University of Pittsburgh

John Burkoff on Possible Tainting of Jury Pool for Orie Re-trial

Publish Date/Time: 
January 24, 2012

Professor John Burkoff commented on a mailing sent by State Senator Jane Orie to some number of her constituents on the eve of her re-trial on political corruption charges.  In the letter, Orie asks that those who know "what I represent and what I stand for" to come forward as character witnesses for her.  Prosecutors contend the mailing is designed to taint the jury pool in Orie's favor.  Professor Burkoff told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that a defendant in a criminal case would always have the right to solicit character witnesses, but that a mass mailing of a form letter could present very real concerns.  "If it's not a mass mailing, it doesn't seem like it would be very hard to deal with any potential taint. If it's 25, I don't see anything wrong with it," he said. "If it's 2,500, oh my. That's a different story entirely."


See the Post-Gazette article here.

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