Court - We Can't Produce the Surveys...
Detailed questionnaires filled out by jurors in the trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich were destroyed after the jury had been picked, a clerk for U.S. District Judge James Zagel said Wednesday.
The surprise disclosure came as the Tribune was delivering a letter to Zagel from its lawyer asking that the questionnaires be made public.
Zagel's clerk, contacted last week by a Tribune reporter about the release of the questionnaires, e-mailed Wednesday that the questionnaires couldn't be released because they no longer physically existed.
The forms typically ask a long list of questions — from what they read to any political bias they might have — so lawyers on both sides get a better feel for prospective jurors, as well as to limit the questions that must be asked in open court during jury selection.
The release of the questionnaires during former Gov. George Ryan's trial proved crucial for the Tribune to discover during deliberations in 2006 that two jurors had concealed arrest records. The jurors were dismissed, two alternates added and the jury restarted deliberations.
Golly, the coincidences just keep piling up.