December 23, 2008

Jury Duty: It Can Get You Laid

In 2000, a defendant in a capital murder trial in Missouri was convicted. The jury had been sequestered, and one of the jurors complained to the judge that two of the other jurors had spent some time in sequestration having sex with one another. This is the basis for a defense motion to set aside the conviction. The argument is that the judge should have taken prophylactic measures to prevent this. A penetrating legal question, to be sure, as to whether one of the jurors should have withdrawn. Alas, it was not a hung jury. Tip your waitresses, folks, they're working hard out there for you.*

Another basis for the motion is that two sheriff's deputies who were guarding the sequestered jurors also had sex. What that has to do with anything is completely beyond me.

On a tangentially-related note, in 2003, a college student in New Jersey was murdered. The defendant was accused of ordering the murder. After having been convicted, the defendant's mother was, of course, very upset. She could not bring herself to believe that her son was guilty of the heinous crime. So she began stsalking the jurors and seduced one to get evidence of misconduct:

She gave herself an extreme makeover -- blonde dye job, fake tan, sexy wardrobe, phony name -- and began spying on jurors. ... [F]or nearly eight months, they drank at bars, smoked marijuana and shared meals in her tiny Brooklyn hideaway. ... [He told her] that he had personal knowledge that [the defendant] ran with a rough crowd.
A juror concealing personal knowledge of the defendant is potentially misconduct but it's far from clear that this would be prejudicial. It's one thing to "run with a rough crown" and it's something else to put a hit out on someone. And while the length to which the mother went to get this information is extraordinary, but it's difficult to say how reliable it is. Men have been known on occasion to attempt to get sex by telling women what they want to hear.

But the lesson is -- when you get that summons for jury duty, don't throw it in the trash. It just might be an Invitation To Love.

* Astonishingly bad jokes shamelessly lifted from the comments section at the Volokh Conspiracy. But an actual quote from the article: the defendant's "lawyer says her predecessor's didn't try hard enough." Okay, I'll stop now.

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