The Sun Sentinel reported that a Davie police officer convicted last week of sexual battery may receive a new trial due to possible misconduct on part of the jurors.
A jury trial is a fundamental right for any person accused of a crime. If you are charged with a crime, you are presumed innocent and have a right to make the State prove the charges to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.
As part of a jury trial, the jurors are instructed by the judge as to what evidence they may consider, the law they must follow, and the rules of their deliberations. One of the most important things a judge instructs a jury on is the fact that they cannot do any independent investigation or research on their own regarding a case. They must rely upon the evidence they are given, and only upon that evidence.
In the case of the convicted Davie police officer, a printout from the Internet found in the jury room suggested that maybe one or more of the jurors had done their own investigation about the case. This is a serious due process violation as it means that jurors considered facts not presented as evidence in making their decision to convict this man.
In light of these new facts, the accused officer was ordered released on $100,000 bond until the court can determine whether he deserves a new trial.
Broward Circuit Judge Stanton Kaplan granted the request of the officer's criminal defense attorney to question the six-member jury next week about whether any of them downloaded information from the Internet and brought it into the jury room.
The jurors will be summoned back to court to face questioning by the judge, the prosecutor, and the defense.
If the court finds that the jury considered facts or information not presented at trial, the accused will be given a new trial.
The Law Offices of Eric M. Matheny, P.A. is a criminal defense law firm that serves Miami-Dade and Broward. Call today to speak with Attorney Eric Matheny regarding your case.