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San Francisco DUI Lawyer: Interviewing Juror After Verdict

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State v. Monserrate-Jacobs
2012 - Fifth Dist. Court of Appeals – Florida – No. 5D12-944

Following a guilty verdict, the defense sought court authorization to interview a juror-nurse concerning her examination of a blood kit (and its expiration date) that was admitted into evidence without objection or limitation, and possible comments to other jurors about it (including two jurors who declined to examine it). None of the witnesses testified about the expiration date on the kit.

Held : The request was untimely since the defense failed to object to the jury viewing the kit and the manner in which it was viewed. Furthermore, the motion was insufficient because it failed to include specific allegations as to why the verdict may be subject to legal challenge. Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.575 requires the moving party to state the reasons why he/she believes that verdict may be subject to legal challenge, and allegations that are “merely speculative, conclusory, or concern matters that inhere in the verdict itself" are insufficient.

Burglin commentary : The motion was not untimely since it was apparently filed within 10 days of the verdict as required by the rule. What the Court was really saying is that anything the juror-nurse looked at, or commented upon, was fair game since no objection or instruction had been made or requested. If the defense was truly concerned about the juror-nurse seeing or saying something improper, an objection or motion should have been made during the trial. The other lesson to be gleaned here is that although the procedural rule only requires the moving party to state the “reasons" it believes the verdict may be subject to legal challenge, the Court interpreted it to require more than just speculative allegations.

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