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Tales from the courthouse: Little interns have big ears

This trial has been going on for a week. Yesterday, they break for lunch. Before the jurors leave, the judge instructs them to not discuss the case, as their opinion should not be formed before all testimony is heard.

A judge's intern, who has been sitting in on the trial to observe, goes to the deli across the street from the courthouse for lunch. There, she observes several jurors discussing the case, some of them mentioning that they already have their verdict in mind.

The intern goes back and tells her judge, who proceeds to tell the sitting judge on the case. When the jury comes back from lunch, the judge asks if anyone on the jury has formed an opinion already. One guy raises his hand and claims that he's sure the defendant is guilty.

Mistrial declared.

And the lesson here is, be careful what you talk about in public. You never know who's listening.


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Happens all the time...otherwise how did I once get a verdict back in 20 minutes at the end of a 3 1/2 day trial. It weren't my mad lawyer skillz I'm quite sure. They usually take longer than that to elect a foreman. But I've never seen a jury who got caught doing it.

yeah, but that juror is the smartest motherfucker on the planet....he saw the window of opportunity to get out of jury duty and broke out like Phil Lynott.

I agree with doc. That juror would have to be really dumb to think that the deli across the street from the courthouse was a super-secret place to discuss the case. If the juror was that dumb, our justice system is better off without him.

I once had a juror tell the judge that she looked up the definition of proximate cause in the dictionary and she didn't think the defendant was the proximate cause of my client's injuries. The judge fined her $100 and threw her off the panel.

Of course, the other lesson here is that fewer and fewer people take the instructions of the bench, or their civic duty, seriously.

The one jury I served on had an overeager guy who tried to elect a foreperson every break (he wanted the job; it ended up going to me so we could all spite him). In deliberations he declared, "I decided way before lunch to vote not guilty. That cop is an asshole." Which was true, but had very little to do with the facts. But this guy spent the entire trial post-lunch loudly scoffing and sniffing at the prosecution and nodding along to the defense. I'm surprised there wasn't a mistrial.

And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling summer kids!

where else but the wonderful world of ASV could I get a Thin Lizzy AND a Scooby Doo ref to start my day.Y'all rule!!!

I overheard you saying how much you loved the song mmmmBOP by Hanson... ;) hehe

[so glad that someone knows the Laws of Lynott]

I accidentally hosed a jury during the selection phase once by observing during lunch that the prosecutor looked like the missing Belushi brother.

After the break, the prosecutor walked in, the jury laughed, and 20 questions later we were all in the hall.

-- Erik