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Old 11-23-2005, 08:44 AM   #1
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John Kerry, Jury Foreman

As foreman, Kerry wins praise from fellow jurors

By Jonathan Saltzman, Globe Staff | November 23, 2005

Cynthia Lovell, a registered Republican, voted for President Bush a year ago, but during 90 minutes behind closed doors with his rival, Senator John F. Kerry, yesterday, she had to admit he was a smart, down-to-earth guy.

Joe Wesolaski, who works for a brokerage firm, declined to say how he voted but emerged from the same closed-door session praising Kerry as a natural leader who was eager to hear everyone's point of view.

Kerry the presidential candidate may have been a loser. But Kerry the jury foreman appeared to be a winner.

Massachusetts' junior senator led a Suffolk Superior Court jury that rejected a claim by two friends who sued a city worker for personal injuries they said stemmed from a car collision in August 2000 on Park Drive. The case lasted only two days, but it didn't take long for Kerry to win over his fellow jurors.

''I just found him to be a knowledgeable, normal person," said Lovell, a Charlestown nurse. ''He kept us focused. He wanted us all to have our own say."

Wesolaski said Kerry went around the table making sure his 11 fellow jurors felt they had an opportunity to air their opinions.

During breaks, Wesolaski and the senator discussed their mutual passion for bicycling. Wesolaski said he gave Kerry his phone number so they can arrange a bike ride.

As the jurors left the courtroom after the verdict, Kerry could be overhead promising Wesolaski he would call him.

''It was great, really a positive experience," Wesolaski said. ''I hope to hear from him."

Kerry, the only juror wearing a suit and tie, declined to discuss the case but told reporters afterward he was as surprised as anyone when no lawyer on either side sought to excuse him. He said he has been called for jury duty twice and got bounced both times because, he suspected, he had been a Middlesex County prosecutor in the 1970s.

The Democratic presidential candidate said he was delighted to participate in the trial, which had begun Monday.

''I enjoyed it," he said as he and a handful of jurors gathered for an impromptu news conference inside the courtroom at Suffolk Superior Court. ''It was very interesting and very instructive. Every citizen should do it."

Lovell said she sensed that Kerry wanted to keep a low profile during deliberations, but one of the jurors promptly suggested he be elected foreman because of his experience in the limelight and skills as a public speaker. Kerry agreed to do it and began discussing the evidence.

Lovell was so impressed by the senator that she said she regrets voting for Bush.

Kerry is one of several notable Massachusetts public officials to be called for jury service in recent months. In January, US Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer was called for jury duty in Marlborough. In July, Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston was summoned to Suffolk Superior Court. Both were excused.

But none of the lawyers in this case objected to Kerry being on the jury.

Glenn Fortier represented the plaintiffs, John Duarte and Taneiko Smith, who said they suffered strains and bruises in the accident with a car driven by the headmaster of Boston's Health Careers Academy. Two city lawyers attorneys defended Albert Holland, who allegedly passed their van on the right and collided with it.

Fortier said he was stunned to see Kerry sitting in the pool of perspective jurors Monday, but had no qualms about him serving. ''I think he's a very intelligent man, and I've had respect for everything he's accomplished," said Fortier, who voted for Bush.

Not everyone was happy with Kerry's presence on the jury, though. As the jury deliberated, Duarte, a 45-year-old Boston real estate manager, said that he was uneasy about a federal employee -- not to mention a US senator -- serving on a jury in which the defendant was a city worker. ''It's just too close together," said Duarte, who voted for Kerry.

When the jury returned moments later with a verdict that Kerry delivered in a firm voice, Duarte said his instincts had been right.

''I just think the city and state go hand in hand," he said, shaking his head. ''I don't think he should have gone on the jury."
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Old 11-23-2005, 09:10 AM   #2
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Just as I suspected. If he had run a more personable and intelligent campaign, he might have had a chance as president. "Might." People might say he was "too smart" in the last election, but I would say that if he was, it was in all the wrong manners. His campaign ads were just as vague as ever. I just don't think he or his campaign officials ever trusted in the potential intelligence of the American public. Americans, I've found, are genuinely interested in lots of things if you take the time to sit down and explain it to them without being condescending.

Unfortunately, the Bush Administration happens to be the exact opposite, and Kerry was little different. So the status quo was maintained.

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Old 11-23-2005, 10:04 AM   #3
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After reading that article I believe more than ever that Kerry just doesn't know how to translate how he can be in a situation like that to a much larger audience. There used to be stories like that during the campaign- people would say how great he was one on one, etc.

Is there any way to "teach" him to change that?
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Old 11-23-2005, 10:17 AM   #4
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John's a great guy, if only more voters had seen in him what I saw before the election. Well it's time to move on.
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Old 11-23-2005, 01:45 PM   #5
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I don't get people not voting for someone because he's "too smart." Why the fuck would anyone want a stupid president?
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Old 11-23-2005, 01:53 PM   #6
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^Because people want a president they can relate to. So...
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Old 11-23-2005, 02:05 PM   #7
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All politicians are pieces of shit, so why lament that one piece of shit isn't the President while another piece of shit is? Politicians are just about the worst citizens a country can have.
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Old 11-23-2005, 02:19 PM   #8
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All politicians are pieces of shit, so why lament that one piece of shit isn't the President while another piece of shit is? Politicians are just about the worst citizens a country can have.
I highly resent that statement. Not all politicians are so called pieces of "shit". There are still enough out there whose hearts really are in the right place. I'm sorry you're so cynical.
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Old 11-23-2005, 02:41 PM   #9
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Originally posted by VertigoGal
^Because people want a president they can relate to. So...
To me that's like wanting a surgeon I can relate to. If I have to have surgery I don't much care that I can relate to the surgeon, I want one who knows what he/she is doing and won't fuck up the job.

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Old 11-23-2005, 03:08 PM   #10
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To me that's like wanting a surgeon I can relate to. If I have to have surgery I don't much care that I can relate to the surgeon, I want one who knows what he/she is doing and won't fuck up the job.

My thoughts exactly. One of the many reasons why I was so angry after the election last year. To hear people say they voted for Dubya because they'd rather have a beer with him...it still boils my blood.
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Old 11-23-2005, 05:45 PM   #11
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^Because people want a president they can relate to. So...

I suspect there is a lot more truth in that than people want to admit.
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Old 11-23-2005, 06:56 PM   #12
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Well, I certainly am not ashamed of what I did with my vote, and I voted for Kerry. That's as much as I could do, and I agree with U2dem, it's time to move on. We've got the 2006 elections, which could be wonderful for Democrats all over. In fact, I'm going to sign up with a campaign so I can, hopefully, party that night with fellow Democrats, even though it's going to be tough to campaign against my Congressman, Spencer Bachus. He's a Republican, and he's got a ton of integrity, he supports debt relief, and at least when we lose, as I'm sure we'll lose the local campaign, it really won't be that painful for me because I'll know the guy representing me really does have my interests at heart. Meanwhile we may get a new speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi!! Wow!
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Old 11-28-2005, 10:55 AM   #13
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I'm surprised he made it on the jury. Most attorneys would want to avoid having someone with a legal background on a jury panel - fear that they will second guess every move the attorneys make.
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Old 11-28-2005, 09:05 PM   #14
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I'm surprised he made it on the jury. Most attorneys would want to avoid having someone with a legal background on a jury panel - fear that they will second guess every move the attorneys make.
I'm surprised too....
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Old 11-28-2005, 11:58 PM   #15
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
I'm surprised he made it on the jury. Most attorneys would want to avoid having someone with a legal background on a jury panel - fear that they will second guess every move the attorneys make.
No kidding! When I went in for selection, they cut one young woman about my age before asking her a single question b/c she's a teacher aid at a Christian school
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