FOR THE FIRST TIME, CAMERAS GO BEHIND CLOSED DOORS IN A
DEATH PENALTY CASE, AS A JURY DECIDES WHETHER AN ACCUSED KILLER
WILL LIVE OR DIE, ON THE TWO-PART PREMIERE OF "IN THE JURY ROOM"
ABC News Documentary Series Premieres Tuesday, August 10, at 10:00 p.m., ET
"In the Jury Room," an ABC News documentary series narrated by Senior Legal Correspondent Cynthia McFadden, premieres with an unprecedented and historic look at how a jury on a capital case goes about deciding whether a defendant will live or die. Thanks to a special order from the Ohio Supreme Court, ABC News cameras were allowed to observe jury deliberations in the case State of Ohio v. Mark Ducic. Ducic was charged with double homicide, and for three months, ABC News producers followed the case, documenting every step of the process, from the pre-trial preparations, through the full trial, to the surprising final verdict. Part 1 of "In the Jury Room: State of Ohio vs. Mark Ducic" airs TUESDAY, AUGUST 10, and Part 2 continues WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 11 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET, both evenings) on the ABC Television Network.
The prosecution says that when Mark Ducic's girlfriend threatened to go to the police about his drug dealing, he decided it was time for her to die. The prosecution claims that Ducic gave the woman a lethal drug cocktail, which made her death look like an accidental overdose. Twenty months later, concerned his friend was going to reveal his secret to the police, Ducic allegedly concocted a similar drug mixture to keep the friend quiet. Ducic confessed to the crimes on tape to an informant who was wired by police. Defense attorneys John Luskin and Mark Spadaro contend that their client is innocent of the crimes. They say his confessions were lies, acts of bravado to make him look more important than he is. The state has charged Ducic with mass murder. If the jury finds him guilty, they will be asked to decide whether he should be sentenced to death by lethal injection.
Because of the historic nature of this broadcast and its tremendous educational potential, ABC News will make a complete transcript of the jury deliberations available on the internet immediately after the program airs. The full video of the deliberations will later be provided to legal scholars.
During each hour of "In the Jury Room," ABC News cameras are there as prosecutors build and try a homicide case in court. Public defenders and defense attorneys also allowed ABC News to go inside the confidential lawyer-client relationship as they work to establish their defense. Judges permitted cameras to capture the action not only in their courtrooms, but also in chambers. And cameras were allowed to observe juries evaluating the evidence and trying to come to a consensus in what often proves to be a contentious process.
ABC News producers were granted total access to these six homicide cases through special orders from the Arizona, Colorado and Ohio supreme courts, which cited the educational value of providing viewers with this unique, "fly-on-the-wall" view of the legal system at work. In each case, every juror-as well as the defense, the prosecution and the judge-consented to the placement of the cameras in the jury room.
Michael Bicks is the executive producer of "In the Jury Room." Rudy Bednar is the senior executive producer. George Kachadorian, Susan Kriskey and Laura Viddy are the producers.