As jurors weighing the fate of James “Whitey” Bulger were sent home Friday after deliberating for four days without reaching a verdict, legal observers said that lengthy deliberations are common in complex racketeering cases and that it is impossible to discern whether the jury is divided or just being diligent.
Making an objective judgment despite Bulger’s extreme notoriety is hard enough, but observers say the jurors have a mountain of a task in front of them, sorting through a 32-count racketeering indictment encompassing 33 alleged criminal acts, including 19 murders, half a dozen acts of extortion, a drug trafficking conspiracy, a money laundering conspiracy and other charges.
“It’s actually a lot of cases within one case. . . . It should take you a long time,” said former Middlesex district attorney Gerard T. Leone.
Boston criminal defense lawyer Martin G. Weinberg said the jury could be acting methodically on some charges and disagreeing on others.
“We all know that we don’t know . . . how individual groups of 12 digest weeks of testimony, and that’s the genius of the American judicial system,” he said. “The jury is doing Boston proud and giving Mr. Bulger the fairest of fair trials.”
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