Defendant's Motion to Interview the Jurors for Certain Misconduct During Trial
In Kelley v. State, 569 So. 2d 754 (Fla. 1990), the defendant filed a motion to interview the jurors who sat on his original trial while the order denying postconviction relief was on appeal.
In the motion, the defendant asserted that two attorneys had recently reported that one of the jurors informed them of certain misconduct on the part of another juror during trial.
This Court relinquished jurisdiction to permit the trial judge to interview the jurors. See id. at 762.
Notably, the trial judge conducted a hearing in which he interviewed all twelve jurors and the two attorneys who reported the incident, and concluded that misconduct had not been proven. See id.
Other jurisdictions, like Florida, are hesitant to interfere with the sanctity of juror deliberations years after trial. However, in cases like the instant case, where the alleged juror misconduct is discovered subsequent to direct appeal, courts have been more willing to inquire if the alleged misconduct, if true, would warrant a new trial. See, e.g., United States v. Jackson, 209 F.3d 1103 (9th Cir. 2000) (noting that defendant did not learn of factual predicate for juror misconduct claim until three years after trial).
Many of the cases have remanded the case for an evidentiary hearing to consider the alleged juror misconduct.
Fullwood v. Lee, 290 F.3d 663, 680-82 (4th Cir. 2002) (remanding for evidentiary hearing on whether contact between juror and her husband throughout trial deprived defendant of a fair trial and had substantial and injurious effect on the verdict);
Simmons v. Blodgett, 910 F. Supp. 1519 (W.D. Wash. 1996) (noting that state trial court held evidentiary hearing on juror misconduct claim based upon statement of juror made eight years after trial indicating that she read numerous newspaper articles about the case during trial), aff'd, 110 F.3d 39 (1997);
People v. Hobley, 182 Ill. 2d 404, 696 N.E.2d 313, 339-41, 231 Ill. Dec. 321 (Ill. 1998) (holding capital defendant was entitled to an evidentiary hearing on his claim supported by four juror affidavits alleging jurors were intimidated by nonjurors at the hotel where they were sequestered);
Campbell v. State, 130 Idaho 546, 944 P.2d 143, 144, 146 (Idaho Ct. App. 1997) (noting that trial court held postconviction evidentiary hearing on juror misconduct claim based upon information defendant obtained three years after he began to serve his sentence);
State v. Williams, 253 Neb. 111, 568 N.W.2d 246, 251 (Neb. 1997) (noting that court previously withdrew execution warrant for trial court to hold an evidentiary hearing on petition for postconviction relief alleging juror misconduct, and that eleven of twelve jurors testified at evidentiary hearing).