Twelve residents of Maryland gather this morning around a large white formica table in a windowless room at the federal courthouse in Baltimore to decide whether their governor and five of his friends are criminals.
The federal jurors at the Mandel political corruption trial carry into their deliberations the disparate personal characteristics common to most groups thrown together by outside fines.
Seven are men, five are women. Eight arw white, four are black. Six were eager to serve on the jury, six were hesitant. Nine live in the metropolitan areas of Baltimore and Washington, three are from small rural towns.
For the last two months these 12 jurors spent their days sitting quietly in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Robert Love Taylor as 17 lawyers and scores of witnesses produced testimony that finally filled up thousands of pages of transcript.
At times, this endless stream of testimony lulled two or three of the jurors to sleep. They would doze off for a few minitues, only to be awakened by an unexpected crackle from the courtroom's sound system. At least six of the jurors were constantly vigilant, however, taking notes of almost everything that was said.
Here is a brief sketch of each of the Mandel trial jurors:
Howard O. Davis, the jury foreman, is a 67-year-old retired construction worker from Frostburg in the western part of the state. Davis told the court during jury selection in June that he knew "very little" about the case.
Calvin G. Lambson, 66, of Batlimore, is a retired teacher and coach at Northern High School who said that his work as a high school coach kept him from jury service six times before he was seated on the Mandel jury. Lambson said he "didn't think it is right for a governor to have financial dealings with men who many happen to be his friends, but also do business with the state."
Theodore T. Borwn, 27, a resident of Baltimore, has experience in criminal deliberations. Before being chosen for the Mandel trial, Brown served on juries for rape and robbery cases. He told the court that the charges against Mandel indicated he would hear "an interesting case." Brown works for the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. as a specialist in nuclear energy.
Steven E. Campbell, 23, of Westminster, is a college graduate who told the judge he wanted to serve on the Mandel jury for "selfish reasons" - to be part of "the action." Campbell is an employee of the Carroll County Youth Service Bureau.
Sonia II. Gichner, 44, is a Bethesda resident who said she felt it was her civic duty to serve on the jury. Gichner, a former employee of the National Institutes of Health, was a classmate of Mandel's attorney, Arnold Weiner, at the University of Maryland. Weiner recalled that coincidence during the jury selection; Gichner could not remember.
William II. Mann, of 36-year-old Gaithersburg resident, told the court during jury selection that he did not bother with politics because "it's too far over my head." Mann. who has been troubled by back injuries, holds a part-time job transporting race-horses from on track to another.
Sandra J. Brooks, 33, of Baltimore, is employed by the Potlach Corp.Her interest in the trial, she told the ocurt, was to find out "who is guilty, why they are guilty, and if they are not guilty, then why not."
Mary E. Britton, 21, is an aspiring guitar player who works at a wholesale food distribution plant in Baltimore. She said she wanted to be a part of the Mandel trial because it promised to "be a completely unique experience."
Leonard A. Meadows, 52, of Baltimore, was unsuccessful in his attempt to convince the judge that he should not serve on the jury. He argued that he "never had no experience in nothing like this." Meadows works at a Baltimore slaughterhouse.
Stevarlon A. Gross is a 19-year-old Silver Spring resident who has become ill twice during the proceedings but has nevertheless stuck it out, Gross did not want any part of the trial at first, saying: "I wouldn't want to stay out here and just be all by myself."
Donna L. England, 19, is a member of the Laurel volunteer rescue squad. During her interview, Judge Taylor called her an "intelligent little girl." Responded England: "I'm not sure I like the reference to little."
Thomas H. Franz III, 42, is a Baltimore electrical designer and father of six children who considers newspapers "a negative influcence in today's society."