Life for jurors after Michael Dunn trial

By Scott Johnson, General assignment reporter, sjohnson@wjxt.com
Elizabeth Berry, Evening assignment manager, beth@wjxt.com
Published On: Feb 17 2014 09:10:39 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 17 2014 11:32:22 PM EST

VIDEO: For the seven women and five men who were on the Dunn jury life has been a rollercoaster.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

For the seven women and five men who were on the Michael Dunn jury, life has been an emotional rollercoaster, and now they're faced with trying to reacclimate themselves to their private life with the verdict hanging over them.

The jurors are also faced with the choice of speaking publicly about the case, a choice Judge Russell Healey said only the jurors themselves can make.

"A request to discuss either your verdict or your deliberations may come from those who are simply curious, from those who might seek to find fault with you, from the media, the attorneys or elsewhere," Healey told the jurors. "It will be up to you whether to preserve your privacy."

It is illegal for the media and attorneys in the trial to contact the jurors without a court order. State Attorney Angela Corey said she would be happy to talk if jurors reached out, especially if she goes forward with re-trying Dunn on the first-degree murder charge.

"We've frequently had cases where a juror has called the office and said, 'I'd like to tell you what we talked about back there,'" said Corey.

Dr. Stephen Bloomfield, a licensed psychologist, explained what it's like for the jurors to go from being private citizens to deciding Dunn's fate, and to now deciding between privacy and notoriety.

"Some of them are going to have celebrity status and like it. Some are going to have celebrity status and not like it," said Bloomfield, "and others are not going to have celebrity status and want it."

Bloomfield has dealt with juries in the past. He said it's more difficult when there is a hung jury as there are a dozen people who stick to their convictions.

"The jurors...integrity had to be pushed to the limits to avoid group think," said Bloomfield. "Most of the time when you have a group of 10 or 12 people, group think takes over. 'Risk shifts' we call them -- people start jumping to one side or the other side."

Bloomfield suspects one of the things these jurors did after the trial was go and find news articles, and read up on what was said about the trial while they were sequestered. During the trial, jurors couldn't read about any of it other than what was presented in court.

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