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Court Rules on Juror Misconduct


When jurors are chosen to sit on a trial jury, they are required to take the position seriously. The responsibility that is inherent to the position of a juror in a trial is heady to say the least. That is especially true when the person is called to put their lives on hold while they sit for weeks on a highly publicized trial jury. A New York Criminal Lawyer said that it can be almost impossible for anyone to shut themselves off from any information that relates to a trial that is in the news and on the television and radio every time that they turn one on. It is incumbent upon the court to ensure that the juror is aware of their responsibility and to take action against those jurors who violate the standards that are set.

Because the court realizes that it is sometimes impossible to prevent a juror from being exposed to some type of information about a case that is highly publicized, it is often at the discretion of the court to determine if that juror can put aside the information that they have been exposed to outside of the courtroom in order to make a decision on the case based solely on the information that is presented in the court. In most cases, a court simply asks the juror and accepts the juror’s response. However, there are times when that is not possible, for instance it may not be possible if the juror has been discovered to have discussed the case outside of the jury room with an uninvolved acquaintance. In most cases, when a juror is found to have participated in that type of misconduct, they will be dismissed from the jury and an alternate will take their place.

In one case that was a highly publicized rape and robbery case from 1973, the juror went to dinner with some friends while she was sitting on the jury. While at dinner, they were joined by some acquaintances of another one of her friends. In this group was a defense attorney. Over dinner, the woman told her tablemates that she was on the jury and that she had been instructed not to discuss the case. She stated that she had made up her mind about the man’s guilt, but that she would listen to the viewpoints of the other jurors before putting in her vote. Later in the day, she found out that the woman was a defense attorney and pointed asked her if she was familiar with the accuracy of DNA evidence as well as a few other questions. She also stated that she had looked on the computer to find out what the defense attorney’s credentials were. All of these statements are violations of the code of conduct for jurors. The defense attorney whom the woman had spoken to worked for the legal aid society.

When she returned to work the following Monday, she told her boss about the encounter with the juror. Her boss later contacted the defense attorney who was handling the case. Unfortunately, by the time that she made him aware of the juror’s misconduct, the case had been decided. A Staten Island Criminal Lawyer said the juror misconduct was listed as part of the reason for the appeal. Also, listed as a reason for the appeal was that the case had not been sent to trial in a timely fashion.

The defendant claimed that following the commission of the crime, he was not taken to trial for more than 20 years. He stated that the delay in taking him to trial violated his right to have a fair and speedy trial. The appeals court began their review of the case with the defendant’s supposition that he was deprived of his right to a speedy trial. The right to a speedy trial is another integral part of the United States constitution. The question that is approached here is if the timing starts when the crime is committed, or when the authorities are made aware of the crime. Additionally, does the time become excessive when the authorities are looking for the person? If the time starts when the person is identified, then it would be in the best interest of all criminals to jump bail and abscond for as long as possible.

In this trial, the offender had a long history of felony crimes dating back to 1946. He used multiple alias names and dates of birth. He even used different social security numbers to throw the police off of his trail. However, the rape that he was arrested for in 1973 was the one that he actually committed in 1946. The court was called upon to determine if this was a violation of his right to a speedy trial. It was only after AFIS, the automated fingerprint identification system was in place that he was connected to all of the different alias identities that he had used over the years. It also came to light that he had left the country for a period of years.

After he jumped bond in 1977, he was actually arrested by the authorities in Washington, D.C. However, because he used a different identity in that arrest, he was not returned to Queens, New York on the active bench warrant that was in effect in relationship to the rape that he had committed there. When he was tried in Washington for the assault that he committed there, he was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital he claims for the next three years. There are no documents that can confirm this because again, he claims that he used an alias, but he could not tell the authorities which one he used. Once DNA evidence became the norm in the courtroom, a DNA search on his DNA verified that he had committed nine rapes in Maryland and two in New Jersey in addition to the one that he had absconded from in Queens. His crime spree lasted from 1945 until 1993. There is no way to know at this time how many women he victimized while he was living in Egypt from 1993 until 2004.

When he first returned to the United States, he lived in Georgia, where he obtained a valid Georgia driver’s license in one of his alias names. He also obtained health insurance in that name. In 2004 he moved back to New York and applied to purchase a hand gun. The fingerprint check on the handgun is was led authorities to his location and his ultimate arrest. The court was amazed that he would attempt to use his own flight from justice as a means to appeal his conviction. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer the court was not sold on his concept that he was denied a speedy trial based on the circumstances of the delay. Since, the delay of justice had nothing to do with the authorities failing to bring him to justice, but rather, the delay was caused by his own actions, the court dismissed his complaint on all counts.

At Stephen Bilkis & Associates with its rape Lawyers, have convenient offices throughout New York and the metropolitan area. Our criminal lawyers can provide you with advice to guide you through difficult situations. Without a felony attorney, you could lose precious compensation to help your family.

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