Brancato Juror Bounced, Did Research at Home

When will jurors learn? You can't do your own research on the case you are deciding. Judges always advise them of this.

A juror in the murder trial of former Sorpranos' actor Lillo Brancato got booted today.

A mistrial was avoided Thursday in the trial of a former "Sopranos" actor accused in the shooting death of an off-duty police officer after it was discovered a juror had been taking notes during testimony and doing research on the case at home.

Lillo Brancato, charged with second-degree murder in the December 2005 shooting death of Officer Daniel Enchautegui, agreed to a substitution with an alternate juror after the original juror was dismissed.

So, deliberations start over with the new juror.

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    Wonder if the juror visited TL... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Dec 18, 2008 at 01:02:42 PM EST

    I think that the temptation (none / 0) (#2)
    by eric on Thu Dec 18, 2008 at 01:09:45 PM EST
    to do your own research on a case comes from a distrust of the state.  I understand it and would be tempted myself.  There are too many stories of juries that got it wrong when they relied solely upon what was presented to them by state.

    Now, with that being said, I certainly wouldn't do it because it would be a violation of the juror's oath.

    would come from, mine would be pure unadulterated curiosity. Who knows what his motivation was...

    So you think you (the juror) (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Thu Dec 18, 2008 at 01:22:02 PM EST
    can be a lawyer?  

    but I commented on what my motivation would be to do such research, I did not try to suggest I would do such research.

    Or am I not understanding your question?


    Failed attempt at humor, (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Thu Dec 18, 2008 at 05:41:51 PM EST
    based Dancing w/the Stars--or something.

    No, the temptation to disobey the (none / 0) (#4)
    by scribe on Thu Dec 18, 2008 at 01:18:53 PM EST
    judge's instructions to not work on the case outside of the jury room, e.g., doing research at home, stems from the makeup inhering in people who can't or won't follow instructions.  And from people who are knuckleheads disrespectful of others.

    Because, at its core, failing to obey this particular instruction is an exhibition of disrespect for fellow jurors (this juror just wasted a days' work by all the other jurors), the lawyers (who would have to retry the case in the event of a mistrial, likely for no additional money or only a minimal fee) and the judge (who the juror could not bring himself to listen to).

    probably happens more than we know (none / 0) (#7)
    by txpublicdefender on Thu Dec 18, 2008 at 01:44:47 PM EST
    I think this happens more than we know.  My coworkers had a date rape case where the jury was deadlocked at 10-2 for acquittal at the end of day 1 of deliberations, and when they came back the next morning, one of the 2 handed out information to all the jurors that he had printed off the internet about date rape.  More than one of the jurors looked over it before one of them told the bailiff about it, which ended up forcing a mistrial.

    We only hear about it if one of the other jurors does the right thing and mentions it to the bailiff or the court somehow.  Who knows how many cases there are where the jury returns a unanimous verdict and none of them ever reveal that they relied on some outside research.

    Of course, we had a local judge here in my county in Washington who, years ago and before I worked here, got a note from jurors requesting a dictionary, and he just sent one back there with them without ever telling counsel for either side about the note!

    So where does that leave jury nullification? (none / 0) (#8)
    by SeeEmDee on Thu Dec 18, 2008 at 02:41:59 PM EST
    Namely, when the judge and prosecution have a sweet little assembly line going where they can railroad non-violent drug users into prison without breaking a sweat. Let's say you take objection to the laws as they stand, and are aware of US vs. Moylan.

    Granted, prosecutors and judges move Heaven and Earth during voir dire  to make sure such a juror does not serve, up to and including the (improper!) instruction by the judge to adhere to his/her instructions and no others. But let's say one gets past them. What then?

    All the Research I have read (none / 0) (#9)
    by downtownted on Thu Dec 18, 2008 at 04:38:01 PM EST
    says jurors are going straight to your website to see just who you are, Mr. or Ms. Lawyer. This means we should all look at our websites to see who we tell the world we are and how pleased we are to have jurors see it. The jurors may be instructed not to go there, but human nature being what it is, the jurors are going to be there