It is difficult to understand the immensity of the responsibility that serving on a jury can be for some people. In this age of electronic information obtainable on the internet and even on a person’s telephone, it can be a daunting task for a juror to follow the instructions provided by the judge and make a determination only on the information that is presented in the courtroom. It is no surprise then when a juror is found guilty of misconduct for investigating a case on their own to attempt to help them make their decisions. As students, we are all taught to research a topic before we can make an informed opinion and not to rely solely on information that is provided by word of mouth. A New York Criminal Lawyer said when assigned to a jury and told that they are not allowed to make an informed decision based on research, many can feel lost and compelled to research the case on their own. This was the case, with one juror who was sitting on a non-sequestered jury, hearing the details of a serial sex crime offender’s case (rape). During the trial, the woman went to dinner with several friends and their acquaintances.
At that dinner, the woman brought up some of the details of the case that she was sitting on the jury for. She stated that the case was about a teen aged defendant who had cut up and raped a woman as part of a gang initiation. She allegedly stated that she had made up her mind about the defendant and his guilt in the situation. However, she stated that she knew she had a duty to deliberate the case with the other jurors before she actually made up her mind. She stated that the jury was a diverse group of people and she would need to hear what everyone had to say about the situation. She was unaware that one of the dinner guests was a defense attorney until later that night when they were walking to the train station. As they were walking, the woman talked to the attorney and found out that she was a defense attorney. The woman asked the attorney what she thought about DNA evidence because she had Googled the defense attorney involved in the case on her computer and discovered that he had a private practice. She asked pointed questions about DNA evidence and if she had ever had an opportunity to represent anyone who had their DNA match a crime several years after the offense had occurred.
The defense attorney informed her that it was not appropriate to discuss the case and that she could not answer the question for her. A Manhttan Criminal Lawyer said that the juror told the attorney that all of the information was in, but that the jury had not received the charge yet. The attorney attempted to change the subject. The following Monday morning, the defense attorney who worked for Legal Aid discussed the situation with her supervisor and her supervisor contacted the defense attorney who was handling the case. It was several days later before the chain of phone calls got to the correct people. By that time, the defendant had been convicted of the crime. As soon as the defense attorney for the defendant learned of the juror’s impropriety, he filed a motion for a mistrial on the case.
In determining the extent of harm caused by the impropriety of the juror, the court called her in to the judge’s office to interview her. The juror stated under oath that while she used poor judgment when she discussed the case in front of others, she did not receive any information that could affect how she evaluated the evidence presented. The court determined that the defendant’s conviction was not substantially affected by her impropriety and the motion to overturn the verdict was denied.
At Stephen Bilkis & Associates, you can allow the our criminal lawyers to help you with convenient offices located throughout New York area. Our sex crimes Attorneys will defend your rights in the event that you are detained.