New Trial Granted Because Judge Improperly Denied Cause Challenge

Last week, the Third District Court of Appeal granted a new trial in an auto crash case where the trial court improperly denied the Plaintiff’s cause challenge against a juror who expressed impartiality.  In Rivas v. Sandoval, ___ So. 3d ___ (2021), during jury selection the Plaintiff’s counsel questioned the venire about personal experiences with car crashes.  One juror stated both he and his son had been in a similar […]

May 11, 2021

Mistrial Denied After Jurors Chatted in Zoom Virtual Jury Trial

Earlier this week in California, a mistrial was denied in a virtual jury trial when jurors were communicating with the Plaintiff through the Zoom “chat” feature.  This was a mesothelioma case involving claims for personal injuries against two companies who allegedly caused Plaintiff’s mesothelioma while he was working on Navy ships.  During trial, when the Judge and attorneys were speaking privately in a Zoom “breakout room,”  two jurors communicated with […]

August 20, 2020

Boston Marathon Bomber’s Death Sentence Vacated due to Possible Juror Bias

Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit vacated Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhorkar Tsarnaev’s death sentence due to a trial judge not properly vetting a juror for possible bias.  Tsarnaev was convicted and sentenced to death in 2015 for his role in the horrific April 2015 Boston Marathon bombing which killed 3 people and injured more than 260 other people.  In a 224 page opinion, the […]

August 3, 2020

To Google or Not to Google?

As attorneys, we go to great lengths to select the jury who will decide our client’s fate at trial – yet today, there is a looming, additional silent juror banging at the door attempting to, and sometimes succeeding in, getting in – Google and the age of information overload. Earlier this month a Broward County criminal defendant requested a new trial based on juror misconduct. Defendant, Dr. Scott Strolla, was […]

October 15, 2019

Reversible Error to Impose Time Limits on Voir Dire

Last week the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed an aggravated battery conviction based on a trial court improperly limiting the amount of time an attorney could ask questions to a prospective jury panel.  Strachan v. State, ___ So. 3d ___ (Fla. 4th DCA 2019). In Strachan, the trial court entered a scheduling order before trial limiting voir dire to forty-five minutes per side, noting if either side needed additional […]

October 7, 2019

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