Lawyer, Blagg juror spar in testimony
A former juror at issue in Michael Blagg’s bid for a new trial testified that she wasn’t limited by impaired vision during Blagg’s March 2004 trial, despite writings she made in a journal over that same period.
Marilyn Charlesworth, of Orchard Mesa, took the witness stand Tuesday for direct examination from Blagg attorney Tina Fang, and their exchanges soon turned testy.
In a personal journal obtained by Blagg’s defense, Charlesworth wrote, “I can’t see jack.” Charlesworth and Fang sparred over the meaning of “jack.”
When interviewed by an investigator with the District Attorney’s office in 2005, Charlesworth said the entry referred to her inability to locate a friend who she thought may be in the courtroom, a doctor named “Jack.”
“OK, we’ll go with that’s not true,” Charlesworth testified Tuesday.
Fang at one point was admonished Wednesday by Chief District Judge David Bottger to remain “civil” in her questioning of Charlesworth.
Charlesworth testified her vision during Blagg’s trial was, at best, 20/40, meaning she was able to see at 20 feet what a person with corrected vision could see 40 feet away.
She acknowledged failing a vision examination in December 2003, when applying for a Colorado driver’s license.
“I think I did, but they gave me a license anyway,” Charlesworth testified, later adding she rode a motor scooter around town at the time.
Shirley Kreutzer, a bailiff during Blagg’s trial, testified that Charlesworth approached her shortly after opening statements, asking she be allowed to move to the front row in the jury box so she could see better. Once she was moved, Kreutzer testified Charlesworth made no other requests.
Charlesworth said she had no problem seeing witnesses or evidence after she switched seats. She said she enjoys an independent, active lifestyle including scuba diving and hiking.
“I worked with people at Mesa State College for 14 years who didn’t know anything (about vision problems), until all this broke,” Charlesworth said.
Blagg, 46, was convicted of murdering his wife, Jennifer, on April 16, 2004, and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Blagg’s attorneys have argued Charlesworth’s failure to disclose her problems during jury selection, while remaining silent when asked by attorneys at the same time if she used anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants, represents juror misconduct and justifies a new trial for Blagg.
David Eisner, an attorney who represented Blagg in 2004, testified that he likely would have moved to kick Charlesworth off Blagg’s jury had she disclosed her full health issues.
“If the DA didn’t, I would have,” he said.