The guilty verdict in the Judge Jackson trial here in Harris County, Texas was a surprise to many. When the DWI video of the complaining witness, Arianna Venegas, was shown in the courtroom a couple of days before the verdict was given, many were surmising the verdict would be a ‘not guilty.’ The DWI video, which was taken on the night of Ms. Venegas’ Driving while Intoxicated arrest, depicted a woman who appeared to use her God-given femininity in exchange for officer leniency. In the video, Ms. Venegas speaks to the officer in a sensual tone, attempts to establish a first-name relationship with the officer and flatters him by comparing him with the arresting officer who had, according to her, hurt her feelings. During cross-examination, Ms. Venegas refused to admit that she had tried to use her looks and overtly friendly personality in exchange for better treatment from the officers, despite the fact that the video showed the contrary.
A woman who attempted to entice a police officer who did not have the authority to release her, while knowing that she was being videotaped seems much more apt to do the same with a judge who does have authority and power. As Judge Jackson’s defense attorneys have said, Judge Jackson might have done something stupid by meeting with Ms. Venegas in a restaurant, but that does not mean that he did anything illegal.
On another note, during a jury trial, the jurors who are hearing the case should be impartial individuals, who should decide on a verdict based only on the information heard during the trial. Although jurors are not supposed to be influenced by external information, they are, especially in cases involving a public figure, where newspapers and television stations provide incessant reports. Unfortunately, although these fountains of information should not be biased, they are, and the reporting that is done is never simply informational. For instance, the evening before closing arguments were going to be given, KTRK legal correspondent, Joel Androphy, stated that the accusations regarding Judge Jackson’s actions made him guilty. Mr. Androphy should not be making such inflammatory statements. Only the jurors can provide a verdict, but apparently, stations such as ABC already had a verdict, long before one was given.