Jurors behaving badly

Answering a question on Quora*, What things have you accidentally overheard? Do you regret hearing them? former US criminal trial attorney BRIAN KEARNEY, told the following story about a jury deliberation process he accidentally overheard. Warning: don’t read this before your trial by jury. 

I finished a drunk driving jury trial once. Jury went out to deliberate. It was a weak case for the prosecution. No breath test, not even field sobriety tests. I felt my client would be ok. Maybe they’d hook her on the lessor charge of negligent operation at worst. There were skid marks and her tires lost a fight with a curb etc. Anyway, I was exhausted. Jury trials can be draining, even simple ones. So I went and found a nice secluded bench in a quiet empty hallway of the courthouse to await the verdict.

The Courthouse was an old Georgian Colonial building built back when Perry Mason still ran new episodes in prime time. It’d seen better days. But I kicked back on my wooden bench best I could. Then I heard voices.

The hallway was empty in each direction, but there was this door in front of me. I quickly realized I was sitting right on the other side, literally just a few feet and only an old paper thin wooden closed door away from the jury deliberations room, and the voices I heard belonged to my client’s jury.

Now, I’ll admit the ethical thing for me to have done would’ve been to get up and leave immediately. But I’ll rationalize and say I was just too damn tired. So instead I just sat there and listened. It was a learning experience to say the least.

Not one piece of evidence presented by myself or the prosecution was discussed. Not one fact of the case. Not one element of the charges. Instead they talked about my client’s appearance. My client had big implants etc. she was on the north side of 40 trying to hold on to the south side of 30. So jokes were made. I sat there biting my tongue and thought to myself. “Ok ok. Ha ha. Silly jury. That’s funny. Now, how about you get to the evidence, maybe take a vote or two. You know, do what you were sworn to do by the judge a few short minutes ago.”

Instead, there was a pause … A male juror spoke out and said “I’m hungry, can we get this over with.” This was followed by another pause. A woman juror blurted out “Well I don’t like her shoes. Who wears bang me pumps to court! So I vote guilty!” (Verbatim except for the word “bang”). This was met with roaring laughter. Another guy said “well, that’s good enough for me. I’ll get the court officer.”

In Australia we have our own jury story

* Quora is a social question-and-answer website and online knowledge market headquartered in Mountain View, California.

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9 Responses to Jurors behaving badly

  1. Owen Allen says:

    May I, whilst commenting about corrupt police, say this. Common folk that know nothing might say, where there is smoke there is fire. Some one with several co mplaints of police corruption must be unclean. But, I was in Tasmania, and was not just corrupt police. Local and State Govt and Bureaucrats; Tasmania is tainted with corruption; cronyism,and nepotism; I have documented a case study to the Nixon Enquiry 1997. It is over 30 years now, they robbed me of my prime time, so my best is yet to come, as my trauma heals; and what a story of healing. Mental healing by physical pain, laminectomy, discectomy and learning to walk again.
    GOD BLESS all hospital staff and shame on all governments for underfunding and over working the most precious people in society. Owen.

    • Michael "muddy" Waters says:

      Owen you missed vasectomy- castration- lobotomy – If Taspol were serious about doing you over – they would have planted drugs in your guitar-

      • Owen Allen says:

        I escaped before they got their chance thank God.
        But I did expect to get shot whilst I was down there, or beaten badly, but I consoled myself whilst living in a tent.
        They never knew whether I was in the tent cradling a 6 string pump action.
        I did leave under threat again because I attended a public seminar in a public place. They tried to ban me from a public area at all times because of a “restraining order” when I had income and business to attend to, just another sham by corrupt dogs. Nazis in Germany behaved like this, I can not accept it in Australia. Owen.

  2. Williambtm says:

    After my reading of hundreds of higher court transcripts this past 10 years, some even earlier (beginning with the full supreme court case events, right up to our nation’s high court) pristine justice is a rare beast indeed, of offending or abusing the nation of Australia.

    The worst offenders are each State’s Supreme Court, most particularly the State’s of Tasmania and Western Australia.

    [Jade Bar Net is my source for all the various court case transcripts.]

  3. Garry Stannus says:

    Thanks, Andrew:

    And Kearney finished by writing:
    An older outstanding lawyer once told me that the best we can do as lawyers is:
    1. Do the best we can do and
    2. have faith in the jury. Because They usually get it right.
    I agree with my friend, but come on!


  4. Juli says:

    Ridiculous responses by jurors! Imagine if this was a trial for a serious crime like murder. Makes a juror system look farcical.

    • Robert Greenshields says:

      I do not believe it is just jurors Juli. I honestly believe that the complete legal system in Oz is manipulated and choreographed to the degree that it takes on the appearance of now being near politically and selectively automated.
      It is fundamentally farcical to me that any policing officers word is accepted as kosha and beyond doubt, especially given the obvious continuity of cultured criminality transparently exposed through policing officers actions, along with court and Coroners Inquiries most recently.
      The folly that policing forces are beyond reproach is yet another absolute misnomer of Gallipolian proportions in Australia, and our nation will only continue to further regress I solemnly believe, while the image, practices, and known cultures among serving officers are allowed to continue unabated.
      The cowardly closing of ranks to protect criminals within the job, must be confronted and totally eroded, prior to any faith in the capacities to trust, believe, or have faith in any serving officers ability to act with impartiality, honesty, integrity, and professionalism in the interests of citizens and communities can ever be restored.
      I do not believe a lot has changed within Oz since the colonial attitudes and cultures of policing and the judiciary in the days of the disgraceful, manipulating, opportunist “Redmond Barry”, and given those cultures have retrogressed Australia for in excess of over a century now, changes are desperately required, that lead to fundamentally enable our own future dynamic as a progressive trustworthy, and hopefully credible nation.

      • Owen Allen says:

        I can attest to that Robert, kosha I mean. Of course the Magistrate Judge or JP believes the pig, because he or she is the pig. And without undeniable evidence the pig snort is truth. Now I have up to now referred to police, as police or corrupt police, but now the corrupt police are just pig, or dog.
        I have in front of a magistrate had pigs dispute each other individually and the magistrate was too dumb, or complicit to apply justice in the court against the perjuring pigs. I have been victim several times of pigs and dogs, perhaps pigs wear uniforms and dogs are plain clothes. Both corrupt of course.
        I value front line personel; but a corrupt cop is a low life like a drug dealer and rock spider, and probably associates with both.

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