theater company when he saw two young men waiting for him in the audience. They didn’t look like patrons of the arts — something about their faces marked them as law enforcement — and Mr. Nagle bundled up and followed them out into the cold.

A few minutes later the three of them were talking over glasses of vodka. The subject was the jury that Mr. Nagle sat on, which, after four months of testimony, was leaning toward acquittal on some charges brought by the government.

The visitors, showing him cards that identified them as security officers, said it would be awful if such a bunch of criminals went unpunished. Would he consider, one of them said, withdrawing from the jury on the grounds of illness? Mr. Nagle said he had refused without a thought.

“I told them, ‘Why should I say I’m sick? You did your job badly, guys,’ ” said Mr. Nagle, 56. “ ‘Why did you bring an unsubstantiated case to court?’ ”