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Jury tampering warrants further investigation

There was a segment on the TV news program “60 Minutes” lastweek that interestingly enough has received very little responsehere in Mississippi. The segment was on the state’s problem withmulti-million dollar jury verdicts and centered on neighboringJefferson County.

The problems with plaintiff lawsuits and multi-million juryverdicts in Jefferson County and other counties are welldocumented, but a new development that popped up during the segmentwas the admittance of jury tampering by one of the plaintiffs.

Eager to discuss his new-found wealth on national television, anunidentified plaintiff, in one of the many Jefferson CountyPhen-Phen cases, talked freely about how he had become amillionaire and how he and others were eager to share their wealthwith those who helped.

He chuckled as he relayed how a “fifty cent pill” had made himmillions and how he felt the need to share that wealth. Pushed bythe interviewer, the plaintiff went on to admit that plaintiffsregularly rewarded jurors after a trial. In our book that is calledjury tampering!

Jury tampering is a criminal offense and any way you want tolook at it, the comment by this plaintiff is an admittance ofcollusion by at least some plaintiffs and some jurors. How far andhow deep this goes is anyone’s guess.

The Mississippi Attorney General’s office and the FBI arealready looking into allegations of questionable payments on behalfof judges by several trial lawyers in the state. It looks like thatinvestigation needs to go a bit further. We hope that theinvestigation will be expanded to this new development as well.