5 Examples of Juror Misconduct That May Be Grounds for an Appeal

When it comes to appeal a criminal conviction, there are very strict rules about what qualifies as grounds for an appeal. A defendant cannot appeal his or her case simply because they disagreed with the decision that was made.

There must be evidence that some sort of legal error was made during the trial that obviously impacted the outcome of the case. Furthermore, the defendant’s lawyer must have “preserved the error, meaning he or she objected to it on the record during the trial in order to give the trial court an opportunity to correct their own error.

One situation that often qualifies as grounds to have an appellate court review a trial court’s decision is known as juror misconduct. In a jury trial, the jurors are required to follow strict protocols to ensure that they are able to give a fair and unbiased ruling as to the guilt or innocence of the defendant. If a juror commits some form of misconduct, it may be grounds for a retrial or to have the jury’s decision overturned on appeal.

Below we have detailed five common types of juror misconduct to could qualify as grounds for an appeal.

1) Inappropriate communication

Inappropriate communication with regard to a juror can occur in many forms. Essentially, if a juror engages in communication that in any way compromises his or her ability to make an impartial judgement, that is considered inappropriate communication. This could include discussing the case with another juror outside the deliberation room, or even discussing the case with a witness or an attorney.

2) Juror Experiments

Jurors are supposed to make their own judgement based on only the evidence that was presented in court and within the bounds of the law as described to them by the judge. If a jury members investigate or in any way seek to learn more about a case for themselves outside the evidence that was presented in court, this is a form of juror misconduct known as juror experiments.

3) Refusal to deliberate

If a juror or members of a jury refuse to deliberate a case for any reason, this is considered juror misconduct and is grounds for appeal.

4) Substance abuse

If it can be shown that a member of the jury was abusing drugs or alcohol in some way during their time as a juror, then it can reasonably be assumed that his or her judgement in making a decision about the case was impaired. Juror substance abuse is a major violation that could be a huge asset to an appeal.

5) Concealing information that is relevant to the case

If a juror willfully conceals aspects about their past that could be relevant to the case, and could reasonably lead to some sort of bias, then they have engaged in misconduct. For example, if a juror does not disclose that a family member was killed by a drunken driver, and they are selected to serve as a juror in a DUI case, then they have concealed very important information about themselves that clearly would impact their ability to make an impartial decision.

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Written by LaurentLawOffice

LaurentLawOffice

Laurent Law Offices, P.L. is committed to helping renters and landlords alike to achieve a fair and reasonable resolution to any dispute. Attorney Hegel Laurent has been a tenant for the vast majority of his life and he understands the intricacies of Landlord-Tenant law codified in Chapter 83 of the Florida Statutes. He received his J.D. from the prestigious University of Pennsylvania Law School and he is passionate about representing both those who rent property or those who own rental property.

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