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Name: People v. Sanborn
Case #: E035729
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 11/09/2005

During appellant’s trial for sex offenses against children, the jury began deliberations on December 4, 2003. On December 9, a juror was replaced and the jury continued deliberating for seven more days. The trial was continued to January 12. On January 20, another juror was excused and an alternate juror substituted in. The jury asked what to do with the completed verdict forms on the counts it had already decided. The court destroyed the forms and instructed the jury to begin deliberations over. The jury returned verdicts on January 20 and 21. On appeal, appellant contended that the trial court erred in discarding valid verdicts after the jurors’ dismissal, denying him his right to a jury trial and subjecting him to double jeopardy. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. No court has addressed whether a defendant’s constitutional rights are violated when a court rejects partial verdicts returned before the discharge of a juror. However, courts have found no error where courts have accepted a partial verdict before discharge of a juror. All that is required is that there be a unanimous verdict of all 12 jurors, which is what appellant received here. Further, nothing in the record supports an assertion that the jurors did not begin deliberating over as instructed.