Even at this late date, on the eve of finally putting away at least one killer-cop, a mistrial is still possible and an appeal is an absolute certainty. If a mistrial is declared you may rest assured that a change of venue will again be the defense’s first pretrial motion. And such a motion will be readily granted. The case will then be tried in the absolute remotest, GOP-centric area of the state, where the only black people there are ones living inside white folks’ televisions, computer monitors, and on motion picture screens.
Criminal Mistrial Causes – List
Here is a list of some things that might lead to a mistrial:
A juror or attorney passes away during the trial;
A discovery that the jury was improperly selected;
A serious error in the case that is unfair to the defendant, in such a way that it cannot be remedied by further jury instructions or a brief delay in the proceedings;
Misconduct on the part of a juror which can include a juror contacting one of the parties to the trial, considering evidence that was not introduced during the trial, or conducting an independent investigation during the case;
A juror discusses the case with the media;
A juror is found to be prejudiced or incompetent;
A finding that someone tampered with the jury; or
Improper handling of evidence.
In order to facilitate an impartial jury decision based strictly on the evidence before them in court, jurors are subject to very strict rules while on a jury. Juror misconduct occurs when a juror breaks any of these rules. In many states, once juror misconduct is raised on appeal, the burden shifts to the opposing side to show that there was no juror misconduct. This essentially means that it is easier to prevail on an appeal based on juror misconduct than on another basis.
One example of juror misconduct includes inappropriate communication. This inappropriate communication can occur between jurors, jurors and witnesses, or jurors and the attorneys. When a juror discusses the case with another juror outside the deliberation room, this can lead to a biased jury. Likewise, if a juror interviews a witness, or discusses the case with the prosecution, it can lead a juror to make conclusions about the case based on outside influences, and not just the evidence presented before them in the court.
Another example of juror misconduct includes juror experiments. This is when jurors investigate beyond the evidence that is given in court. Other examples of juror misconduct include refusing to deliberate, abusing drugs and alcohol, or concealing information that is relevant to the case at hand.
Grounds for Appeal
Potential grounds for appeal in a criminal case include legal error, juror misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel. Legal errors may result from improperly admitted evidence, incorrect jury instructions, or lack of sufficient evidence to support a guilty verdict. To grant the appeal, the appellate court must find that these errors affected the outcome of the case. If the errors would not have changed the verdict, they are considered harmless, and the conviction will stand.