Could sex crimes be the next ‘Twitter trial’? Jury hears four weeks of testimony in guilty verdict against a professor

I’ve been here before — and I’m almost certain you have too. Yet every time, I get a bit of anxiety before the verdict.

What if I’m wrong? What if the jury has an excuse?

Lately, the answers have been yes — both the verdict and the reasoning. Here’s a quick refresher:

What happened

The charges: Five-year counts of sexual assault, burglary and related charges. Rittenhouse professor and Nichols Ewing professor of business administration Jonathan Grauer allegedly entered the apartment of Jennifer Ewert, Ph.D., of Malvern, Pa., around 3 a.m. on Oct. 10, 2014.

Ewert was in the apartment of one of her roommates with her pet fish tank in a decorative bowl. (Her roommate, Allison Melin, has testified that it was this tank that found the intruder). Grauer took out the tank and stuffed it into a small trunk, before she allegedly left. Ewert testified that she had just seen something dark in the hallway and then, when she looked back into the hallway, saw Grauer running away.

The trial: The trial lasted over three days, and the jury heard closing arguments from both prosecutors and defense attorneys on Friday.

Precedent: This case isn’t unprecedented. In 2004, Seth Jackson, another business school graduate, was convicted of felony trespassing and abuse of a corpse in the death of Mimi Lee.

What happens now

The jury is expected to review the evidence, keep the jury room to look at it (“The jury will keep the same table throughout,” a common practice) and discuss the case before deliberating.

Timeline: We’re to think about when the jurors walk into the room or how long they might take. The most interesting (and difficult) part is the deliberation process. Some people handle it well, others not so well. If the jury comes back with an initial decision, it usually takes a small but important leap of faith to accept it.

Is it bad? Difficult to say. Much of the point in going to jury duty is to have some assurance that it will remain confidential. Either way, the process is difficult and, perhaps, more punitive for sex crimes. But that goes without saying.

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