Juror misconduct allegations! Jodi Arias attorneys ask for mistrial
Attorneys for Jodi Arias filed a motion Sunday asking for a mistrial because of juror misconduct.
In the motion defense attorney Kirk Nurmi stated that they discovered the misconduct during a closed door meeting with jurors on March 28 “to discuss what they may or may not have seen in relation to the State’s decision to pose for pictures and sign autographs outside the courthouse.”
“[I]t is beyond legitimate dispute that Juror 5 is not fair and impartial making her unfit to continue as a juror,” Nurmi wrote.
The details of the hearing are sealed, so it is not yet known which misconduct he is referring to. Nurmi asked the court to use the transcripts of the hearing, which are also sealed, as the factual basis for his motion.
Nurmi alleges that the misconduct on the part of Juror 5 is sufficient to warrant a mistrial.
We are entering the fourth month of the murder trial that has captivated national audiences, and if Judge Stephens grants a mistrial, it would mean that prosecutors have to start all over again. Judge Stephens may also decide to dismiss Juror 5 if she believes that the rest of the jury pool has not been tainted so as to preclude Arias from having a fair and impartial jury.
There are 18 jurors currently sitting in on the trial, although only 12 will be selected to deliberate and determine Arias’ fate.
In order for a mistrial to be declared there must be a showing of actual prejudice. In his motion, Nurmi wrote that “given the facts that came forward … Ms. Arias asserts that she can meet this burden as prejudice can be presumed when it is known that there has been ‘any private communication, contact or tampering directly or indirectly, with a juror during a trial about a matter pending before the jury.”
It is not yet known what “contact” or “tampering” Nurmi is referring to.
Trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday morning after taking Monday off for the Cesar Chavez holiday.
Ryan Kerns, Esq., Wild About Trial
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