The discovery that two jurors in the corruption trial of former Illinois Gov. George Ryan appear to have hidden arrests or convictions is forcing a federal judge to steer carefully to avoid a mistrial, says the Chicago Tribune. U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer has risky options. “Any misstep by the trial court can lead to a reversal,” said Ronald Safer, a defense attorney and former federal prosecutor. “It’s an extremely delicate process.” Safer adds: “If you leave a juror on, you can be reversed. If you take a juror off, you can be reversed.”
After a 5 1/2-month trial and eight days of deliberations, the Tribune uncovered public records last week that appear to indicate two jurors gave false answers on questionnaires. A male juror had the same name and other identifying characteristics as a man with a felony DUI conviction. A second juror, a woman, could be linked to an alias. The woman with that alias faced drug and other charges. She was not convicted. The jurors said on pretrial questionnaires that they had never been charged with a crime.