New York Misconduct By A Juror – What You Need to Know
The jury system is super important to our criminal justice system. Twelve jurors from the community decide cases and are supposed to be fair. There are a lot of rules jurors, judges, and lawyers gotta follow to keep the system working right. These include:
- Keeping jury deliberations secret
- No talking between lawyers and jurors outside court
- No discussing the case or evidence until deliberations start
- No reading news or social media about the case
What is Misconduct by a Juror in New York?
Sometimes jurors do improper stuff which can be a crime called Misconduct by a Juror. This happens when a juror:
- Accepts payment for giving info about a case, or
- Gives their vote or opinion for or against a party
There are two levels of this charge:
- Misconduct by a Juror in the First Degree
- Misconduct by a Juror in the Second Degree
The difference is one involves payment for voting a certain way, and the other is just sharing info.
Misconduct by a Juror in the Second Degree
This charge is in New York Penal Law Section 215.28. You’re guilty if:
- Before being discharged from a case, and
- You accept payment or benefit for yourself or someone else
- For giving info about the case
The prosecutor has to prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
Penalties for Second Degree
Misconduct by a Juror in the Second Degree is a violation. The max penalty is 15 days in jail. Realistically you’ll get time served, even if that’s just a few hours.
A violation isn’t a crime under New York law. So even if found guilty, you won’t have a criminal record.
Setting Aside Verdicts for Misconduct
- People v. Neulander (2019) – homicide verdict set aside because a juror texted about the case 100s of times and looked at news sites, violating the rules.
- People v. McGregor (2019) – attempted murder verdict thrown out because a juror tried to date a witness during deliberations.
How Often Are Jurors Prosecuted?
Prosecuting jurors is rare. Even when they break the rules badly, criminal charges usually don’t happen.
In People v. Neulander, a juror sent 7,000 texts about the trial, deleted them, and lied to the court. But no Misconduct by a Juror charges were filed.
But the integrity of juries is super important. The penal law has these charges available if needed.
What To Do If Charged
If you or a loved one is charged with Misconduct by a Juror in New York, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away. An attorney can help protect your rights and build the strongest defense.
Some options to fight the charges include:
- File pretrial motions to get evidence excluded or dismissed
- Negotiate with the prosecutor for a better plea deal or dismissal
- Take the case to trial and hold the state to their burden of proof
Don’t take a chance by waiting or trying to handle this alone. The consequences can follow you for life. Get expert help fighting back.