Juror Misconduct

Juror’s statement that she had ‘made up her mind’ early in trial is statement of bias justifying grant of new trial. Mitchell Grobeson v. City of Los Angeles, (No. B207551 California Courts of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Eight, December 2, 2010).

Under Evidence Code Section 1150, upon an inquiry as to the validity of a verdict, any otherwise admissible evidence may be received as to statements made, or conduct, conditions, or events occurring, either within or without the jury room, of such a character as is likely to have influenced the verdict improperly.  In this case, one juror stated to another during the second week of trial that she had made up her own opinion in the second week of trial, and stated that she is not going to listen to the rest of the argument.  The court found that the statement that she had “made up her mind during trial” was a statement of bias, showing she had prejudged the case, which improperly influenced the verdict.  As such, the trial court properly found juror misconduct in granting a new trial.  The appeals court affirmed the trial courts’ ruling.

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