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Alternate juror’s comment doesn’t entitle man to new trial

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A trial court properly determined an alternate juror’s alleged conduct posed only a remote risk of prejudice, and the judge’s admonishment of that juror was not an error, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.

During Jorge Henriquez’s trial for Class D felony resisting law enforcement, the bailiff told Marion Superior Judge Marc Rothenberg that she believed she heard the alternate juror say “you need to be able to live with your decision” in the jury room. Rothenberg called the alternate juror into the courtroom and told him that he is not to take part in the deliberations or influence the jury in any way and is not to communicate with the jury. The jury convicted Henriquez.

The appellate court looked at Henriquez’s claim that he was denied his constitutional right to a fair and impartial jury using the fundamental error rule since Henriquez’s attorney did not object at trial to the judge’s actions. The appellate court rejected Henriquez’s claim his case is like Lindsey v. State, 260 Ind. 295 N.E.2d 819 (1973), and found it more like Henri v. Curto, 908 N.E.2d 196 (Ind. 2009). In Henri, the alternate juror allegedly used noises and hand gestures to communicate with the jury and also did exercises during deliberations, which caused the jurors to laugh. The Indiana Supreme Court found the alternate juror’s behavior immature, but it didn’t rise to the level of misconduct that would be injurious to Henri.

In the instant case, the trial court, “in its proper discretion, determined that the alternate’s alleged conduct posed only a remote risk of prejudice, if any at all,” Senior Judge John Sharpnack wrote in Jorge Henriquez v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1201-CR-6. “Therefore, no full scale inquiry was warranted.”

There was no error, fundamental or otherwise, and Henriquez didn’t meet his burden of showing that the alleged misconduct was gross and probably injurious to him, Sharpnack wrote.

 

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  • Twisting the facts
    The baliff said she thought she heard an alternate juror say, you need to be able to live with your decision. A definite influence on the jury and admonishment is not going to change that. Anyone that believes otherwise is really stupid. Henriquez's first line of defense is ineffective council. The court of appeals is not going to admit they are wrong even though they are. Think about it the baliff claimed she heard the statement in the jury room, but by the end of the story, that statement became hand jestures. Why was the baliff in the jury room anyway?

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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