06/22/05 — Juror tells judge she heard talk about case

View Archive

Juror tells judge she heard talk about case

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on June 22, 2005 1:45 PM

The first-degree murder trial of Eric Lane -- already halted twice in the last seven months -- took another bizarre twist on Tuesday.

A juror told Judge Gary Trawick that someone had ap-proached her at a sandwich shop during the lunch recess and urged her to "do the right thing."

Trawick said the unidentified person could be held in contempt of court for the comment.

The juror, who was wearing her jury badge at the time, said she was in line at lunch when someone put a hand on her shoulder and said "I know you're on the Lane trial. Don't be talking about it. We can't have another mistrial or a hung jury. Do the right thing."

The juror said she did not reply and that the person stayed in line behind her and said nothing else.

"Everyone ought to have the common sense not to do that," Trawick said. "What that person needs to realize is that is the kind of thing that causes a mistrial."

Lane's first trial ended Nov. 9, 2004, in a mistrial because of juror misconduct -- comments in the jury pool room about a possible punishment. The next jury was removed May 31 on Lane's motion, because the random jury selection process was compromised.

The juror told the judge that the comment would not affect her ability to be fair and impartial.

"Other jurors were more offended than I was," she told the judge.

At the mid-afternoon break, Trawick asked the other 11 jurors if they had heard the lunchtime comment. At least four raised their hands. All said they could still be fair and impartial in reaching a decision. None knew the person who made the comment.

"I appreciate that you've done what I've asked you to do," Trawick told the jurors.