The Runaway Jury Essay

This essay has a total of 2518 words and 10 pages.

The Runaway Jury

By John Grisham

Takes place in Biloxi, Mississippi.


Nicholas Easter – (real name is Jeff Kerr) Juror that was a plant on the jury. He
and his girlfriend Marlee had money motives. Nicholas molded the jury from day one to vote
his way.

Marlee – (aka Claire Clement - real name is Gabrielle Brant) Nicholas Easter's
accomplice on the outside of the courtroom.

Rankin Fitch - Ran the show of high-priced lawyers and consultants for the defendant,
Pynex (tobacco co.). Directed all the illegal proceedings going on outside the courtroom
for the defendant.

Durwood Cable - Head lawyer for the defendant team.

Wendal Rohr – Plaintiff's, Mrs. Jacob Wood, head lawyer.

Judge Frederick Harkin - the presiding justice for this case.

This story was about how two very smart and focused individuals who could manipulate a
jury and the defense team in a multi-million dollar legal battle to receive a very large
cash payment. The defense was Pynex, a tobacco company, and they had very deep pockets and
were willing to pay for the correct verdict. A verdict for not guilty.

The story starts with the very laborious job of jury selection. The tobacco industry has
on their payroll a man by the name of Rankin Fitch. Fitch foresees the selection of the
lawyers and consultants. Fitch and the consultants foresee the selection of the jurors.
Each perspective juror is investigated and watched. The defense as well as the plaintiffs
want to secure a verdict so they only want jurors sympathetic to their side. Fitch along
with Rohr, the plaintiff's lawyer, also had high priced detectives tailing perspective
jurors. Anyone who was the least bit wrong for their cause had to be eliminated from the

One person both sides couldn't find any information on was Nicholas Easter. He seemed
rather neutral which is good for both sides but not being able to find out his past made
them nervous. Nicholas had covered his tracks rather well along with Marlee his
accomplice. The two of them wanted Nicholas on that jury for personal as well as monetary
reasons. Their hard work was paid off because Nicholas along with eleven other people was
selected as the jurors.

The case had to do with Mr. Jacob Wood. He died in his early fifties from lung cancer. The
plaintiff was trying to prove that the lung cancer was directly caused from smoking.
Wendall Rohr's first witness was Jacob Wood on video sitting on his deathbed. There were
many experts on lung cancer and doctors with statistics. Durwood Cable tried to prove that
smoking did not give Mr. Wood his lung cancer and he had his own experts and statistics.
Nicholas Easter's job was to sway the verdict one way or another to the side with the
deepest pockets. In other words the side that paid him the most. All of the time it was
the tobacco companies that had the most money. They had never lost a case yet and they
weren't about to lose this one and Nicholas knew this. He would make them pay big for a
sure verdict.

Nicholas and Marlee had to get Fitch's attention to let him know that there was someone
working on the jury and outside and they could make his life miserable or quite pleasant.
This was Marlee's job. She left Fitch a note telling him what clothes Nicholas was going
to wear the next day. Fitch knew he had to investigate Nicholas deeper. He hired Doyle, a
private eye, to search Nicholas' apartment. He found nothing of interest and couldn't get
into Nicholas computer. It had a sophisticated security system. When Nicholas came home he
went directly to his computer. What Doyle didn't know is that Nicholas had surveillance
cameras hidden throughout his apt. and now the tape, which was on the computer, with him
breaking and entering, was there for Nicholas to use to get what he wanted.

Meanwhile, Nicholas was getting the jurors trust. They started to look to him for
information and advice. He told them that at one point he was a law student and he seemed
very knowledgeable so they asked him many questions. He was also very confident in things
he did and said and he was very friendly ready to lend a hand to anyone. All these things
enabled him to sway these people his way. He even swayed Judge Harkin to get the jurors
better food and walks for relaxation. On the weekends the defense team did their share of
swaying the jury or should I say a light touch of blackmail. For instance one of the
jurors, Lonnie Shaver, worked in a manager position in a supermarket chain. The tobacco
company just so happened to purchase the chain and they approached Lonnie saying that he
would have an upper management position if he could just vote the right way and maybe sway
some other jurors. If he didn't his position was not to promising. One person that never
would show his feelings because he never discussed the case, as per Judge Harkin's rules,
was jury foreman, Herman Grimes, who happened to be blind. He was very honest and took his
position seriously.

One day during court the man, Doyle, who had broke into Nicholas apt. appeared in court.
Nicholas wrote a note to the judge to tell him that a man who followed him was in the
court room. Doyle disappeared out of the courtroom before anything could take place. At
recess the Judge told Nicholas to keep him informed of any other strange occurrences.

Marlee called Fitch again to tell him that the jury would come into the courtroom and
instead of sitting down they would say the Pledge of Allegiance. When this happened Fitch
was amazed at what control Nicholas and Marlee had over the jurors. That weekend Marlee
followed jurors, Stella Hulic and her husband to Florida. When they were in their hotel
room Marlee called and said to Stella, 'You need to be careful, they are following you';.
Mr. Hulic got on the phone and Marlee explained that the tobacco agents were watching his
wife and they were vicious. She hung up. Stella was hysterical. That Monday Stella told
Nicholas and he made her even more scared telling her that the tobacco co. would not stop
at anything to get the verdict they wanted. At lunch Nicholas saw Judge Harkin and told
him of what happened to Stella. Then he said that Frank Herrera had already made up his
mind and was trying to influence other jurors. Then he showed the judge the tape of the
man breaking into his apt. This was all being done to get rid of some jurors who would be
hard to sway and on the wrong side. Meanwhile Marlee calls up Fitch to tell him what
Nicholas told the judge about Doyle and the breaking in the apt. Fitch panics because he
can't afford to have the tobacco co. get caught in illegal goings on. Fitch now knows
Marlee and Nicholas are in charge and not him. That afternoon Judge Harkin released Stella
Hulic from her juror position and put in an alternate. He also sequested the jurors and
advised them to home and pack and that the next two weeks would be spent in a hotel.
Continues for 5 more pages >>