Withdrawing a Juror

Withdrawing a Juror Definition in the United States

Withdrawing a Juror Definition

In practice. An agreement made between the parties in a suit to require one of the twelve jurors impanelled to try a cause to leave the jury box; the act of leaving the box by such a juror is also called the withdrawing a juror.

This (according to the definition of Withdrawing a Juror based on the Cyclopedic Law Dictionary) arrangement usually takes place at the recommendation of the judge, when it is obviously improper the case should proceed any further. The effect of withdrawing a juror puts an end to that particular trial, and each party must pay his own costs.

But the plaintiff may bring a new suit for the same cause of action.

Withdrawing A Juror because Internet Search

Across the United States, curious jurors are defying court instructions and causing mistrials as they text, Tweet, and surf the Web about the cases they’re deciding. The issue has created such a disruption that it’s generating new court policies and even State legislation.

“In this day and age, there’s a knee-jerk reaction to find out more, notwithstanding a judge’s admonition,” notes Eric Sinrod, a Duane Morris partner who has had jurors admit in open court that they’ve Googled a case he was handling.

Perhaps most infamously, a San Francisco judge dismissed 600 potential jurors last year because of confusion around Internet prohibitions. Since January, the local superior court has required everyone in the jury pool to sign a form acknowledging that Web-based broadcast or research of a case on trial is forbidden.

A bill pending in the California state Legislature could also effectively discourage extracurricular Web searches, clarifying that judges can fine or jail jurors who seek out additional case details by going online.

Introduced by Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D-Los Angeles), the bill has the support of both the Consumer Attorneys of California and the state Judicial Council. It was unanimously passed by the Assembly and has gone to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The kinds of sanctions proposed in the Fuentes bill appear to have quashed at least one civil jury’s desire to sneak an online peek at the case. In a 2009 trial related to the widely publicized water intoxication death of Jennifer Strange, trial attorney Harvey R. Levine asked the Superior Court of Sacramento to require jurors to sign declarations that, under penalty of perjury, they would do no outside Web research.

“In my opinion, in certain circumstances, the mere admonition by the judge might not be sufficient to deter jurors from using the Internet,” says Levine, a partner with Miller and Levine in San Diego who was co-counsel on the wrongful death lawsuit. “It’s often mixed with other admonitions, and jurors don’t really understand its significance.”

Still, other lawyers say that the solution may lie not in sanctions but in education. “Judges need to do more than simply tell potential jurors not to make efforts to learn about a case,” says Duane Morris’s Sinrod. “They need to explain how such research could lead to unreliable information, thus tainting the ability to have a fair trial.”


See Also

  • Juror
  • Withdrawing Record
  • Selection of a Jury
  • Jury Selection
  • Grand jury
  • Trial jury
  • Trial Publicity
  • Judge Discipline
  • Pretrial Publicity
  • Impeachment Process



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