THE FEDERAL AND STATE CONSTITUTIONS GUARANTEE TO A DEFENDANT ACCUSED OF A CRIME THE RIGHT TO A TRIAL BY UNBIASED, IMPARTIAL JURORS.
The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution affords a defendant the right to an impartial jury that represents a fair cross section of the community. Before a jury is impaneled, the jurors take an oath by which they swear to put aside individual emotions or opinions and to use logic and objectivity throughout the trial and the deliberations.
Why did prosecutor Janice Rundles insist on Jesse Brooks' trial being in Rockingham County?
Jesse Brooks’ attorneys had requested a change of venue for his trial due to three years of intense pre-trial publicity surrounding his case. This reasonable request was denied. Jury selection for Jesse’s trial occurred during a dire economic downturn in New Hampshire and it was not possible for prospective jurors to have escaped the constant drum beats from the media about the “Millionaire Murder Case”. More than 1,000 newspaper, television and radio reports flooded Rockingham County with negative stories about Jesse. It instilled a hatred and fueled a “hang ‘em all” mentality within the prospective jury pool. The media and therefore the public was determined to convict Jesse Brooks regardless of the fact that he played no role and had no involvement in the killing of Jack Reid. His last name was Brooks and he was going to pay the price for his family’s past success. The Judge recognized this and reminded jurors during her instructions that they shouldn’t be influenced by “wealth and power”. This served as an exclamation point for the panel which had previously heard the prosecutor Janice Rundles say the crime couldn’t have been accomplished without “money and power” during her closing argument. The media coverage followed suit. The intent of news editors was to sensationalize the case as father & son when Jesse’s picture was shown next to his father on the front page instead of the actual killers of Jack Reid - Michael Benton and Joseph Vrooman. Jesse’s case was based on conjecture and no evidence so instead, they muddied the waters with stories of motive, opportunity, wealth and drugs.
How were Jesse Brooks jurors selected?
Jury selection is now done electronically but in 2009, New Hampshire combined the list of licensed drivers provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles and the lists of registered voters provided by cities and towns to create a master list of jurors. Names were randomly selected from that list. It seems hard to believe a random selection could have produced a jury any more supportive of the state and its’ policies. Nearly half the jurors were directly related to law enforcement. One juror was the wife of Epping, New Hampshire’s chief of police. Another juror said the chief’s wife had admitted that she had a strong opinion that Jesse Brooks was guilty. It certainly appeared to be a case of “stacking the jury” by any standard. Jesse’s trial was also in the same courthouse after the two highly publicized plea deals and two high profile trials along with the same court officers who openly voiced their opinions. One officer, Glen Nesbitt actually wrote to the Concord Monitor newspaper to compliment the reporter’s coverage claiming it was well-written, factual and in-depth after the John Brooks trial. A court officer’s duty is only to assist jurors during the trial and to protect the jury from outside influences. That surely was not the case for anyone of these trials.
Jurors were not disqualified for having followed the case and in fact, one of the alternates actually attended the crime scene preview in the John Brooks trial and he was still selected. It seems the rules were stretched in every direction. Even the standardized juror summons informed the jurors they had been selected for the JESSE BROOKS CASE which no doubt gave them an opportunity, at the very least, to look into the case. In addition, the jurors were never sequestered during the trial and Jesse’s case was the top story on the nightly news so it would have been hard for the jurors not to tune in.
Prosecutor Janice Rundles was a master at interchanging names and referring to John Brooks as “Brooks” and making no distinction between father and son or simply stating the “Brooks family”. It was impossible to follow because the case was nothing but a repeat of the John Brooks trial and only about 10% related to Jesse Brooks and according to the police chief’s wife, she believed that the judge wanted them to consider the John Brooks and Jesse Brooks’ cases as ONE, not separately.
There was so much repetition and confusion driven by the prosecutor that jurors were falling asleep. Two jurors slept through most of the trial and eventually one of them was excused but the other remained in spite of having slept through testimony. The numerous instances of jurors’ sleeping deprived Jesse Brooks of his right to have 12 attentive jurors decide his fate and violated his right to due process.
Jesse Brooks’ trial was a travesty of justice from day one.
READ FOR YOURSELF AND DECIDE IF THERE CAN BE ANY DOUBTS ABOUT JESSE BROOKS GETTING AN UNBIASED AND IMPARTIAL JURY.
Juror # 1 David Dennis
Dennis’ brother is a STATE TROOPER AND PRISON WARDEN in Washington State. Mr. Dennis claimed in a post-trial interview that he thought Robin Knight was a credible witness. He obviously didn’t pay close attention because Robin Knight was never a witness in the Jesse Brooks’ trial.
Juror # 2 Arlene Moreau
Refused to speak after the trial.
Juror # 3 John Tremblay
No comment after the trial.
Juror # 4 Francis Dowd
This juror was excused due to SLEEPING almost every day. Astoundingly, Jesse’s attorneys did not object. In addition, Mr. Dowd also told the Judge that he had spoken with his son (an attorney) about a newspaper article regarding the case.
Juror # 5 Jeffrey Caley
As a self-employed real estate developer Mr. Caley was fined by the Department of Environmental Services 10/02/06 for illegally dumping asbestos. [Public Records]
Juror # 6 David Toto
3/19/10 Post-trial Interview: Mr. Toto questioned how Juror # 9 Lisa Dodge was allowed to sit for a trial since her HUSBAND WAS CHIEF OF POLICE AND SHE HAD A LAW ENFORCEMENT BACKGROUND HERSELF.
He said, “Lisa Dodge was the first one with the strongest opinion that Jesse Brooks was guilty.” (p.9 ¶ 4) He also admitted that he discussed the case with his wife at night during the trial.
Juror # 7 Robert Bowes
Mr. Bowes had a family member in LAW ENFORCEMENT.
Juror # 8 Angela Murray
Juror # 9 Lisa Dodge
“Chief Dodge testified extensively in the Sheila LaBarre case”...”so he had a lot of contact with the AG’s office”
10/27/09 Jury Selection
Lisa Dodge told the Judge that SHE USED TO WORK IN LAW ENFORCEMENT and that her HUSBAND WAS THE POLICE CHIEF OF EPPING, NEW HAMPSHIRE IN ROCKINGHAM COUNTY.
She asked if they thought the trial would go into November 23rd - before Thanksgiving and the Judge assured her, “over my dead body.”
She stated during jury selection that, “I know lying cops.”
She claimed she knew nothing about the Jack Reid case.
She claimed she was too busy and ignored her husband’s work in the Sheila LaBarre murder case despite the fact that her husband was extensively involved according to Judge Nadeau who presided over the LaBarre case as well as Robin Knight’s and Jesse Brooks’.
Lisa Dodge neglected to mention two very important facts:
A highly influential appointment made by the Governor.
Both were loyal supporters of Kelly Ayotte who indicted Jesse.
“My husband is a Chief of Police”
”I know lying cops”
“Chief Dodge testified extensively in the Sheila LaBarre case”...”so he had a lot of contact with the AG’s office”
03/13/10 Post -Trial Interview:
Lisa Dodge claimed she was surprised to be selected as a juror since she was a former police officer with a major in Criminal Justice. She claimed that the trial was a burden by taking her away from her daycare business yet she committed herself to a (3) week trial despite the fact that she said she knew how to get off a jury by saying, “hang ‘em high.” She stated that the judge instructed the jury to look at the John Brooks and Jesse Brooks cases as ONE, not separately. She mentioned that another juror whose brother was a NH Major Crime Unit Officer was also surprised to be chosen.
Lisa Dodge told the Court during jury selection that she could only stay through Friday November 20th because she had a flight scheduled for Monday Nov. 23rd, 2009 for her Thanksgiving vacation. VERDICT REACHED Friday morning November 20th.
11/18/09 Closing Arguments.
Jury sent to deliberate Wednesday 2:45 p.m.
11/20/09 Verdict announced
Friday 10:24 a.m.
Jesse was not allowed to hear the whispering sidebar conversations, so he was completely unaware of the dynamics taking place concerning the sleeping jurors and the rush to judgement to close for the Thanksgiving holiday. Jurors were overheard at Cafe Town Bar & Grill saying they’d be wrapped up Friday when they were having lunch there on Wednesday.
Note: Jesse recently learned that his attorney Peter Anderson, who is heard in this sidebar audio arguing to keep Lisa Dodge on the jury despite the fact that they had given her an “F” rating during jury selection, was also a supporter of Kelly Ayotte’s campaign along with Juror Lisa Dodge and her husband Epping police chief Gregory Dodge. Attorney General Kelly Ayotte indicted Jesse.
Peter Anderson made a $1,000 contribution to Kelly Ayotte’s US Senate campaign 10 weeks before Jesse’s trial commenced.
Lisa Dodge’s Law Enforcement background:
Lisa Dodge was employed as a part time police officer by the GORHAM, NEW HAMPSHIRE POLICE DEPARTMENT from November 2, 1984 to September 15, 1985.
She also worked for the ROCKINGHAM COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE from 1986 - 1987.
She now runs Maple Tree Learning Center.
Juror # 10 Ann Durgin
Ann Durgin’s mother formerly worked for the SANDOWN POLICE DEPARTMENT IN ROCKINGHAM COUNTY.
Juror # 11 John Breda, Jr.
It’s truly inexplicable how this juror, a chemistry teacher from Pinkerton Academy would have been chosen seeing as though Jack Reid’s children as well as Jesse Brooks attended Pinkerton Academy. The school was captivated by the case for years. Jay Brooks was also an alumni who was a major donor to the school and named to the Pinkerton Academy Hall of Fame for his entrepreneurial success.
Juror # 12 Mark Forbes (Alternate)
This juror’s selection is again puzzling for a host of reasons:
He personally knew Juror # 9, the Chief of Police’s wife.
He brought his daughter to Juror # 9’s daycare.
Alternate Juror # 15 was one of his former students at Exeter High School who had attended the John Brooks trial crime scene preview.
His aunt worked at the ROCKINGHAM COUNTY COURTHOUSE.
He was reprimanded repeatedly for SLEEPING during the trial and slept through jury instructions.
Shortly after Jesse Brooks’ trial he was asked to resign from Exeter High School over a sexually explicit school play he created.
View PDF Transcript
Sleeping through a lot of testimony and a lot of the trial yet Jesse's attorneys (male voices) accept it.
Juror # 13 Peter Stock
Post - Trial Interview: Mr. Stock stated that he was surprised the Judge never asked jurors about their knowledge of the case. He too stated that Robin Knight was a credible witness when in fact Robin Knight never testified in Jesse Brooks’ case.
Juror # 14 Patrick Gould
Brother to a NH STATE POLICE MAJOR CRIME UNIT OFFICER who was formerly from Epping, NH and worked with Juror # 9 Lisa Dodge’s husband on the Sheila LaBarre murder case along with most of the same officers that worked the Jack Reid case.
Sister-in-law is a Lieutenant with NEWFIELDS POLICE DEPARTMENT in ROCKINGHAM COUNTY.
02/07/10 Post-trial interview: Mr. Gould stated that it was an “open and shut” case because of what he considered corroborated evidence of the bedroom meeting.
“My brother and sister-in-law are state troopers.”
Juror # 15 James Dulany
He told the judge that he attended the John Brooks Trial as part of his University of NH studies and that he went home afterwards and read about the case on the internet but claimed he could still be impartial. He also discussed with his former teacher (Juror # 12) the crime scene preview he attended. He was cited for failing to yield after a stop and hitting school bus with his car 09/15/02. [Public Records]
He is now a District Attorney for Lawrence, Massachusetts.
Attended Jay Brooks trial and read about the case on the internet