August 18, 2010 By Paul Wallin

The 4th District California Courts of Appeal recently ruled on case in which the defendant was seeking a new trial after being found guilty. After the trial the defendant’s attorney learned that a specific juror was having daily discussions with a friend about the case who was not on the jury panel.  Based on the nature of these discussions, the 4th District ruled that a detrimental bias against the defendant was created and thus the defendant was entitled to a new trial based on that.

A defendant has a constitutional right to trial by an impartial jury.  Further, to preserve impartiality the jury’s deliberative process is shielded from all outside influences. All juries in criminal cases in Southern California and the United States are specifically instructed not to discuss with anyone, not even other jurors, the case at issue until it is time to deliberate.  Once that happens, the jurors may only consult with one another while determining the guilt or innocence of the person being tried.

In this case, the 4th District determined that the specific juror at issue was having daily discussions with a close friend about the case. Specifically the juror discussed the defendant’s choice not to testify on his own behalf and other essential details that created a bias in the juror toward the defendant.  This bias destroyed any impartiality that juror may have had and thus, the defendant was constitutionally entitled to a new trial.

If you or a loved one were found guilty in a criminal case in which you have reason to believe or know that there was juror misconduct involved, please contact the experienced Southern California criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich.  We’ve have been helping criminal defendants for over 40 years. Call us at (888) 280-6839. We will be there when you call.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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