In many jurisdictions, jurors receive pretrial questionnaires that let parties and attorneys get to know them. But what happens when a juror forgets or lies in response to some of the questions and the inaccurate responses are discovered after trial? That was the question for the First Circuit in United States v. French.
Malcolm French owned approximately 80,000 acres of land in Washington County, Maine. Rodney Russell was an office manager of sorts. It turns out people were using pieces of Mr. French’s land to grow considerable amounts of marijuana. Mr. French and Mr. Russell both claimed they didn’t know about the farming operation and were thus innocent. A jury disagreed and found them both guilty.
Shortly after sentencing, defense counsel reported that they had just learned that a prisoner housed in the Somerset County Jail with another co-defendant told the co-defendant that Juror 86, who sat on the jury before which the case was tried, was the mother of a small-time marijuana trafficker.
Michael Brownlee is board-certified as an appellate expert by the Florida Bar. He practices in federal appellate courts around the country and is the founding member of The Brownlee Law Firm. To learn more visit appealattorney.com or email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.