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Name: People v. Russell
Case #: E064121
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 03/17/2017

Trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying request for juror’s personal contact information (Code Civ. Proc., § 237) where juror failed to respond to repeated attempts to contact her. Following defendant’s jury conviction, defense counsel spoke with a juror (TJ11) who stated that, during deliberations, she was led to believe that a unanimous verdict was not required on all counts. TJ11 further indicated that another juror had brought in outside information, including Internet research and biblical quotes, which he shared with her in order to persuade her during deliberations. Based on this information, defendant filed a posttrial motion to disclose TJ11’s identifying information. After TJ11 failed to respond to attempts to contact her, the trial court found that she objected to the disclosure of her contact information and denied defendant’s motion. Defendant appealed. Held: Affirmed. Under Code of Civil Procedure section 206, jurors may agree or decline to discuss the case with the parties after trial. If counsel wishes to speak to jurors and is unable to locate them, counsel may file a petition under section 237 seeking access to jurors’ contact information, but contact information may not be disclosed if a juror protests disclosure. Whether a juror’s nonresponsiveness supports a finding that the juror protests disclosure of personal contact information is a factual matter for the trial court to determine based on the totality of the circumstances. Here, the trial court sent a letter to TJ11 and made at least five follow-up calls. The letter did not state that her lack of response would be construed as consent to release her information, and TJ11 failed to respond to the phone calls despite an apparently-operative phone line. Under these circumstances, there was sufficient evidence to support the finding that TJ11’s nonresponsiveness demonstrated her objection to the release of her personal contact information.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: