Skip to content
Name: People v. Herrera
Case #: A165248
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/22/2024

The Court of Appeal holds that no juror misconduct occurred where the deliberating jurors watched surveillance video clips back-to-back on a loop and in slow motion. There was no evidence the jurors performed any editing, and viewing the videos in slow motion allowed for closer scrutiny. The court also finds no prejudicial juror misconduct occurred where a juror agreed to vote for guilt in exchange for the other jurors agreeing to sign a “we urge leniency” note. While consideration of punishment was improper, there was no prejudice because the juror believed the defendant was guilty when she asked for the…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Solorio
Case #: D070794
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 11/16/2017

After finding there was jury misconduct where jurors discussed the defendant's decision not to testify several times despite repeated admonitions not to consider that topic, trial court erred by concluding the misconduct was not prejudicial. Solorio was convicted of first degree murder after a jury trial in which he did not testify. The jury was instructed not to consider the fact that he did not testify. After the verdict, Solorio moved for a new trial based on information from the jury foreperson that the jurors had discussed Solorio's decision not to testify several times during deliberations and inferred that…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Alaniz
Case #: B266209
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 10/10/2017

Trial court properly denied a motion for new trial where the defendant failed to show that the jurors' discussion of defendant's decision not to testify amounted to misconduct. After a jury convicted Alaniz of assault, he filed a motion for a new trial based on juror misconduct because jurors had discussed Alaniz's decision not to testify during deliberations. The trial court denied the motion, concluding that although jurors had committed misconduct by discussing his failure to testify, the misconduct was not prejudicial. Alaniz appealed. On appeal, it was discovered that the trial court did not instruct the jury not to…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Echavarria
Case #: E065257
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 08/03/2017

Defendant's first degree murder conviction reversed due to juror misconduct where jurors discussed extraneous information regarding punishment during deliberations. Defendant was convicted of first degree murder and related offenses. He moved for a new trial based on information that during deliberations one juror said she had worked in a prison and defendant could "walk tomorrow" if convicted of second degree murder, but would be far less likely to get time served if convicted of first degree murder. Another juror said, "I don't want that," and changed his/her vote to first degree murder. Following a hearing where all 12 jurors testified,…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Wismer
Case #: D068743
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/20/2017

Experiment conducted by a juror during deliberations to illustrate how an innocent person responds to a fabricated allegation of sexual misconduct was juror misconduct requiring reversal. While the jury was deliberating in Wismer's trial for sex crimes against children, one juror (of Asian descent) conducted an experiment to persuade others that Wismer's reaction to accusations lodged against him in a pretext call were indicative of guilt. She accused a Hispanic juror of slapping her butt and telling her that "he wanted to put his Mexican burrito in my chicken fried rice." The jury considered the Hispanic juror's reaction in…

View Full Summary
Name: Godoy v. Spearman
Case #: 13-56024
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 08/25/2016

State court did not unreasonably apply clearly established U.S. Supreme Court precedent by rejecting defendant's jury misconduct argument even though juror sent text messages to a judge friend throughout the trial regarding the case. During Godoy's second degree murder trial, a juror texted a "judge friend" numerous times with various procedural questions. The juror shared the answers with the other jurors. The jury ultimately convicted Godoy, who filed a new trial motion based on juror misconduct. The trial court denied the motion and the Court of Appeal affirmed, reasoning that the government had rebutted any presumption of prejudice. After the…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Diaz
Case #: B256050
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 04/14/2015

Petition to release personal juror identifying information is untimely if made after conviction, sentence, and affirmance on appeal. After his 2007 conviction for a gang-related murder, Diaz made a new trial motion raising three separate instances of juror misconduct. The trial court denied the motion and Diaz appealed. The Court of Appeal rejected the juror misconduct claims in Diaz's direct appeal and affirmed. Diaz's federal habeas petition was denied. In 2014, Diaz returned to the state trial court and filed a petition to access confidential juror identifying information (Code Civ. Proc., § 237, subd. (b)) so he could contact the…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Lavender
Case #: S209975
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 12/08/2014

The presumption of prejudice that arises when jurors commit misconduct by discussing whether a defendant's failure to testify is probative of his guilt may be rebutted. After a jury found Lavender and Gaines guilty of first degree murder (Pen. Code, § 187, subd. (a)), they filed a new trial motion arguing that the jurors had improperly discussed whether their guilt could be inferred from their failure to testify. Each side submitted juror declarations about what happened during deliberations. The trial court admitted only limited portions of the defense's declarations and denied the new trial motion. Although the court concluded that…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Johnson
Case #: E056878
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 12/19/2013

Trial court abused its discretion in denying defendant's posttrial motion for disclosure of jurors' identifying information. At the scene of an accident, defendant was "blatantly drunk" and admitted rear-ending an SUV that was stopped at a red light, injuring its occupants. A jury convicted defendant of DUI offenses and found numerous enhancements true. Before sentencing, which was over a year after trial, defendant sought release of jurors' identifying information. Included in his motion were declarations signed by his mother and stepfather about a conversation with three jurors regarding defendant's failure to testify. Defendant appealed the denial of this motion.…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Pizarro
Case #: F057722
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/21/2013
Subsequent History: Review denied and ordered not published

A juror's failure to follow the court's instruction to not consider anything other than evidence at trial, by reading a prior appellate opinion on the case was misconduct calling for reversal. Appellant was twice convicted of murder and other charges and sentenced to life in prison. The first conviction was overturned due to DNA error. Following the second conviction, it was learned that juror 9, despite the court's instruction to consider only evidence presented at trial, read the appellate opinion in the case and learned facts not presented during the second trial. Reversed. The appellate court viewed the juror's gross…

View Full Summary