Wednesday, October 27, 2021


The trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes took a strange turn recently when a juror was discovered playing Sudoku during the trial, allegedly as a means to concentrate on testimony.(CNBC, 10-22-21) Several weeks into the 7-week trial a juror was dismissed when revealing that her religious beliefs prevented her from finding someone guilty who may go to prison.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Juror Found in Contempt and Fined over $11,000

A federal judge in New Jersey has found a juror in contempt of court for violating the judge's instructions not to do research during the trial. The juror shared his online research and results of visits to the crime scene with the jury panel. The juror was fined over $11,000 as this resulted in a mistrial. (Search the Courier Post)

Friday, April 23, 2021

Judges Should Not Disregard Affidavits Alleging Juror Misconduct

As stated previously, judges risk mistrial on appeal (and retrial of the case)if they disregard allegations of juror misconduct. It is important to consider questioning each juror to determine the facts of the alleged misconduct and how each juror was affected.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Jurors Behaving Self-Centered: Fed. Judge to Excuse Anti-masking Jurors

A federal judge in Georgia has announced that any jurors in the jury pool who refuse to wear masks will be excused from the jury pool. Sorry, havimng trouble with link. Google: Judge William M Ray III

Friday, April 24, 2020

Post-Covin19 Courts: Where Do We Go From Here?

In Minnesota committees of judges and court staff are considering how to address the thousands of backlogged cases arising since the courts effectively closed with few exceptions.  Here is a link to a story about a federal judge who paused a jury trial and before resuming it is polling jurors as to their virus concerns should the trial resume:

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Juror Dismissed From Federal Leaker Case

Buried in an article in the Wall Street Journal today about a hung jury in the criminal trial of a former CIA employee, Joshua Schulte, who allegedly stole secrets and gave them to Wikileaks, is this reference:

" (juror) was dismissed during deliberations last week for reading news coverage of the case..."

The federal government must be concerned that it is spending millions to prosecute serious (El Chapo and Tsarnaev) criminals and lesser (Schulte) criminals only to be possibly thwarted by juror misconduct.  It's a serious problem in federal and state courts and seems to be continuing unabated.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Followup to Sept 16 post: NY's Highest Court Blasts Internet-Researching Jurors

The highest appellate court of New York has soundly criticized the bad-acting jurors who research on the Internet during trial in violation of the trial judge's admonitions.  Here we go again!  Murder conviction thrown out!  Retrial to great expense of all parties and anguish for witnesses.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Murder Conviction Tossed-Juror had texted 7,000 times during trial

Judges often comment about stuff that happens in the courtroom:  you can't make this stuff up.  Human behavior is limitless in the crazy things people do.  Like the guys peering into Old Faithful at Yellowstone Park despite all the warning signs- it's a federal crime!  So no one should be surprised that a juror texts 7,000 times during trial, the defendant is convicted and the conviction is reversed on appeal by the intermediate appellate court in New York.  It is now before NY's highest appellate court.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

What is a "Rogue Juror?"

A "rogue juror" applies their own specialized knowledge and experience when rendering a verdict rather than analyzing the evidence.  Here is the appellate decision:

Friday, April 12, 2019

Self-described "Stupid Old Fool" Juror Gets 8 Months in Jail for Internet Research

One would think the message has gotten around to the public that ignoring a judge's admonitions about jurors discussing trial service on social media or doing Internet research can result in fines and/or jail time. But, oh no, here's another:

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Defense Attorneys for El Chapo File Motion for Retrial

The lengthy and extremely expensive trial of El Chapo may have to be retried.  Defense attorneys have filed a motion for a new trial due to juror misconduct during the trial.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

After Trial, Juror Sends Victim "Virtual Hugs"

The MN Court of Appeals upheld the trial judge's denial of a Schwartz (post-trial juror misconduct)hearing after it came to light that a juror, after the trial, apparently being enamored with the attractive victim of the crime, sent the victim a text message that he was sending her "virtual hugs".  The juror allegedly got the phone number of the victim off a piece of evidence.  In a word: creepy.

Friday, May 4, 2018

ABA Article on Lawyers Searching Potential Jurors on Linked-In

Generally it is not unethical for lawyers to search for public information on jurors through Linked-In, but searching for private information or attempting to connect with a juror is unethical.  Lawyers should check their state's rules in this area as states differ on their rules.

Friday, April 27, 2018

New Trial Granted Due to Racially-Biased Comments by One Juror in Minnesota Federal Trial

Deja Vu: Facebooking Jurors Cause a Reversal of a Murder Conviction

This time it's in Iowa.  A murder conviction was reversed by the appellate court due to prejudice to the defendant from contacts on Facebook some of the jurors had both before and during deliberations. Pre-deliberations one juror discovered that one of the defendant's relatives was her Facebook friend.  During deliberations a juror shared that on Facebook there were posts about rumors that there would be a riot or violence if the defendant was not found guilty of something.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday, March 23, 2018

Juror Playing Games on Phone During Deliberations Held in Contempt

Just like paying attention to the professor in class (and obeying the judge's instructions)  failing to engage in jury deliberations by playing games on one's phone can result in contempt of court.

Friday, February 23, 2018

In Rare Cases Voir Dire May Be Closed to the Public

Here is a link to a recent trial in which, for the privacy concerns of potential jurors, voir dire (jury questioning) was closed to the public. The original conviction was reversed for juror misconduct.  The trial judge must make specific findings that closure is justified.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Trial Court Needs to Investigate Colorable Claim of Extraneous Influence on a Juror

Here is another case of a trial judge failing to investigate further alleged possible extraneous influence on a juror or juror misconduct during a trial:

Friday, February 2, 2018