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Hung jury, 11 to 1, mistrial

kenny

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After 3 weeks my jury duty service is finally over.
Charge was 1st degree murder.

They took 3 votes during jury deliberations; every time it was 11 guilty, 1 not guilty.
Prosecution's evidence and witness testimony was a slam dunk, well it was to the 11 with functioning brains.

The coroner testified that 3 of the 6 gunshots caused wounds that were fatal, through the brain, the heart and the liver.
Coroner pics of exit wounds were hard to view.
It happened outside a bar in a rough part of town.
The bar's 6 video cameras captured everything.

The holdout juror kept insisting judging is against the Bible, even though all jurors were told (both before the trial started, and after closing arguments) the law and jury instructions explicitly state that jurors must put personal beliefs aside and decide the case based ONLY on the evidence and witness testimony presented in the courtroom.
She violated the law, so now a murderer may walk free, or there may be a retrial.

The defense attorney lied through his teeth.
He mentioned God and we jurors risking our eternal life with a guilty verdict for an innocent man, easily 40 times over the 3 weeks.
Nobody stopped him or objected to his extensive religious preaching during the trial.
The bastard knew exactly what he was doing ... blowing a dog whistle heard by members of the huge club of brainwashed and easily-manipulated fearful people.
It worked.

What ever happened to separation of church and state?
I am pissed!
 
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kenny

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She should have never been accepted as a juror. Whenever I see a Dateline I think "God I hope I never have to be judged by my peers".

Unfortunately when interviewing prospective jurors they do not ask about religion. :angryfire:
Another tragic example of how nearly everyone in our society give religions a pass. :nono:

They do ask though whether you can put aside your personal beliefs and come to a verdict based ONLY on what is presented in the courtroom, under the meticulous scrutiny of both attorneys and the judge.

Either she lied, or is so friggin brainwashed since sunday school that she assumes it's a given that religion preempts EVERYTHING. :doh:
 
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Bonfire

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The holdout juror kept insisting judging is against the Bible, even though all jurors were told (both before the trial started, and after closing arguments) the law and jury instructions explicitly state that jurors must put personal beliefs aside and decide the case based ONLY on the the evidence and witness testimony presented in the courtroom.

That sucks Kenny. She should have told the judge during jury selection questioning that she would NOT be able to impartially render a guilty verdict. She misrepresented herself. I bet the deliberations got hot!
 

kenny

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That sucks Kenny. She should have told the judge during jury selection questioning that she would NOT be able to impartially render a guilty verdict. She misrepresented herself. I bet the deliberations got hot!

Yes, in the final hours many of the jurors and her sank to a level of tears and hollering!

I honestly think this woman had no clue that her religious teaching was something that is even possible to set aside, even when it is the law.
I suspect, in her mind, it is not simply "religious teaching"; it is the absolute truth that everyone must agree with or end up in hell.

A lifetime of brainwashing, especially when started as a small child, is a powerful thing.
To her, a murderer possibly walking free is less important than securing her place in heaven.
 
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VRBeauty

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I can understand why you’re upset, Kenny. I can’t imagine being a juror in a case where there is so much on the line in the first place - and then to see everyone’s efforts and sacrifices thrown away like that must be beyond frustrating.

I’m curious - did the foreman make any attempt to discuss the holdout’s reasoning with the judge?
 

kenny

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I can understand why you’re upset, Kenny. I can’t imagine being a juror in a case where there is so much on the line in the first place - and then to see everyone’s efforts and sacrifices thrown away like that must be beyond frustrating.

I’m curious - did the foreman make any attempt to discuss the holdout’s reasoning with the judge?

No she did not.
But nearly every juror did confront this woman during deliberations.
Nobody could get through to her.

She is certain that her beliefs are right, unquestionable, and unchallengeable.
 

MrsBlue

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No she did not.
But nearly every juror did confront this woman during deliberations.
Nobody could get through to her.

She is certain that her beliefs are right, unquestionable, and unchallengeable.

Was the holdout juror also the foreperson???
 

kenny

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Craziness.I thought that if someone pulled a stunt like this, it would be a reason to boot them and call in one of the alternates.

I agree.
Frankly I was one of the two remaining alternates.
I got all these details by speaking with the 12 jurors who lingered a long time in the hallway and then in the parking structure after the jury was dismissed.

I spoke for around 20 minutes with the forewoman in the parking structure as we were going to our cars.
When she, a wonderful person BTW, told me about this juror not following the law (jury instructions) I gently and politely told her that if I was the foreman, or even one of the 12 in the room I would have asked to speak with the judge, one on one in private.
I think she was intimidated by the elephant in the courtroom, the formality and intimidation of the structure of a real legal trial, especially for such a serious crime. Jurors don't feel free to speak up, just silently obey and know your place.
Was the holdout juror also the foreperson???

No
 

Daisys and Diamonds

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After 3 weeks my jury duty service is finally over.
Charge was 1st degree murder.

They took 3 votes during jury deliberations; every time it was 11 guilty, 1 not guilty.
Prosecution's evidence and witness testimony was a slam dunk, well it was to the 11 with functioning brains.

The coroner testified that 3 of the 6 gunshots caused wounds that were fatal, through the brain, the heart and the liver.
Coroner pics of exit wounds were hard to view.
It happened outside a bar in a rough part of town.
The bar's 6 video cameras captured everything.

The holdout juror kept insisting judging is against the Bible, even though all jurors were told (both before the trial started, and after closing arguments) the law and jury instructions explicitly state that jurors must put personal beliefs aside and decide the case based ONLY on the evidence and witness testimony presented in the courtroom.
She violated the law, so now a murderer may walk free, or there may be a retrial.

The defense attorney lied through his teeth.
He mentioned God and we jurors risking our eternal life with a guilty verdict for an innocent man, easily 40 times over the 3 weeks.
Nobody stopped him or objected to his extensive religious preaching during the trial.
The bastard knew exactly what he was doing ... blowing a dog whistle heard by members of the huge club of brainwashed and easily-manipulated fearful people.
It worked.

What ever happened to separation of church and state?
I am pissed!

Im not sure how it works but that juror should have been throw off the jury
Its a pity she wasn't challenged by the prosecution durring jury selection
 

Bonfire

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The forewoman could have brought the conflict to the Judge but he would have instructed her to continue to deliberate and try to come to a verdict. The holdout can’t be dismissed or replaced solely for her vote. Unfortunately it ended up as it did.
 

MollyMalone

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I understand why some people are reluctant or totally unwilling to serve on the jury of any criminal case, let alone a murder trial where they can safely assume the sentence will not be insignificant. Being a juror is an imposing responsibility. (Throughout all my years as NYC ADA, I myself always flinched internally upon hearing the handcuffs snap on after a guilty verdict was announced.)

But what I don't understand is why a person who believes that it's sinful to judge others would want to serve on a trial jury.

If it's any comfort to you, @kenny, I'm confident that there will be a retrial (or the defendant will agree to a plea that carries a substantial sentence) given the coroner's testimony, autopsy photos, and the footage captured by the bar's multiple surveillance cameras. I.e., this isn't a case that hinges on the jury finding, e.g., an eyewitness's testimony to be unquestionable. Plus, the 11-1 verdict itself certainly should not boost the defendant's confidence that he will be acquitted the next time around.

I don't know California criminal law, but I imagine it's the same as here in New York: a judge is prohibited from singling out a hold-out juror for a talking-to (or as the hold-out in your case might say, "a come to Jesus meeting') -- nor can the judge replace the holdout juror with an alternate. What the judge can do, after being advised more than once, that the jury is unable to reach a unanimous verdict, is give a more particularized charge to the jury like this one:
 

MrsBlue

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@MollyMalone and @Bonfire thanks so much for the clarification.

I find the "logic" here interesting because the juror believed that judging was against the Bible yet she got on the jury and judged. Voting guilty or not guilty is still a judgment.

I wonder if lying to get on a jury is also against the Bible.
 

GliderPoss

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Gawd how frustrating!!!! I hope you are ok after having to deal with such an awful topic for weeks on end. I am surprised she wasn't excluded from the initial selection.

I experienced a similar issue on my own jury duty years ago (one person against 11) but the foreperson raised it with the judge who told us to try one more time to agree then leave it with him. I believe from memory our verdict of guilty was enforced? Can't recall exactly... The one juror believed we were being racist against the accused because they happened to be of a different faith. The remaining jurors felt it had nothing absolutely to do with the accusation & evidence of sexual assault but he was utterly convinced! :roll:
 

kenny

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The forewoman could have brought the conflict to the Judge but he would have instructed her to continue to deliberate and try to come to a verdict. The holdout can’t be dismissed or replaced solely for her vote. Unfortunately it ended up as it did.

The forewoman did do that, but IMO not thoroughly enough.
Here's what happened, and why I think that.

Alternate jurors do not participate in, or are even present in the room where the 12 jurors deliberate with nobody else present.
While we two alternates jurors waited in a separate room they summoned us to the courtroom.
There, with the judge and both lawyers present, the forewoman told the judge the jury is hung.

The judge asked, without revealing in which direction (guilty or not it was hung) ... how hung was it? ... as in 6-6, 8-4 etc.
When told it was 11 to 1, the judge asked them to try again to reach a unanimous verdict.
They did that, for about a day.

Then we alternates were summoned to the courtroom, assuming it must be for the verdict reading.
Nope, still hung 11-1. :angryfire:

Then judge asked foreperson whether it might be helpful if they went back and listed in detail precisely what in the evidence, eye witness and expert testimony, or law instructions is the reason that 1 juror came to a different conclusion than the 11.
Then each lawyer would get 15 minutes to address those points, prosecution first, since that side has the burden of proof and defendants are considered innocent till proven guilty.
The the defense would also gets 15 minutes.
Then the prosecution gets another 5 min to respond.

The jury spent a few hours doing preparing the sticking points.
Back in the courtroom foreperson read 7 things for the lawyers to address, which they did.
Back into deliberations for several hours.
Back into the courtroom to read the verdict, sameo sameo. :(sad

IMO right here is where the forewoman messed up.
She should have asked for a private sidebar with the judge to tell him the holdout is not following the jury instructions, and keeps insisting it is because of her beliefs.
I think and hope the law allows the judge to replace the law-breaking juror with one who understands and swears to obey the law.
This didn't happen.

Judge declares a mistrial and dismisses the jury.

Jury and alternates then hang out in hallway and parking lot relishing their first chance to finally discuss the 3-week trial's detail and nuances.
I was told the woman who voted not-guilty left immediately.
 
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kenny

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Gawd how frustrating!!!! I hope you are ok after having to deal with such an awful topic for weeks on end. I am surprised she wasn't excluded from the initial selection.

I experienced a similar issue on my own jury duty years ago (one person against 11) but the foreperson raised it with the judge who told us to try one more time to agree then leave it with him. I believe from memory our verdict of guilty was enforced? Can't recall exactly... The one juror believed we were being racist against the accused because they happened to be of a different faith. The remaining jurors felt it had nothing absolutely to do with the accusation & evidence of sexual assault but he was utterly convinced! :roll:

When questioned during jury selection before the trial we all were asked the same questions.
One did confess she was biased against person's of the defendant's race and was dismissed ... BTW, she was also thanked politely and profusely by the judge for being truthful.

IMO this is juror did this because she is clueless that she is deeply brainwashed by her religion, which as I've opined many times can turn brains off.
I believe she truly felt God outranked any a judge or legal instructions, and can therefore be ignored.
Of course only glob knows what goes on in someone's mind.

I'll say again, I believe in freedom of religion ... but not in freedom for religions to do harm.
And when they do harm the vast majority of us keep quiet out of "respect for religion". :nono: :doh::wall:
 
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kenny

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.... The holdout can’t be dismissed or replaced solely for her vote.

But what if the holdout juror is not obeying the law, IOW the jury instruction that states jurors must swear to set aside personal biases and base their verdice only on evidence presented in court?

IMO in her mind her religion is not a personal bias.
It is simply divine truth. :wall:
 
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Bonfire

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I certainly don’t know what leeway the Judge has in this situation. Maybe @MollyMalone can weigh in here? I’ve sat on two juries and one we had a hold out juror too (Civil not Criminal case) but we were able to turn her vote. It totally sucks but hung juries happen a lot. You’ve been through an emotional roller coaster and it takes time to sort through it and decompress. Frustrating experience for those 11 jurors.
 

kenny

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... You’ve been through an emotional roller coaster and it takes time to sort through it and decompress. Frustrating experience for those 11 jurors.

Yes, especially since you can't discuss the trial with anyone, even a spouse, fellow juror, therapist, or clergy.
You are isolated and alone while this cancer from the humanity's dark side eats at your insides.

3 weeks of muzzling was particularly difficult for me.
After years of therapy I'm trained to immediately and thoroughly get things off my chest.

It also explains the huge explosion of emotion and discussion in the hallway when we were all finally let out of this jail, I mean dismissed.
 
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MollyMalone

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I certainly don’t know what leeway the Judge has in this situation. Maybe @MollyMalone can weigh in here? I’ve sat on two juries and one we had a hold out juror too (Civil not Criminal case) but we were able to turn her vote. It totally sucks but hung juries happen a lot. You’ve been through an emotional roller coaster and it takes time to sort through it and decompress. Frustrating experience for those 11 jurors.
I can only say, with certainty, that there is no judicial leeway when this scenario arises in NY criminal trials. By New York statute, once jury deliberations have begun, a deliberating juror can be replaced by an alternate only with the defendant's written and signed consent -- regardless of the reason for the excusal/dismissal of the deliberating juror. (Maybe this requirement would be deemed inapplicable if the reason for the juror's excusal was attributable to the defendant, e.g., the defendant threatened a juror after deliberations had begun, but I don't know of a NY case that addresses that.) If the defendant does not consent to the replacement by an alternate, the judge has to declare a mistrial.
In other words, the NY Legislature long ago decided that in this particular situation, it's the defendants themselves who determine what happens next; would the defendant rather (a) have the jury deliberations begin anew with the alternate juror, or (b) force a mistrial.

Yes, especially since you can't discuss the trial with anyone, even a spouse, fellow juror, therapist, or clergy.
You are isolated and alone while this cancer from the humanity's dark side eats at your insides.

3 weeks of muzzling was particularly difficult for me.
After years of therapy I'm trained to immediately and thoroughly get things off my chest.

It also explains the huge explosion of emotion and discussion in the hallway when we were all finally let out of this jail, I mean dismissed.
That "no discussion" obligation is such an unnatural one! I think it's amazing, and very admirable, that most jurors abide by that rule & the prohibitions against reading about the trial and the case in general, going on the Internet, etc. I wonder if, generally speaking, alternate jurors who never become part of the deliberations chafe at those restrictions even more than deliberating jurors because, as it turned out, those alternates abided by the rules "for no good reason" so to speak. I know of jurors who remained in contact after the trial with at least some of their fellow jurors because of the bond (or perhaps more accurately, the chains) they shared.

Please know that many appreciate how you, and the others, lived up to your oath, withstood hardship, in order to faithfully execute your responsibilities as jurors.
 

kenny

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...
That "no discussion" obligation is such an unnatural one! I think it's amazing, and very admirable, that most jurors abide by that rule & the prohibitions against reading about the trial and the case in general, going on the Internet, etc. I wonder if, generally speaking, alternate jurors who never become part of the deliberations chafe at those restrictions even more than deliberating jurors because, as it turned out, those alternates abided by the rules "for no good reason" so to speak. I know of jurors who remained in contact after the trial with at least some of their fellow jurors because of the bond (or perhaps more accurately, the chains) they shared.

Please know that many appreciate how you, and the others, lived up to your oath, withstood hardship, in order to faithfully execute your responsibilities as jurors.

Thank you MM.
While I agree the no-discussion obligation is unnatural, I fully understand it and agree with the need for it.

A fair trial is priority 1!
Strictly controlling what jurors see/hear/experience is the only way to ensure their votes are based only on what is presented in court ... of course barring what happed in this mistrial. :nono:

If a juror talks about details of the case to anyone, they can be influenced by what others say, suggest, and advise in reply.
... and why is that bad?
What others say to a juror in reply is not meticulously scrutinized and controlled by 3 key players in our justice system, the judge and both lawyers.

That's why such potentially influential discussions are not fair to the defendant.
It can be challenging enough to set aside our own biases, but sometimes harder to set aside the biases from our spouses, therapists, clergy.

Anyway, I think after each trial jurors should meet in the courtroom bar :mrgreen2: for free drinks and time to unwind together.
One can hold in a huge fart for only so long.

Though difficult, I was happy to obey the muzzle jury instruction because if I am ever falsely accused of a crime I hope my jurors are not improperly influenced in this uncontrolled way.
... not that I believe in karma or other superstitions.
 
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kenny

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You'd think "thou shalt not kill" would trump "thou mustn't judge". Priorities.

Many things that simply come naturally to all of us, like sexual desire and judging others, are classified as sins.

It's another way they get you.
Invent a problem, then sell you the solution. :clap:

It works brilliantly and generates massive profits by marketing many invented products, including religions.
 
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