The defendant had already been convicted of manslaughter for killing his neighbor by the jury, according to a New York Criminal Lawyer.
One of the key concepts in the case, included prominently in the jury instructions, was “prudence”. Specifically, they were asked to determine whether the defendant acted in prudence when it came to the victim.
The jury foreperson used his iPhone to access an Encarta and look up the word “prudence”, during a break from deliberations. He then shared this information with the other jurors, sources told New York Criminal Lawyers.
Once the defendant learned of this, he filed a motion seeking a new trial and was denied. Then, he tried to get review from the Court of Appeal of Florida. The appeal court reversed the decision, declaring the defendant was entitled to a retrial.
According to the appellate court, the concept of “prudence” may have been the subject that turned the case one way or another. Using the phone was just the same as using a dictionary and dictionaries are disallowed in juror deliberations. Their statement read in part that they could “not say there [was] no reasonable possibility that the … misconduct … did not affect the verdict in this case.”
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