Gideon brings us this atrocious story out of Illinois about a juror coming forward, 15 years after his jury duty, to testify in a postconviction proceeding that he and two other jurors had believed that the defendant was innocent of the armed robbery but after deliberating for over nine hours, had changed their votes to guilty under pressure from the other jurors. One can see how this testimony might have benefited the defendant in a postconviction proceeding. So of course But the judge shut it down, telling the juror that criminal charges could be filed against him for jury misconduct. The juror took the Fifth (the right thing for him to do in the absence of competent legal advice under these circumstances) and the postconviction proceeding was dismissed.
Is juror misconduct really a crime? And if it is, isn’t there a statute of limitations? Is there an Illinois lawyer out there who can tell us whether this juror was really looking at potential criminal liability?
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