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Name: People v. Bowers
Case #: C030938
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/07/2001
Subsequent History: Modif. of opn. at 87 Cal.App.4th 1378h; Rev. den. 6/13/01
Summary

The trial court discharged a juror for failure to deliberate, even though the juror listened to all of the evidence, participated to some extent in the discussions concerning the evidence in the jury room, and remained willing and able to vote concerning the verdict. The Court of Appeal held that the juror had been discharged without good cause in violation of statute (without reaching the constitutional issue). Although there was some evidence the juror was inattentive at times during the deliberations and did not participate in the deliberations as fully as others, the record showed his conduct was a manifestation, effectively communicated to other jurors and that he did not agree with their evaluation of the evidence – specifically their credibility determinations. There was insufficient ground for discharge on the ground of inattentiveness where only one other juror accused him of sleeping during deliberations. The deliberations encompassed several days and there was no indication what was going on in the jury room while he slept. The bare fact of sleeping at an unknown time and for an unknown duration without evidence of what was occurring in the jury room is insufficient to conclude the juror was unable to perform his duty. The Court also concluded the juror did not fail to enter into meaningful deliberations when the record showed his decisions were based upon his belief that the prosecution witnesses did not tell the truth. Callahan, J. dissented.