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Name: People v. Elam
Case #: B141040
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 08/02/2001
Subsequent History: As modified, rehrg. den. 8/22/01
Summary

The dismissal of a juror who spoke accented English, and “who changed his mind often” was prejudical error without additional proof that he lacked command of English. When questioned, the juror said he thought he did not have a language problem (he had an A.A. in English and had served in the Navy), but that “maybe [other jurors] see the case differently” than he did. The juror had no problem following the testimony. All of the other jurors opined there was a language problem, after one-half day of deliberation. The court held the record did not demonstrate language difficulties, but legimate differences of opinion over the meaning to be given certain instructions, interpretations of the law, and evidence.