YOU’RE ON JURY DUTY. NOW WHAT?

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If you have been selected for jury duty, a New York Times headline might have grabbed your attention.  It said that “Jury Secrecy Doesn’t Apply if Bias Taints Deliberations.”

This is inaccurate, if for no other reason that there is no such thing as jury secrecy.  Once the verdict is announced, jurors are free to tell one and all what happened in the jury room if they so wish.

Indeed, as a juror, you have three basic duties: pay attention, follow the judge’s instructions, and deliberate in good faith to arrive at a verdict.

But when you’re done and you may tell anyone who said what.  The decision the New York Times was talking about had nothing to do with secrecy.  It merely created a small exception to the rule that the verdict will not change because of what a juror, after the facts, claims was said in the jury room.

Now, if you have juror’s remorse and someone else on the jury made bigoted remarks, reporting it could void the verdict and lead to a new trial –if the judge determines the bias created an unfair trial.