Tuesday, March 06, 2007

AD1: Decisions for March 1, 2007

Juror is not grossly unqualified to serve because her aunt lives in building where drug dealing happened

People v Devison, 2007 NY Slip Op 01771 [available here]

During defendant's trial on drug charges, a sworn juror revealed to the court that her aunt lived in the building where the drug dealing was alleged to have occurred. (Devison, 2007 NY Slip Op 01771.) Defense counsel asked that the juror be dismissed, arguing that the juror's aunt was a victim of the crime, and the facts gave rise to an implied bias. The trial court refused to dismiss the juror, and the First Department affirmed. "The juror did not have an implied bias based on this remote fact alone. She stated that she had not visited her aunt in a number of months, promised not to go to the building during the trial, and stated unequivocally that she had formed no opinion about the case based on her aunt's connection to the building." (Id. at __.) As to defendant's argument that the Aunt was a victim of the crime, the First Department rejected the argument in conclusory fashion; "the aunt was not a 'person allegedly injured by the crime charged' within the meaning of the statute." (Id. at __.)