When we think of jury trials the scenes from the 1957 film 12 Angry Men probably comes to mind. Well traditionally those images were probably pretty accurate-a room full of jurors some believing the defendant is guilty within minutes of deliberation and others advocating for his innocence. Well a recent case in Macomb County shows that the modern jurors may not be so open to discussion.
After 3 days of deliberations, a 12-person hung jury lead to a mistrial in a child abuse and sexual assault case. The jury foreperson wrote notes to the judge declaring that the jury was deadlocked. Other handwritten notes were given to the judge explaining the personality clashes between some of the jurors. One note read “we have 2 jurors with anger issues.” Other notes claimed that two of the jurors were “impossible, argumentative and not open to a rational discussion.” Apparently, the personality clashes, difference of opinions, and refusal to have rational discussions led to the mistrial.
It is typical for jurors to write notes to the judge and lawyers. However, the jury foreperson usually writes the notes and they involve reviewing evidence or questions about the law. Here, the situation was quite different. The jurors wrote notes that bypassed the foreperson and revealed that there were personality conflicts early in the process.
Although the jury could not reach a unanimous decision, the jury worked hard to come to a verdict, but ultimately knew it was not possible. This case shows that the criminal justice system is not as robotic and predictable as it may seem.
For more information on criminal legal matters, visit criminal defense attorney John Freeman online.