If you are in court, accused of a high profile crime, you may wonder about the influences upon the jury sitting in on your case. Jurors are technically not supposed to be influenced by external influences like news stories or other media attention you may be getting due to the alleged crime. Learn more about how jurors can be the reason a judge calls a mistrial.
The Infamous Private Deliberation Room
The words spoken between jurors in a deliberation room have always been private, even to most of the court members involved in cases. Because of this privacy, proving an external influence had any bearing on a juror or an entire jury can be difficult. For example, if a juror speaks to someone outside of the court room that is a close friend of a defendant and that close friend is worried the defendant is guilty because of certain facts, a juror may be influenced by that person's statement. In this type of external influence, the courts consider that influence to be in the mind of a juror and it is completely acceptable, given the boundaries are within evidence presented during trial. However, if evidence is presented that a juror was paid to take a certain side by that friend, a mistrial is usually the result.
Overbearing Media Influences
You may wonder how a juror escapes external influences during a high profile case, especially when it is all you hear being discussed on television and internet news channels and talk shows. Media influences are nearly impossible for anyone to avoid in the modern world. Jurors must be sensible when it comes to this type of influences if they are sitting in on a high profile case. Due to the extreme media attention many high profile cases receive today, some courts are forced to take drastic measures and prohibit any media attention given to a particular case. In other cases, judges have been known to execute gag orders to limit the jury's use of external information in an ongoing trial.
Jurors Can Be The Victim Of Tampering
When a jury member is threatened, his or her clear thinking during a trial could be compromised. The person threatening a juror can be prosecuted for jury tampering if the juror tells the authorities about the threat. However, in some cases, a juror may be too afraid to tell anyone due to the seriousness of the threat. If you or your lawyer suspect tampering is at hand, presenting evidence of it is essential to your case being tried without this type of external influence.