Sunday, January 12, 2020

11th Circuit OKs Disqualification of Juror Who Heard From A Higher Being

In United States v. Brown, (11th Cir., Jan. 9, 2020), the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's dismissal of a juror in the fraud case of former Florida representative Corrine Brown. At issue was a statement made by one of the jurors during deliberations. He told the other jurors:
A Higher Being told me Corrine Brown was Not Guilty on all charges.
Judge Rosenbaum agreed with the district court that the juror was not capable of reaching a verdict based only on the evidence at trial. Judge Conway concurred specially

Judge Pryor filed a 62-page dissent, saying in part:
One persistent confusion that has plagued this appeal is the notion that a juror’s belief that he has received divine guidance reflects a form of improper outside influence.... This confusion cannot withstand scrutiny. Indeed, it betrays a failure to reflect on the nature of prayer. ...
Juror No. 13’s statement that God had communicated with him described an internal mental event, not an external instruction.
[Thanks to Doug Velardo for the lead.]