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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Not Guilty" - or I Kill Myself

Juror Threatens to Kill Himself if "Forced" to Vote to Convict


 


I've had jurors make up the need for search warrants, elect an unemployed 19 year old as foreperson, invent conspiracies, retroactively state that they failed to follow the law, and call opposing counsel a "buffoon", but I've thankfully never had a juror threaten to commit suicide. Apparently everything really is bigger in Texas, including courtroom melodrama.


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A Texas jury hearing a murder case against a San Antonio mom accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter sent three notes to the judge yesterday.




All indicated that the panel was hung, 11-1, although it wasn't clear if the majority wanted to convict Andrisela Ng, 24, of murder or the lesser included offense of injury to a child. However, the third note was a show-stopper, informing District Judge Maria Teresa Herr that one of the jurors was threatening to kill himself if he had to vote to convict in the case, the San Antonio Express-News reports.


Herr then declared a mistrial. Ng is expected to be retried early next year.


“Never in all my years of practice have I had a note like that,” said attorney Stephanie Boyd, who is representing Ng. “This juror decided what his vote was, and he was not going to bend.”


-- by Martha Neil, American Bar Journal (November, 2011)