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Name: People v. Ault
Case #: D040184
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 09/17/2003
Subsequent History: None

The jury foreperson told her manicurist that she was sitting on a child molestation case, and the manicurist told her that she had known a woman who had been molested by her father but he nevertheless escorted her down the aisle at her wedding. An alternate juror was seated, and she said she did not believe the victim’s testimony, in part due to her demeanor. In an effort to bring the alternate “up to speed” (because another juror told her that the jury had already moved on to other issues), the foreperson told the manicurist story. The trial court granted a new trial and the People appealed. The appellate court affirmed, finding that the presumption of prejudice had not been rebutted. The extraneous information was introduced on the crucial issue of the victim’s credibility, and had the effect of cutting off deliberations on this crucial point. (2-1).