Monday, August 28, 2017
Court of Appeal Holds:
Juror’s Use of Cell Phone During Deliberations Would Not Warrant Divulging Identifying Information About Juror Making Report
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A juror’s report, made to the judge four days after the verdict, that another juror had used her cell phone during deliberations was not enough to require the judge to supply to the defendant with identifying information about the juror making the report, the Court of Appeal for this district held Friday.
The opinion, by Acting Presiding Justice Madeleine Flier of Div. Eight, affirms the conviction of Ashley Craig Barner for assault with a deadly weapon.
The sole issue on appeal was whether Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Abzug abused his discretion in finding that a prima facie showing for providing identifying information about “Juror No. 35” had not been made, denying Barner a hearing on his petition.
Flier said, in an opinion that was not certified for publication:
“The allegation that another juror used her cell phone, even if established, does not reasonably support the conclusion that a jury improperly considered outside information about the case. Although Juror No. 35 reported that another juror ‘used’ her cell phone, Juror No. 35 did not report that the other juror used the Internet, discussed any subject connected with the trial over the phone, used the dictionary, or received any outside information.”
“There was no evidence the juror used the phone in any manner connected with defendant’s criminal proceeding. Therefore, there was no basis to conclude that the juror used her cell phone for an improper purpose. Juror No. 35’s report did not suggest misconduct occurred or even may have occurred and defendant’s petition was basically a fishing expedition in search of misconduct. In short, defendant failed to satisfy defendant’s burden to establish a prima facie showing of good cause to disclose juror information.”
The case is People v. Barner, No. B277839.
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