Special recognition goes out to Jon E. Shields
today for going above and beyond in defense of his client. He is the defense attorney who, by chance, saw one of the jurors in his murder case buying two newspapers on the morning of the verdict. Since the judge had apparently admonished the jurors not to read the papers or watch the news, Shields reported the incident to the judge, but the juror denied it under oath, and the jury went on to convict Mr. Shields's client. So, Mr. Shields got the surveillance tape and the receipt from the conveniece store. In addition to the defendant getting a new trial, the lying juror is now in a whole heap of legal trouble of her own. She's facing contempt, perjury charges, and having to pay restitution for all the costs of the week-long trial, including defense costs. Some people may think is a little steep. But, this is a murder trial we're talking about. And if a juror is willing to willfully disobey one of the judge's instructions--not to mention lie to his face about it--then what is to say that juror will follow the rest of the judge's instructions, like the presumption of innocene and the burden of proof?