Reversal for Failure to Question Unqualified Juror
Mr. Henry and a co-defendant were arrested and went to trial for first-degree robbery. During trial, a juror repeatedly approached the wives of both Mr. Henry and his co-defendant and made comments showing that he was biased against the defendants like, “they got themselves into this situation” and “the evidence speaks for itself.” When counsel alerted the court to the juror’s misconduct, the trial judge refused to question the juror or declare a mistrial.
Today, in a unanimous decision, the Appellate Division, Second Department, held that the trial court deprived Mr. Henry and his co-defendant of a fair trial by refusing to question the juror about his apparent bias. The court cited numerous cases holding that a trial judge must question a juror when it appears there is a basis the juror should be disqualified.
The Court reversed Mr. Henry’s conviction and ordered a new trial.
Bryan Kreykes briefed and argued the case.