A Louisville prosecutor was fired after being accused of berating a juror who voted to acquit a man accused of rape. The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Stengel fired Sandra McLeod yesterday, shortly after she approached a juror in the Jefferson County courthouse about the case of Edward Nation.
Janet Irwin, an assistant jury manager, said McLeod grabbed the juror by the arm and screamed at her in a packed hallway, asking why the jury found Nation innocent Tuesday of kidnapping and raping a 17-year-old girl. Irwin called a sheriff’s deputy to step in. “The juror ran into the bathroom sobbing,” Irwin said.
McLeod, a prosecutor since 1999, said that the incident was “overblown” and that she never assaulted or screamed at the juror. McLeod said she became emotionally involved in the Nation case and was greatly disappointed by the jury’s decision. McLeod said it was one in a wave of recent acquittals in rape cases. “I decided we had to figure out what’s going on,” she said. “I resolved that either I shouldn’t do these cases anymore, or maybe I should try to figure out what is wrong. I mean, what does the jury want to hear?”
“My exact words were, `I respect your verdict,'” McLeod said. “But I asked what was missing, what kind of evidence do you need to hear in a rape case?” McLeod, who described herself as high strung and emotional, conceded that she talked loudly to the woman, but she rejected any notion that she yelled at the juror or touched her inappropriately.