Articles Posted in Members (Jury) Issues

Lawyer seeks to prevent opponent from wearing worn shoes: The economy may be in the dumps, but lawyers shouldn’t skimp on their pumps, according to this story in the Palm Beach Post. (H/T The Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog). Florida defense lawyer Michael Robb found himself the target of a motion asking the court to prevent him from wearing shoes with holes in the soles, which were allegedly part of his trial strategy. Robb’s retort? "I’ve been practicing law for 21 years, and Mr. Bone thinks he’s finally cracked the key to my success? Gotta be the shoes. Like Michael Jordan.

Jury instructions to include rules on use of new media

Recent incidents of jurors using new media during cases in civilian courtrooms in the States have led a military judge to rework instructions given to panelists in military courts-martial.

Army Col. Ted Dixon, a military judge who edits the military judges’ benchbook, said he’s not aware of any cases of a servicemember posting information on an ongoing court-martial while serving as a juror, but he’s aware of such events in the civilian world.

As a result of cases like these, Dixon said he’s been working on specific language addressing networking phenomena such as Twitter and Facebook that judges would use when instructing troops who sit on court-martial panels. Fellow judges have been providing him feedback and there seems to be a general consensus, he said.

Not the lawyers — the jurors.

I've posted several articles, and the web is rife with articles, posts, and case decisions about how jurors are using technology in the jury room:  twittering, contacting the media, and now this interesting piece by Prof Colin Miller.  An Analog Rule in a Digital World?: Court of Appeals of Indiana Precludes Jury Impeachment Based Upon Text Message Found in Defendant's Cell Phone, 7 April 2009.

The issue: What should be done when a juror comes forward after trial

There has been something of a stir recently about jurors texting and twittering while court is in session.  Here another interesting tale of the kind of shenanigans civilian jurors get up to.

We first consider Basham's argument that the district court should have granted his motion for a new trial after learning that the jury foreperson contacted several news media outlets during the penalty phase of the trial.

United States v. Basham, No._________, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 6595, at *24 (4th Cir. Mar. 30, 2009).

The Supreme Court has decided Rivera v. Illinois.  Justice Ginsburg wrote for a unanimous court.

This case concerns the consequences of a state trial court’s erroneous denial of a defendant’s peremptory challenge to the seating of a juror in a criminal case. If all seated jurors are qualified and unbiased, does the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment nonetheless require automatic reversal of the defendant’s conviction?

The Supreme Court of Illinois held that the peremptory challenge should have been allowed, but further held that the error was harmless and therefore did not warrant reversal of Rivera’s conviction. We affirm the judgment of the Illinois Supreme Court.

A change to Fed. R. Crim. Pro. recently adopted reminds me of a motion I file from time to time after the member's have found my client guilty, or at the time the military judge asks if there is anything else before adjourning the court — that's a Griffith motion.  But first here is the change to the federal rule (which if you actually believe in Article 36, UCMJ,[n.1] should be adopted by the military — ha ha).

Rule 29. Motion for a Judgment of Acquittal

(c) After Jury Verdict or Discharge.

(1) Time for a Motion. A defendant may move for a judgment of acquittal, or renew such a motion, within 14 days after a guilty verdict or after the court discharges the jury, whichever is later.

We are all used to losing motions for a finding of not guilty under R.C.M. 917.  But don't give up.  The standard of some evidence is so minimal, and credibility of the evidence is not a factor on a FNG motion.  In United States v. Griffith, the court discussed the authority of the military judge to conduct a post-trial session of court prior to authentication of the record.

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