How to Avoid Reporting That Jury Is Deadlocked

Rosie DiManno was in Sacramento on Monday when the jury had started deliberating at 1:21 p.m. P.T.

FULL TEXT: Read Rosie DiManno’s full report »

I live and breathe American justice — especially as a sex crimes reporter. I wanted to go — but I wouldn’t be one of the press who would try to get in there and tweet.

After this long trial, the sight of them getting on their jury is the only thing that could make me feel any sense of relief — I still hadn’t been told of the verdicts at that point, and what a world full of jurors is — and now I’m hoping. I want to go see them, hug them, see how they’re holding up.

But here’s what I would not want to see: What many reporters have been tweeting: that the jury, which was widely seen as a redoubt of women and moderate liberals, thought Kyle Rittenhouse was guilty of a premeditated rape and was unable to reach a unanimous decision. I believe those tweets are completely out of line.

I’ve heard it from a number of sources, and I think the tweets come from Twitter users who are just looking for a good story. And it’s a big story. It’s not the jury that’s wrong, but the culture. We’re used to women dominating these proceedings. Now it’s more men.

So what if the jury didn’t reach a unanimous verdict? They could have later agreed on a more favorable verdict. What is the value of losing a verdict for the initial verdict, especially when rape is an obvious “strike” when the jury begins weighing the facts of a case?

The truth is that any woman who steps forward to report sexual assault is going to have a hard time achieving an impartial verdict. Because our society has condemned them to a position of helplessness — powerless to present their stories and vulnerable to the law — women at some point — often after the fact — become angry. They feel an additional blow when the powerful men who raped them are eventually found not guilty — they may question whether their pain was real. And then we are told that the justice system fails them.

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