A poll of Maryland citizens - all potential jurors in the planned retrial of Maryland Gov. Marvin Mandel and his five codefendants, who have been charged with political corruption - will not be made public until the retrial is over, according to a ruling filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore yesterday by presiding Judge Robert L. Taylor.
The poll, commissioned by the defense attorneys for Mandel and his codefendants, "attempts to show that a number of potential jurors in this district have formed an opinion about the guilt or innocence of the defendants . . . It concludes that the effects of the publicity will dissipate significantly over a period of at least four to six months." Taylor said in a 22-page memorandum.
"The conclusions drawn in the poll appear to invade the province of the court and are based on hearsay information," Taylor said. "In the opinion of the court, a public opinion poll is no substitute for voir dire examination (pre trial questioning of potential jurors by the judge and attorneys for both sides," the judge said.
However, he also complied with a prosecution request to keep the results of the poll sealed "until a verdict is rendered by the jury."