The Worst Case of Juror Abuse in the U.S. is Right Here in Grand Junction

ServeWithFearMarilyn Charlesworth of Grand Junction, Colorado, has started a GoFundMe campaign asking for help to pay the mounting legal fees arising from her jury service of 11 years ago.

Charlesworth is the victim of the worst case of juror abuse in American history. It has dragged on for eleven years now past the time of her jury service, and has utterly ruined the life of a woman who responded to a jury summons she got in the mail, as all American citizens are required to do by law as part of their citizenship.

What is juror abuse?

Juror abuse occurs after a jury convicts a defendant, and the defense lawyers refuse to accept the verdict and work to get their client a new trial using the strategy of trying to find a fatal flaw with one of the jurors who served on the case. Such a flaw, if provable, would allow them to ask for a new trial.

Marilyn Charlesworth served on the jury of a murder trial back in 2004. She voted with eleven other jurors to convict the defendant and she has been paying dearly ever since.

In April of 2004, Charlesworth was a juror in the trial of Michael Blagg, supposedly a good Christian man and resident of Grand Junction who was accused of killing his wife, Jennifer, on November 12, 2001, by shooting her in the eye at close range while she slept and disposing of her body in his employer’s garbage. Blagg’s six year old daughter, Abby, also mysteriously went missing the same day his wife was killed. Abby’s body was never found.

About seven months after Jennifer was killed, Sheriff Department investigators found her body buried in the Mesa County Landfill, amid trash from Blagg’s employer, Ametek-Dixon.

Michael Blagg. A 12 person jury voted unanimously to convict him in 2004 of murdering his wife, Jennifer, in 2001

A 12 person jury voted unanimously to convict Michael Blagg in 2004 of murdering his wife, Jennifer, in 2001

After sitting through weeks of gruesome evidence presented at trial, on April 16, 2004, the jury unanimously convicted Blagg of first degree murder, abuse of a corpse and theft from his employer. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

You might have thought that would have been the end of the story. The jurors could go home after the trial and start putting memories of the grisly case behind them. But that’s not the way it went for Charlesworth.

Brian N. Connors, one of the Public Defenders responsible for Blagg getting a new trial

Brian N. Connors, one of the Public Defenders responsible for Blagg getting a new trial

The minute Blagg’s trial ended, his defense lawyers (Tina Fang, Deputy State Public Defender and Brian N. Connors, Deputy State Public Defender) started efforts to get him a new trial. Their strategy: scrutinize the jurors who served on the case and find something — anything — wrong one of them that might pave the way to an appeal for a new trial.

Charlesworth was the “low hanging fruit” for their strategy; she was the easiest juror to attack.

Attacks Begin

During Blagg’s trial, Charlesworth disclosed that she had a vision impairment that was giving her some difficulty seeing the evidence. She asked if she could move her seat to the front of the jury box so she could better see the evidence presented. She was given permission to move and could see everything just fine after that, but disclosing the impairment gave Blagg’s lawyers the entree’ they needed to later seek to get Blagg’s guilty verdict thrown out.

Six year old Abby Blagg's body has never been found

Six year old Abby Blagg’s body has never been found

After the trial was over, Blagg’s lawyers charged Charlesworth with intentionally failing to disclose the full extent of her vision impairment to the lawyers in the case. They claimed she was legally blind, couldn’t see the evidence adequately, and demanded Blagg get a new trial because of it. To substantiate their charges, they subpoenaed Charlesworth’s medical records, her employment, DMV and IRS tax records, and combed through them to see if she had gotten any breaks or accommodations for her vision impairment. Once they got her personal information, they disclosed it to the court. (Some of it was verified later as being obtained illegally, in violation of HIPAA rules, but that was revealed too late.) After it was disclosed to the court, her private information became part of the public record. The local newspaper seized the information and published it in a front page article. Not only was Charlesworth’s name revealed to the press, but she was humiliated on the front page of the local paper and on TV news programs. She got dragged into court and forced to prove her vision impairment was not serious enough to merit Blagg getting a new trial. Doctors were called in as witnesses to testify that she was not “legally blind,” and her vision problems did not prevent her from seeing well enough to drive a car and hold down a job in the computer department at the local college, for example. She was a normally functioning adult.

Ultimately attacking Charlesworth’s vision did not win Blagg a new trial.

You’d think the matter would be over then, but now that they’d seen her personal information, Blagg’s lawyers didn’t give up.

Next, Blagg’s attorneys charged Charlesworth with failing to disclose that she took a medication that was also mentioned as a factor in the trial. Again they dug into Charlesworth’s medical records, and filed motions forcing her to defend herself with regard to the medication.

That effort failed to get a new trial, too.

But even then, the defense didn’t give up.

You could be next, if you serve on a jury

You could be next, if you serve on a jury Blagg had been in prison for ten years, his lawyers came back again. This time they charged Charlesworth with lying on a juror questionnaire that all the jurors had to fill out prior to being selected to serve on Blagg’s jury.

After Blagg had been imprisoned for ten years, his lawyers came back again. This time they charged Charlesworth with lying on a questionnaire that all the jurors had to fill out prior to being selected to serve on Blagg’s jury.

In 2004, prosecutors alleged that Blagg had abused his wife, so the jury questionnaire had asked prospective jurors about whether they had any experience with domestic violence. Charelesworth had checked a box answering she had not.

It’s not like she didn’t think about this question. In fact, she may have over-thought it.

She had endured two difficult marriages to alcoholic husbands, one of whom had threatened her children and threatened to commit suicide during their marriage. But neither had ever intentionally struck her, so Charlesworth didn’t think she had actually been a victim of violence. She is a strong, independent woman and eventually got out of both those marriages. She managed to get a college degree, make a life for herself and successfully raise her two kids. She saw herself as a survivor, not a victim, and believed she had answered the question accordingly.

But years later, after the definition of domestic abuse had undergone significant changes, and after talking to a number of women who had endured similar bad relationships with alcoholic men, Charlesworth started to think that maybe the conflict she had experienced in her marriages rose to the level of domestic abuse after all. There came a point in 2013, fully nine years after she completed her juror questionnaire in the Blagg case, that Charlesworth stood up at a public hearing and stated her epiphany that she had, in fact, endured domestic violence at the hands of her two alcoholic husbands.

Blagg’s lawyers pounced again. This time, they charged Charlesworth with lying on her juror questionnaire about the domestic violence question.

If it sounds incredibly creepy, it’s because it is, for a lot of reasons.

Jurors Unprotected

First, attorneys aren’t supposed to retain juror questionnaires. They’re supposed to look at them and then hand them back to the Jury Commissioner, who is supposed to destroy them after the trial. But someone on Blagg’s defense team apparently copied the jurors’ questionnaires for later use, like to try and find something wrong with a juror and get Blagg a new trial in the event he was convicted.

Secondly, someone affiliated with or working for the defense, who had knowledge of how Charlesworth had answered her questionnaire, apparently stalked Charlesworth and had been observing her for any discrepancy they could use to try and get Blagg a new trial. Shortly after Charlesworth made the 2013 statement about her experience with domestic abuse, Blagg’s lawyers filed a motion charging her with intentionally lying on her 2004 jury questionnaire. Had she been a victim of domestic violence in her life or hadn’t she? After all, she had said on her 2004 jury questionnaire that she hadn’t, but here she was in 2013, saying she had been. Which was it, they demanded to know? How did these lawyers know, ten years later, exactly what she had answered on her juror questionnaire anyway?

Once again, Blagg’s attorneys invaded Charlesworth’s personal life. This time they subpoenaed legal records from both of her divorces and questioned her family members and longtime family friends. They found that in one divorce case she had sought a restraining order against one of her husbands. To the lawyers, that automatically meant domestic violence had been involved. Bingo!

They dragged Charlesworth back into court and forced her to defend herself again.

Once again, Charlesworth’s name was sprayed all over the local papers and TV news, her personal information about her family relationships revealed to the media. Public scorn welled up and she became the target of a modern day equivalent of a witch hunt.

District Attorney Pete Hautzinger, of the 21st Judicial District (Mesa County), charged beleaguered former juror Marilyn Charlesworth with contempt, is threatening her with jail time and is now trying to make her pay for Blagg's new trial

District Attorney Pete Hautzinger, of the 21st Judicial District (Mesa County), has piled on by charging beleaguered former juror Marilyn Charlesworth with contempt, threatening her with jail time and  making her pay for Blagg’s new trial

A judge ultimately awarded Blagg a new trial based on the discrepancy between what Charlesworth had written on her juror questionnaire in 2004, and what she had said publicly in 2013.

By this time, the attacks on Charleworth had dragged on for fully eleven years after Blagg’s case had ended.

D.A. Tries to Save Face at Expense of the Juror

The judge’s ruling for a new trial for Blagg put the District Attorney on the hot seat. After all, a notorious convicted murderer had been awarded a new trial. He might be set free now, and someone had to be held responsible. Adding insult to injury, the DA next brought charges against Charlesworth for contempt of court, threatened her with months in jail, and having to pay the cost of Blagg’s new trial, which could run up to a million dollars.

In the eleven years of anguish and agony caused by repeated attacks from defense lawyers on the case in which she had been called to serve as a juror back in 2004, the justice system did not provide Charlesworth with any help at all. She got no counseling, no legal, financial or mental health assistance at all. Nothing. And the stress of these constant attacks was taking a toll.

Blagg, a convicted murderer, gets three hots and a cot, free legal assistance and medical care, free rent, laundry and transportation service, while Charlesworth is on her own.

No Help for Jurors

Do you think juror remain anonymous? Think again. They don't.

Do you think juror remain anonymous? Think again. They don’t.

Today, Charlesworth stays at home in the dark.  She’s afraid to go out or be seen in public. People whisper about her as “The Juror.” She and her husband have been forced to hire a lawyer to help with her latest legal defense, at a cost of many thousands of dollars. The local newspaper continues to publish her name repeatedly in articles about the progress of the new Blagg trial. Her name continues to be featured in TV news stories as the saga of Blagg’s upcoming new trial drags on. Meanwhile, his public defenders are demanding he be able to wear a nice suit to court instead of his prison jumpsuit.

Meanwhile, the Charlesworth and her husband have been forced to spend their life savings defending Marilyn from repeated charges made by the defense: that she lied about her vision disability, that she lied about medications she’s taken, and whether she believed that she had experienced domestic violence or not.

All of the protections, accommodations and public resources go to the defendant, and none to the beleaguered juror.

What Potential Jurors Need to Know

There are several important lessons in Charlesworth’s case that all Americans need to know before they serve on a jury, since presumably we will all keep getting jury summonses. Here are a few:

1) There is no statute of limitations on this type of juror abuse. Lawyers can keep coming after jurors this way for their entire lifetimes if they so desire. Your life can be ruined.

2) If you serve on a jury, and the defense lawyers have fallen in love with the defendant, are true believers, want to make names for themselves or otherwise don’t like the verdict your jury produces, and if they are well-funded enough, you can find yourself in the crosshairs of a strategy to get a new trial. This case should give pause to every adult American who gets asked to serve on a jury, but if you do agree to serve, be darned sure you fill out the jury forms and questionnaires thoroughly and are fully able to defend every single one of your answers to the hilt, because defense lawyers can hound you into the ground for the rest of your life over any potential flaw or discrepancy that they think they could get their client a new trial. They can even dispute your personal interpretation or understanding of your own past life experiences.

3) You may be forced to give up your anonymity and personal privacy completely if you serve on a jury. Your name will not be kept secret. It can be printed in the newspaper and mentioned in the media. You’ll have no choice about this.

4) The court does not provide jurors with any help do defend yourself from such attacks. No legal, psychological or financial help is offered jurors to deal with the aftermath of their service. All of your personal records can be exposed without your consent. The defense attorneys can drag you through the mud, turn you into a villain in your own community and bankrupt you. As a former juror, you will have to pay every last cent for any defense needed as a result of your jury duty.

Still want to serve on a jury?

Good luck, and consider yourself warned.

Update, April 17, 2015: For comparison, Rodney Eddy, a local man convicted of eight counts of sexual assault on a minor by a person in a position of trust and sentenced to 16 years to life in prison, won a new trial in September, 2014, in this sam jurisdiction, due to juror misconduct. The defense charged that a juror lied on his jury questionnaire about whether he or anyone close to him had been the victim of sexual abuse. The juror answered “No” to the question about sexual abuse, but disclosed he had been a victim of sexual abuse by a priest. Rodney Eddy was awarded a new trial based on the misconduct. In an article about the case, the newspaper did not reveal the juror’s name, but referredto him only as “the juror” or “the man.” The juror also did not face any charges, fines or other known punishment for lying on his jury questionnaire.

To help fund Marilyn Charlesworth’s defense from Blagg’s lawyers’ most recent attack click here.

—– See the follow up article to this one:

Same Crime, but Vastly Different Treatment for Two Jurors in Mesa County Courts, April 20, 2015

 

36 comments for “The Worst Case of Juror Abuse in the U.S. is Right Here in Grand Junction

  1. Juror Number Nine
    August 19, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Having read through this blog, I have only one side of the story. But, I’m inclined to believe the PDs and DA are wrong, and working hard to come out on top at the expense of anyone else. That is the standard approach of most attorneys, law enforcement and judges. Appearing to be right, and winning all the time is crucial to their careers and they tend to view all citizens as disposable commodities, guilty of something, and less important than themselves and their careers. My one and only experience as a juror was entirely unpleasant, and potentially damaging to my career and finances. The bailiffs were verbally abusive to the jury pool, the judge thought making threats was the way to get cooperative jurors, and the attorneys … well, they were only interested in forwarding their agendas, The attorneys and the judge ignored my critical reasons that I needed to be released because it didn’t fit in with their career agendas. In the end, I was released from that jury. And, I’m so happy with that. The jury selection system is broken. The people working in and around the court make incomes between $50k to millions each year off this system. The majority of the jury pool is people who work for far less than that, and suffer financial, mental and family hardships to participate in this legal machine that churns out millions of dollars of income for the legal profession, while treating jurors with less respect than the accused criminals. If they were as smart as they think, they’d institute some protection for their jurors, enacting laws to protect jurors from persecution, and making jurors exempt for this type of legal action. As we educate people on the extreme danger of being on a jury, and how they have be smart with everything they say, lest it be used against them, it will become more and more difficult to empanel a jury, and the legal money machines will be forced to change the system. I really wonder, “Why isn’t the ACLU all over this case?”

    • Mare
      August 20, 2015 at 5:37 am

      i am the juror and I did call the ACLU and every government official in our state. You are correct on all accounts. My life goal is to change this, it’s to late for me, but if I save just one person who refuses to be on a jury this will have been for not. Over 500 people have commented they will not sit on a jury. I am writing a book but I cannot release it until July 2017, or they will charge me with perjury. So I have been silenced. I did not need 10 days in jail, I rarely leave my home for over a year. I will never be the same. Paul Shockley with the daily sentinel made it his life goal to hammer me, yet he never mentioned the 23 years of community service I gave freely. It was nice to know not all people are not members of the boys club this morning. Thank you for not being a sheep and coming to you own conclusion.

  2. Frances Cox
    April 26, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Apparently the Mesa County court system feels that justice is being served by their dragging the juror in the Blagg trial through more ridicule and humiliation. Those that hold the opinion that she is guilty and must be punished have been allowed to spew their venom anonymously in the You Said It Column of the Daily Sentinel (see Sept 28ths edition for just one example) and are being allowed to set the tone for further proceedings again her. Yes, the juror wanted Judge Bottger to recuse himself and she wants to be allowed to have a fair trial, not another kangaroo-court style hearing like those that have led up to filing of criminal charges against her. Isn’t that only fair?

    The district attorney’s office had assured her that they would do whatever necessary to protect her rights and she believed them even when her rights started being violated. As a “witness” she appeared to have absolutely no rights at all. She was deprived of her right to privacy and due process for starters. She has been guilty in the court’s eyes from the very beginning and had the task of proving her own innocence against 3 or 4 lawyers from the public defenders office and at least three from the DA’s office. She was expected to do this acting as her own lawyer. She is a bright, intelligent woman but should never have been allowed to appear at any of these hearings without an independent lawyer which she really couldn’t afford even if she had been able to fine one.

    Since she has now been charged with a crime, she has a right to legal representation, a right to presumptive innocence and a right to due process, among others, none of which appeared to make Judge Bottger or the haters happy. Yes, she finally has a lawyer and it is costing her family greatly. There is a lot at stake here and not just for herself. Could she have been eligible for a public defender? Who cares? Why would she want to be represented by the very people who have been allowed to badger her off and on for 10 years.

    Why was everyone so surprised when she accused the court system of abusing and harassing her during the second proceeding? So far the court has put her through much more abuse than either of her ex-husbands. The last hearing that led up to charges being made against her was a joke. Expert testimony and that of her friends and family were thrown out the window while Bottger was allowed to rely on the dictionary definition of “domestic” and “violence” to reach his conclusion. The fact that he cited a disgruntled witness who had a personal vendetta against the juror and couldn’t seem to get his story straight is very problematic. There was not the slightest effort put toward showing this witness had lied even though there was at least one person who was not called who could have verified that the witness was speaking out in retaliation for a sexual harassment charge that had been leveled against him by the juror while she was still an employee at Mesa State.

    There are plenty of liars to go around here starting with Ellen Miller, the Associated reporter who befriended the juror and lied about what she wanted to do with a personal diary that was never intended for public consumption. The PD’s office ended up the the diary and I seriously doubt the legality of that. This should never have gotten past that point. They questioned her ability to see well enough to sit on a jury in spite of the fact that she held a job using a computer and had an unrestricted drive’s license and in spite of the fact that the journal had been created in the wee morning hours when the juror could not sleep because the disturbing images that had been presented during the trial wouldn’t allow her to. After this tactic didn’t get the hoped for response, the PD’s office was illegally allowed to pry into the juror’s medical records and found references to xanax. That question had been presented orally and required a show of hands. Somehow Judge Bottger decided that the juror must not have raised her hand or she would have been dismissed and he let that stand in his first opinion. Basically they had to come up with something to save face and justify all the expense and effort that had been expended by that time.

    In his most recent order, Judge Bottger couldn’t seem to be able to distinguish between the juror’s attitude toward domestic violence before the Blagg trial and after the trial. I can guarantee that the juror’s definition of domestic abuse changed greatly after that trial and she realized that just because someone hasn’t hit you doesn’t mean that they are not an abuser.

    This case should concern everyone who has ever served on a jury, especially a high profile one where public defenders are hot to make a name for themselves. The juror was proud to serve, wanted to be the best juror that she could be and didn’t have a biased bone in her body. She was more that willing to give Blagg the benefit of the doubt and all the other considerations that a good juror is expected to.

    If anyone has a bias, it is Judge Bottger. If anyone has an agenda, it is him. Bottger reached his opinion after years of allowing the PD’s to dig at the juror. The judge, the DA and the sock it to her public are letting their anger over her not being repentant rule their judgement. Why should she be repentant when she did nothing wrong. She does not deserve to be treated like this and this sets a very bad precedence for future jurors. There are 11 other jury members who are greatly disrespected by the decision to acquit Blagg.

    I think that the juror has been punished enough. She has been thoroughly humiliated and made fun of by the local press and TV news stations. They certainly should take much of the responsibility for her being found guilty in the court of public opinion. She has been made the target of those that think that impoverishing the juror will somehow make this right. No one seems to be the least bit concerned about what the government is able to put a law-abiding citizen through when it suits them. If putting the juror in jail for a few days and squeezing an obscene amount of money from a housewife who largely does volunteer work and her veteran husband (who REALLY does not deserve to be treated like this) is not cruel and unusual, I don’t know what is.

    Yes, there are many liars involved starting with the man who murdered his wife and probably his daughter in cold blood. Fact is, the juror didn’t lie in order to serve on the jury or to be able to convict Blagg. I there is one honest person her, it is her.

    • frances cox
      May 2, 2015 at 12:48 am

      Something I found troubling about the testimony. Much was made of the fact that the juror had stated that one her motivating influences for coming to GJ and going to college was to be able to help victims of domestic violence. How that got turned around is beyond me but it may have been part of her embellished story to the City council. I went to college with her and always understood that she wanted to be able to do more for those with physical and mental disabilities and there never had been one mention of domestic violence.

  3. Phillip C. Wilson
    April 20, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Anne, thank you so much for writing this Blog that sheds a positive light on the plight of my niece. I am her uncle Phillip Wilson from Kalamazoo, Michigan, Mare’s original home town. Mare and I are soul mates and even though the distance between us is far we are very close. I was in Grand Junction this past September and stayed with Mare & Paul for several days. During that time she had a hearing in court that really wasn’t a big deal. I was surprised that the news of her hearing was on all of the local TV news stations that evening. I knew of her dilemma but didn’t realize how serious it was until then. I was back in Junction last week because of the death of her father, my brother, Kenneth Wilson of Eagle Colorado. He was her rock and her biggest supporter and they talked every day. Not only is she dealing with this major legal problem she just lost her best friend. I know Marilyn would never intentionally lie about anything, much less on a jury form. I am hoping that the justice system will eventually vindicate her as she is not guilty of lying or contempt of court. She is one of the most sincere and helpful people I know. She never once mentioned physical abuse to me and if it was happening I know she would of told me. When I saw her in September she was not the Mare I once knew. This persistent problem hanging over her head for all of these years has taken a major toll on her and her husbands lives. It has greatly affected her friends and family that love and support her as well. I am going back to Colorado on Thursday to attend my brothers funeral and spend time with her again.
    Blagg should NEVER be allowed outside the walls that contain him now. He is a cold blooded murderer and no matter how many trials he has he will still be found guilty. You are correct when you write that she doesn’t leave the house. I asked her to go with me a couple of times when I was there and she declined. I hate seeing her this way, she is way to good of a human being to be treated like this. I will probably be commenting on your Blog again when I return home from Colorado. If you are reading this Marilyn I love you and you know I am behind you 100%. Thanks again Anne.

  4. Ginger
    April 19, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    Thank you very much for this well written article. Mare has been unfairly portrayed in the media, so that’s what makes this article different. There have been numerous deliberate personal attacks of my cousin Mare since she served on a jury. It really should make every American deeply alarmed about our justice system and leery of accepting jury duty. The intentional misrepresentation of Mare’s true character is preposterous. The cruel insults and the unfounded mean spirited attacks only show the dark truth about those making such ugly statements. My cousin is an amazingly honest person with genuine integrity. She truly is an incredibly wonderful person. Mare’s personal information has been shared in public, her privacy has been violated and her good name has been deeply damaged, all of which are highly unacceptable! I truly appreciate this article and I look forward to additional through all coverage of this situation.

  5. Emily Brown
    April 19, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Regardless of he said, she said circumstances….the fact remains that the rights of a human being, in service to her community, were violated. Not once, not twice, but over and over and over. Sure Blagg has a right to a fair trial. When did the rights of a juror become irrelevant and disregarded?

    The truth always comes out, and karma is a bitch.

    My prayers, and my deepest thanks and frankly, heartaches, are with Marilyn. She, and her family, have been drug through hell and back. Shameful.

  6. Deb Mccollough
    April 19, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    Marilyn and i grew up together since I was 2 years old (51years). Our families were so close that we didn’t realized that we weren’t blood cousins until we were adults. blood or not she’s my sister. I have never met a more giving loving person in my life. If there is a cause she will help if she believes in the cause. shes a stand-up person. I know there are a lot of people that are just full of hate for her right now in Grand Junction. but the fact is she did not lie about anything. Mare is an honest, open and trustworthy person. if I had to pick one person I would trust my life with it would be her. All the bigwigs are claiming different things and they are simply wrong. This woman would not do the things they are saying. . I know this for a fact. if anyone knows her inside out its me. if the judge in the DA would open their eyes and listen to her side they would back off. Shame on them for going after a juror that did her duty honestly and to the best of her ability. I believe they should have fought harder to keep a murdering monster from getting a new trial and the possibility of walking. I truly believe a new trial will simply get him put back in prison if there is any justice in this world. And I hope he burns in hell when it comes to his time to go. when Mare is found innocent, she will simply move on and hold no grudges towards this community that has done nothing but bad mouth her and not give her a chance. Not even even listen to her side. I’m glad it’s her because I guarantee I would have something to say to everyone of you that have convicted her without all the facts. what I’d say to you I can’t put on here. I love you Mare. I have your back forever. and I hope the DA and the judge actually open their eyes and listen to your side of the story. because all you did was your civic duty to the best of your ability and this is how you are rewarded. I guarantee in the future if I’m called for jury duty I certainly have no desire to do it and I believe when they find out that you are my sister through heart they throw me out so fast it’ll make my head spin. Which is fine for this community and the people that run the justice system. They wouldn’t know honesty if it slapped him upside the head. Saddest part is I used to work up here in the justice system. Makes me ashamed I ever did. So to all you small minded people that want to convict her without knowing her or anything about her go ahead and keep your small minds because karma’s a witch and it does come back on you Ñobody has to do anything. What goes around comes around. I’m a true believer in that. JOIN US TO GET MARILYN A FAIR TRIAL!!! Donate to her cause via Facebook. Its on my page and several others.

  7. Buck
    April 19, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    You have Always been an Awesome Person ! You fed and housed any friend or such Luke an I brought home as you raised us ! You are currently and have help so many people in so many ways . You are True Honest and Just ! Anyone who says other obviously does Not know you ! They should be Ashamed and Humbled . Not trying to use this unfortunate story to be somebody with a Negative Voice .h

  8. Allison Dedrick
    April 18, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    She did the crime, lied. Now is paying the price. And because of her actions a man that killed his wife and daughter is going to walk. She needs to pay the full price of her stupidity

    • Jennifer Lanphear
      April 20, 2015 at 1:10 pm

      So Allison Dedrick…When were you charged with being Judge…jury and executioner? Has Blagg been re-tried yet? Is there a verdict yet? Until you can truly answer THOSE questions HONESTLY…your “opinion” means diddly squat….

  9. Eugenia
    April 16, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    I don’t think the legal codes have dealt with “epiphany”.
    People often view situations differently given time, education, and exposure to a new truth. Given the prior issues with her vision and medication, it retrospect, I think it was unwise to make a public proclamation. What I have learned in court systems is that one man’s truth is another man’s lie. I don’t know what the facts are. I never bought all that I read in history books because usually it was someone’s truth who wrote well. This case baffles me. Convoluted at he beginning and gaining .

  10. Jim Byrom
    April 16, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Thank you so much, Anne, for providing a lot of background information on this case. I am thinking that Ms,,Charlesworth got a very raw deal.

  11. Andrew
    April 16, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    While I understand the frustration expressed in this article, the fact remains that Charlesworth’s credibility is questionable. Also – I’m not saying that Blagg is innocent – that’s irrelevant to this issue. However, who wouldn’t want lawyers trying to find any possible way to overturn a loved one’s conviction? What if YOU sat in prison for a crime you didn’t commit? Would you oppose your lawyers seeking a new trial for you? I didn’t think so. It’s so easy to sit at a computer and blog blog blog because it isn’t real life.

    • Anne Landman
      April 16, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      Nine of the remaining jurors (2 have since died) recently were polled and said Charlesworth had had no influence over their opinion in the case. It seems odd that the opinions of eleven other people hold no weight in this matter. It also seems absurd that the defense attorneys can stalk a juror and take issue with anything she says or does even ten years after the case has completed. And let’s not forget that Blagg’s attorneys copied and kept confidential juror questionnaires in violation of the law. How else could they remember what Charlesworth had written on her questionnaire? This isn’t right.

      Added: Plus, you are assuming Blagg is innocent — a very, very big assumption.

      • Andrew
        April 16, 2015 at 7:36 pm

        It’s not about whether she swayed the other jurors’ opinions. Rather, whether she was an impartial juror as we all have the right to a fair trial, twelve jurors, and a unanimous verdict. What is your source for the claim that keeping juror info is illegal?

        • Anne Landman
          April 17, 2015 at 12:48 pm

          The source was the Jury Commissioner, Rose Anne Kelly.

      • Jennifer Lanphear
        April 20, 2015 at 1:12 pm

        Amen!!!!

    • FBA
      April 17, 2015 at 8:13 am

      11of 12 jurors aside from this one agreed to his guilt – a unanimous decision. What the defenders are doing is making a name for themselves only. Nothing about true justice attaches to this case. The defendant should have been hanged For the murder of his wife and child. And the lawyers should be stripped of their licenses to practice law. This is cut and dried and don’t let anyone persuade you otherwise.

  12. Larry
    April 16, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    One item missing in your article is that during the juror selection process, Charlesworth said that she wanted to get on the jury just so she could convict Blagg. You’re not supposed to do that. Not the kind of juror I would want if I were on trial for a crime. Does she?

    • Anne Landman
      April 16, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      If she made a statement during the jury selection process that rendered her an unacceptable juror, the attorneys in the case should have excluded her.

      • Larry
        April 16, 2015 at 12:57 pm

        She didn’t say it in the courtroom. Her husband told us at work.

        • marilyn
          April 17, 2015 at 7:55 am

          Larry it is ignorant people like you that make life hard for others. You work with my husband and use him to deliver a lie. Anne is right if I had done that I would have been dismissed as a juror. How do you think your work relationship with my husband is going to be from this point forward? Your a mean person, stay off this page it is for me and all further comments will be deleted.

          • Craig
            April 17, 2015 at 9:30 am

            But, this is a blog inviting public comments for discussion, not a Web page. If it’s just for you, then it should be a page.

          • Marie
            April 17, 2015 at 12:37 pm

            Let me start by saying I believe you were probably a victim of domestic violence. I understand wanting to not tell anyone as I was also in that position and didn’t tell anyone. But to lie about it to get on a jury in order to convict someone goes too far. I have known Larry and his family for years and if he says your husband told people at work that you did that I know its true. He is not the type of person to make things up. He is a quiet person that generally stays to himself. And Larry had told people back when it happened that is what was said. Of course you never said it in the court room, you would never have got picked. but your husband was very quick in telling people all about everything going on. But you have lied and then lied to cover your lies. and it is proven over and over. You even testified that you lied about lying back in May of last year. So who can believe anything you have to say? Your not a victim of juror abuse. you have brought it on yourself with your lies.You may very well be a really nice person that just made a bad error in judgment and because of that it cost the tax payers a lot of money to have a retrial. And I hope that the new trial wont set a killer free. Yes I do believe he is guilty so I could never be on his jury.

    • Marilyn Charles
      April 17, 2015 at 7:42 am

      that never happened. See that’s part of my problem, did you read that in the paper because we know they tell the truth or mere gossip? Because if you were present at jury selection you would know this is incorrect. It’s the sharing of false or made up information is what is hurting me.

    • Cathy
      April 17, 2015 at 9:36 pm

      Wow. Your ignorance on jury selection is showing. Good luck with that bliss and bless your heart. Must be hell living in that small mind of yours.

    • Frances
      April 19, 2015 at 9:24 pm

      The juror never said that she wanted to get on the jury just so she could convict Blagg.

      • Frances
        April 19, 2015 at 9:31 pm

        In fact she was determined to be the best juror that she could be since she was selected. That includes a presumption of innocence. She never went into that trial with anything but the best of intensions. That’s one of the reasons why this has been so difficult for her.

  13. Brenda
    April 16, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Thank you, Anne! Every since the very first article appeared on this case against Mrs. Charlesworth, I have said that, as a survivor of domestic violence myself, I do not find it hard to believe that Marilyn, at the time of the jury service, had not yet accepted and/or acknowledged that what she had suffered during her previous relationships was, indeed, abuse.

    Thank you for shining this light!!

  14. Laura Ireland
    April 16, 2015 at 1:50 am

    Anne. Your well written article is informative and over the top helpful. I appreciate your time and effort shining light on an issue where public awareness is paramount and, with optimism, will duly reverberate for all key players involved. Thank you!

    ~Laura Ireland
    Laura_ireland@msn.com

    • Anne Landman
      April 16, 2015 at 8:27 am

      Thank you so much, Laura! May I ask, helpful for what? Are you a juror?

  15. jjoe wharton
    April 15, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Anne,this is a superb article, on a great issue. How do we get it posted at Huffington Post, and how do we get the ACLU involved.?

    Thanks for your continuous,well reasoned, and well written efforts.

    Joe

    • Anne Landman
      April 15, 2015 at 9:10 pm

      Thanks, Joe. I’m sharing it widely, to good effect. It’s gotten more that twice as many hits in one day as the most popular blog I’ve written so far.

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