An interesting criminal defense story recently emerged, where a mistrial was declared after a juror was given a ride home by a man whose son was injured by the suspect being charged in the juror's case. It's a complicated circle of logic, but one that makes perfect sense when you look through the lens of "jury tampering."
The case -- which did not occur here in Hayward, California -- centers on a violent robbery at a restaurant from last year. Someone came into the restaurant, ordered some food, shot an employee (who survived) and then stole $400. The man being accused of these crimes is now standing trial.
During a recent court date, everything was seemingly going fine. The case proceeded and after some time in the courtroom, it was time for everyone to go home. One of the jurors "appeared stranded" according to our source article, so someone stopped and offered to give the juror a ride home.
That "someone" ended up being the father of the victim who was shot in the robbery.
The juror confessed to the incident, as did the father; as a result, the judge declared a mistrial and a new one will begin later this year. It does not appear that the father was attempting to affect the juror. He was merely trying to help someone in need.
But just the prospect of tampering with a juror is enough to result in a mistrial. Jury tampering is a serious issue in the criminal defense world. It can result in a conviction being retried or, as in this case, a new trial and a fresh chance to present their case.
Source: al.com, "Victim's father in Huntsville robbery/shooting gives juror a ride home, judge declares mistrial," Nicole Emmett, Aug. 27, 2013