Stevens Juror Replaced By Alternate

Late this afternoon, Judge Sullivan dismissed the juror in the Ted Stevens trial who had traveled to California after her father died. Judge Sullivan had not been able to reach her and did not know when she would return. Over defense objections, Judge Sullivan decided to seat an alternate juror. Jurors will begin deliberations on Monday. Because the new juror did not participate in last week's deliberations, the jurors will be instructed to begin anew without considering prior deliberations.

The decision is a blow to Stevens's defense team, which wanted the judge to wait until Monday to see whether the court could establish contact with the juror. If the woman could not be reached, then the court should proceed with just 11 jurors, said defense attorney Robert Cary. ...

Since deliberations began last week, there have been signs of tensions during talks, including reports of one woman being "rude" and making "violent outbursts" among the jurors. Signs of tensions usually are positive for defense attorneys, but a new juror could potentially provide a calming presence.

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    From the lawyers here... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Thanin on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 07:19:42 PM EST
    is there much we can glean from this replacement, as far as how it could impact the outcome?  I know we dont know much on details, but this is such a tight race it would be interesting to hear anyones best guess, if one can be made.

    Was the replaced juror (none / 0) (#2)
    by WS on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 07:25:05 PM EST
    the disruptive one?  

    I wonder if they will be able to reach a verdict before election day.  

    Usually (none / 0) (#3)
    by Peter G on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 07:33:15 PM EST
    the defense doesn't want the 11-juror option that the rule allows in this situation.  Here, reportedly they did.  So, I'm guessing the juror who has gone missing was not the disruptor, and the defense was playing for a mistrial by hoping the contention would start anew Monday with the same old gang having to pick up where they left off.  However, often when a jury reports that one member is being "disruptive" and "not listening" it really means that after a few days of discussion that juror just doesn't agree with the others.  Then, if the judge removes that juror the court is interfering with the defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a unanimous jury.

    weird (none / 0) (#4)
    by txpublicdefender on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 11:57:40 PM EST
    I have never heard of a defense attorney wanting to proceed with 11 jurors.  I understand him objecting to her being excused--just trying to preserve error wherever possible.  But, I don't get proposing the alternative of going forward with just 11 jurors.  Weird.

    Is it true that Palin may replace Stevens (none / 0) (#5)
    by sallywally on Mon Oct 27, 2008 at 10:55:44 AM EST
    in the Senate, assuming she isn't "running the Senate" as VP?