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How Juror Misconduct Can Affect a Criminal Case

A jury consists of a group of impartial citizens who have reviewed the evidence presented in a case in order to unanimously declare if a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The members of the jury cannot be influenced by biases, outside sources, and even other individuals who are not part of the trial while the case is ongoing.

If a juror acts beyond the rules of their role in the criminal justice system, it is considered “juror misconduct.” Such behavior can negatively affect a person's right to a fair trial, which could lead to the dismissal of the offending juror, a mistrial, or a new trial if the case has been concluded.

Common examples of juror misconduct include:

  • Independently investigating the case with evidence not used at trial
  • Discussing the details of the case to someone who isn't a member of the jury
  • Discussing the details of the case when all members of the jury are not present
  • Refusing deliberation
  • Concealing biases during jury selection

However, not all types of juror misconduct result in a new trial. While such behavior is grounds for an appeal, the court will determine if the misconduct had an impact on the results of the case.

If the court finds a significant likelihood that the decision of one or more jurors was affected by some form of prejudice in relation to the case or the defendant that wasn't part of the trial record, then the conviction can be reversed or vacated. On the other hand, if a juror's misconduct fails to influence the jury, the conviction will stand and the motion for a new trial will be denied.

For more information about juror misconduct, contact Wilfert Law P.C. today at 805-324-6777 and request a free consultation.