Ex-Juror Hiring Fuels Controversy In California


Defending 19-year-old man on charges of gang rape, Orange County, Ca., defense Attorney Joseph hired as consultants members of a jury that had heard the same case last year but was not able to reach a verdict, the Christian Science Monitor reports. County prosecutor Tony Rackauckas, calls the action “outrageous.” His concern: Jurors sitting on the second trial might conclude that they could be worth hiring too – if they refuse to convict. “He’s sending a message to the second jury that if they go the right way, they can get on the payroll, too.” Cavallo says the former jurors are helping him prepare to retry the case by telling him how they understood it. They are working alongside a more traditional team of professional jury consultants.

Jury consultants, including Tom Bernthal of Jury Insight in Los Angeles, have hired former jurors from civil trials to probe how they reached their verdicts. Legal experts have never heard of jurors in a criminal trial being used in such a fashion. “I’ve never heard of that, not once,” says Prof. Nancy Marder of Chicago-Kent College of Law. “It violates the core idea of jurors, that they are dispassionate, un-invested participants. That’s unseemly and compromises the integrity of the court system.”

Link: http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0302/p17s01-usju.html

Comments are closed.