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updated 3/30/2004 5:43:39 PM ET 2004-03-30T22:43:39

You‘ve probably heard the judge in the Tyco case refuse to declare a mistrial despite the apparent ‘OK’ sign that they say one of the jurors flashed the defense table on Friday. 

Now juror No. 4, described by one local newspaper in New York as “Ms. Trial,” is reportedly the lone holdout for acquittal.  Evidently, things are getting pretty testy in the jury room.  One note from the jury called the atmosphere in there poisonous.  Not surprising, I guess, considering these folks have spent the better part of the last six months listening to sometimes mind-numbing testimony about whether two top Tyco execs filched $600 million from the firm. 

Look, most people would rather go through a root canal without Novocaine than get stuck on a lengthy trial.  But the good news is that most of us see jury duty as our civic duty.  Surveys tell us that about one in five jurors don‘t even show up for their summons.  Of course, juror No. 4 did show up—for better or worse. 

Now a local New York paper has identified her by name and then called her “a paranoid socialite” and “a batty blue blood.”  You got to wonder if the person at the paper has ever served on a trial.  Our judicial system relies on people like juror No. 4 and her 11 colleagues to thoughtfully consider the evidence, even the mind-numbing stuff, and ultimately reach a just decision, whatever that decision is. 

But you‘ve got to wonder:  After putting so much time in, would a juror risk the entire trial and her own hard work by flashing hand signals in court? 

'Deborah Norville Tonight' airs weeknights, 9 p.m. ET on MSNBC.

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