Stevens Juror Lied About Father's Death

Remember the juror in the Alaska trial of Sen. Ted Stevens who didn't show because her father died?

It was a lie. She went to a horse race.

It looks like she is delusional. The Judge doesn't appear to want to penalize her:

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan let her go, saying that he was going to "accept Mr. Kramer's representation that you were not able to (deliberate) and for reasons that were serious to you."

He added: "I'm convinced you were not able to deliberate."

She also said had she deliberated, she would have voted to convict.

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    Whoa! (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 01:02:57 PM EST
    What a weird case.

    I have no involvement with the law whatsoever, but this strikes me as a pretty atypical case (the prosecution screw-ups, the defendant on the stand, the wacky juror. . .)

    Comments from lawyers?

    Since just about everyone gets called for (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by scribe on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 01:36:08 PM EST
    jury duty some time or another, you get to see the whole panoply of human behavior.

    One time, I tried a case where we had to dismiss a prospective juror because that nice elderly lady was, frankly, wandering about the jury box in what appeared to be a semi-incoherent fugue.

    Another time, we lost a juror in the middle of the trial, due to extreme emotional upset and pressing family issues, when we ended early and the juror arrived home to find juror's spouse entertaining someone in their bed.

    Another time, three of the four alternate jurors in a lengthy trial all turned out to be steam locomotive buffs and spent their time during deliberations (the judge did not send the alternates home during deliberations) watching videos of old trains on the courtroom video system.

    Not only does it take all kinds, but there really are all kinds.  


    I've got a good one (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by eric on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 01:43:12 PM EST
    When I was clerking for a state, district court judge, we were in the middle of a week long jury trial.  One of the jurors, a young man, was not particularly enthusiastic to be there and just sort of semi-slept in his seat.

    One day, over lunch break, he was caught by the sheriff's deputies smoking pot in an alcove right outside of the courthouse.  It was also discovered that he had a warrant out for his arrest.  Some of the other jurors, upon seeing him being arrested, approached the deputies and said, "you can't arrest him, he's on the jury!".  Heh.  We used the alternate.


    Like I said (none / 0) (#17)
    by scribe on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 02:10:08 PM EST
    not only does it take all kinds, there really are all kinds.

    And some of the stupid (like smoking pot on the courthouse steps) things people do ... not unexpected.


    i wondered that as well, when i (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by cpinva on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 01:21:06 PM EST
    read the article.

    How strong a basis is this for a new trial on appeal?

    i'm not a lawyer, and i don't play one on tv (or anywhere else), but i suspect not much. i'm sure his lawyers will toss it in, but i'm guessing it'll have no bearing whatever on the outcome.

    of course, according to sen. stevens, he hasn't actually been convicted of anything yet, since the case is on appeal.

    is there something about the air/water in alaska, that causes their elected representatives to live in an alternate reality?

    Not that great of a ground for appeal, (none / 0) (#16)
    by scribe on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 02:08:50 PM EST
    because she was not on the jury that convicted Stevens.  Remember, the jurors were supposed to start their deliberations anew when the new juror was seated, and there is nothing to suggest they didn't.

    Stevens has a lot of other, better grounds for appeal.  Not that it will matter - he's going to have plenty of time after the election to deal with that because between cleaning out his office and shipping his detritus home, he won't be doing anything else.  


    Every prospective juror hearing about (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 01:08:35 PM EST
    this is probably thinking:  hey, nothing happened to her so nothing will happen to me either.  Might as well go ahead and lie.  Pretty sad.

    Makes sense to me... (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 01:09:40 PM EST
    If I had plans to get to the Breeders Cup, I'm getting my arse out of jury duty too...by tall tale or otherwise.

    Stevens ain't worth missing that kinda good time:)  

    Then lie on the jury questionnaire (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 01:33:12 PM EST
    or during voir dire, not after the jury has started deliberating.  Outrageous.

    She probably bet someone. . . (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 01:50:49 PM EST
    she could get out of jury service in the middle of a trial.

    Good Point.... (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 01:46:32 PM EST
    maybe she thought the trial would be done in time for the start of the Cup?

    You're right though...if you can't see it through to the end, make up your story before getting seated on a jury.


    pet peeve (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by txpublicdefender on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 01:54:59 PM EST
    I have to say this is a real pet peeve of mine--when people talk about lying to get off jury duty.  You take an oath to tell the truth when you are on a jury panel.  It is perjury to lie during jury selection.  It is no more acceptable to lie during jury selection than it is to lie during deliberations about why you need to be excused, IMO.

    She really did not have to lie.  All she had to do during jury selection was to say that she had pre-arranged travel plans, including non-refundable airline tickets (assuming she did) for a certain date.  Either the attorneys would have agreed to excuse her, or they would have made adjustments in the schedule to accommodate her.  Attorneys don't want a juror mad at them for screwing up their vacation plans.

    As it is, the woman sounds like a total nutjob with her comments about conspiracies in the horse-racing industry and her apartment/home being bugged.  If she had actually been on the jury and Stevens's lawyers had found out about her mental infirmities after a conviction, THAT could have formed the basis for an appeal--not that there aren't already a lot of grounds for appeal in this case.


    Oh, I agree. Tell the truth (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 01:58:15 PM EST
    throughout or just don't show up to jury duty.  Don't taint the process.  

    In NY... (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 02:39:08 PM EST
    if I'm not mistaken, if you just refuse to show up they put a warrant out for your arse.

    I don't see how a little fibbing to get out of jury duty "taints the process", as long as you do it before being sworn in as a juror on a case.

    A juror held against their will isn't someone I want holding the life of another in their hands.


    The entire jury panel, prior to (none / 0) (#22)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 02:46:27 PM EST
    questioning, must take an oath under penalty of perjury, at least in California.  

    A tainted process... (none / 0) (#24)
    by kdog on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 03:16:01 PM EST
    I wouldn't be too worried about a prospective juror tainting the process anymore than it taints itself.

    You would if you were an attorney (none / 0) (#25)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 03:22:06 PM EST
    trying cases to a jury or a party whose case will be decided by a jury.  Kind of a crap shoot.

    As a prosecutor.... (none / 0) (#26)
    by kdog on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 03:31:51 PM EST
    you would want jurors who have zero interest in being there hearing your case?  

    If I was on trial, I wouldn't want people who have no desire to hear the case forced to sit in the box.  If that means the uninterested have to lie, so be it.


    Pet peeve of mine (none / 0) (#18)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 02:16:56 PM EST
    to be forced to serve as a juror on penalty of fine and/or imprisonment.

    Or tell the truth (none / 0) (#13)
    by eric on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 01:50:50 PM EST
    the lawyers may well strike you because they don't want a distracted juror who won't fully deliberate because she is late for the Breeders Cup.

    Mistrial or new trial? (none / 0) (#4)
    by Joelarama on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 01:14:27 PM EST
    I'm not a criminal lawyer.  How strong a basis is this for a new trial on appeal?  I saw a comment on another blog claiming this was a slam-dunk on appeal for Stevens.

    Seems unlikely to me, because an alternate juror was seated and this lying juror had no part in the verdict.

    But I'm no criminal lawyer.  

    not a slam dunk at all (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by txpublicdefender on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 01:40:03 PM EST
    I don't believe this would be a slam dunk for an appeal at all.  This juror committed misconduct, no doubt.  But, jurors who commit misconduct, unless it is shown that they tainted other members of the jury by their misconduct, can be excused, and deliberations can continue.  That is essentially what happened in this case.

    Curious (none / 0) (#6)
    by CoralGables on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 01:27:49 PM EST
    has it been stated that this is the same juror that caused the disruptions the first day of deliberations? My gut feeling of course is that she is one and the same.

    The truth according to Ted Stevens (none / 0) (#19)
    by thereyougo on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 02:26:30 PM EST
    seems to be the culture in the Senate.

    That chair in Ted's office for 7 years was a loan, it wasn't a gift!  

    He didn't want all that leather furniture from the VEco Pres, Bill Allen at his home, he couldn't stop him! Darn that Bill !!

    and most assuredly Ted hasn't been convicted even though the jury said so.

    Yup the world according to Ted Stevens. I'm thinking Ted's he's got to have a wee bit dementia going on

    Sounds reasonable to me. (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 02:31:58 PM EST
    He didn't want all that leather furniture from the VEco Pres, Bill Allen at his home, he couldn't stop him!

    People are always breaking into my place and leaving stuff.  Furniture, appliances, sculptures.  It's practically a daily occurrence.  Just last week we got back from Washington D.C. and some house-breaker had stuffed my wife's jewelry case full of diamonds.

    Really, it's a bore.  What's this country coming to?  I blame Bloomberg.


    Home invasion lending. (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 02:53:35 PM EST