If you find yourself facing criminal charges, you trust those hearing your case will follow legal protocols and view evidence objectively. In some cases, however, an external influence might sway a juror’s mind.
The jury members selected to hear your case essentially hold your future in their hands. While human error could factor into a decision, biases or broken rules may open the door for an appeal.
Examples of inappropriate juror behavior
Jurors, by human nature, are susceptible to influences. Yet, you have the right to a fair trial.
Therefore, those directly involved with a case must adhere to specific guidelines established to minimize partiality based on personal beliefs and experience, as well as potentially unrelated opinions.
Jurors must base their impartial decisions on the evidence presented during your trial. Therefore, you might have a case for juror misconduct if you find unlawful actions affected your case.
Unethical behaviors that could potentially affect a ruling include:
- Discussing the case outside of court
- Exchanging gifts or favors with an attorney, witness or defendant
- Socializing with those interested in or connected to the trial
- Talking about the case with other jurors, before hearing all evidence
- Seeking information or investigating case-related facts beyond what was admitted in evidence
If you become aware of any indications suggesting that any of these elements were present when the jury decided your case, you would be wise to explore your options. Specific circumstances could lead to a mistrial and compel a court to order a new trial that recognizes your constitutional rights.