Mistrials; impartial jurors
An encounter between a juror and an associate of the defendant during a lunch break is not grounds for a mistrial.
“Moore’s argument that a mistrial was necessary because the jury was compromised must fail because there is no sign of an adverse impact in the record. At the time of the lunchtime incident Moore’s attorney speculated that the jurors may have been fearful, and proposed that the court ‘err on the side of caution’ in its reaction, but speculation alone is insufficient to trigger a mistrial. Quite simply, ‘due process does not require a new trial every time a juror has been placed in a potentially compromising situation. Were that the rule, few trials would be constitutionally acceptable.’ Warner, 498 F.3d at 679 (citation omitted). The jurors stated that ‘nothing really happened’ and that they remained impartial. Their belief that they could deliver a fair and just verdict is supported by their conviction of Moore on two charges, but acquittal on a third. The court did not err in its response to the unintentional encounter, or in finding after its investigation that the jury was not compromised.”
08-4292 U.S. v. Moore
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Gilbert, J., Williams, J.