Jury Misconduct

The justice system in California suffered a complete meltdown yesterday, and an alleged career criminal who should be in jail is now in the morgue.

Here’s what happened: Bobby Lee Pearson was on trial for burglary in a Fresno County court. The jury was deadlocked. I’ve written before about how our jury system is probably the worst system possible, aside from all the other ones that have been tried.

If the jurors had told Judge W. Kent Hamlin they were deadlocked, he would have declared a mistrial. But there’s no “box” on the verdict form for no verdict, you have to actually tell the judge. This, evidently, confused the s**t out of 12 souls in Fresno. Instead of telling the judge, leaving the form blank, or simply asking for help, the jurors did the dumbest and laziest thing possible, and filled in “not guilty”on the verdict form.

Hamlin read the verdict, and released Pearson. Only later did jurors inform him that they had no freaking idea what they were doing. But it was too late for Pearson.

Continue Reading on Above the Law Redline…

Not so fast, Canellas…

* Yeah, about that huge bonus we were going to pay our ex-finance director — we realized how silly that was, so we’re not going to do that. Aww, don’t worry, Dewey & LeBoeuf, you’ll have plenty of other chances to look absurd. [Am Law Daily]

* Not only is Samsung suing Apple for patent infringement, but the company is also trying to get a do over by getting Judge Lucy Koh to throw out the original billion-dollar verdict over jury foreman Velvin Hogan’s alleged misconduct. [Bloomberg]

* “Small deals are easier to swallow, easier to integrate.” Regional firms like Carlton Fields and Adams and Reese are gobbling up smaller firms in what seems to be the latest trend in law firm merger mania activity. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Douglas Arntsen, the former Crowell & Moring associate who had to be extradited from Hong Kong after embezzling $10.7M from clients, pleaded guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence. [New York Law Journal]

* It’s tough to come up with appropriate whistleblower jokes given the background here. We’ll play it straight: Mike McQueary filed a defamation suit against Penn State, and he’s seeking $4M in damages. [ABC News]

* Jose Godinez-Samperio, an undocumented immigrant, is fighting for the ability to practice law in Florida, but the members of the state Supreme Court are literally trying to make it into a “federal case.” [Washington Post]

Right on schedule, attorneys representing Samsung have filed an appeal a month after the company’s glorious failure in its IP faceoff against Apple.

Quinn Emanuel, Samsung’s firm, has taken the jury misconduct route as a way to get the $1 billion dollar verdict tossed. How exactly does Samsung argue the jury — which returned a verdict after only two days, and originally tried to award damages on patents that weren’t infringed — screwed up?

Let’s just say loose lips sink ships, and might even scuttle billion-dollar patent verdicts….

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Roger Clemens

Coffee is a critical tool of the American justice system.

Daniel C. Richman, a professor at Columbia Law School, commenting on the need for jurors to have access to caffeine during trials. This topic arose after recent happenings in the Roger Clemens trial.

(What happened during Roger Clemens’s trial that would elicit such a response? Find out, after the jump.)

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A game that nobody wants to play.

Even though serving on a jury is considered an important civic duty, people in this country seem to loathe the mere idea of being forced to do it. After all, because of jury duty, people have to miss work — hell, some people even get fired because of it.

And even though jury duty is something that is required by law, instead of just doing it, people would rather make jokes about others being too dumb to get out of it.

One judge in Indiana is well aware of that fact, and he’s on a mission to get people to serve willingly, lest they be forced to face some embarrassing consequences….

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Alison Fournier

* In trying to resolve the Texas redistricting problem, the Supreme Court has come to a realization: everything really is bigger in that state, including its congressional delegation. [Los Angeles Times]

* The Center for Constitutional Rights is suing to get video of the would-be 20th hijacker’s interrogations made public. Too bad no one really cares about this stuff unless it’s in a movie. [Washington Post]

* The Second Circuit has overturned former Mayer Brown partner Joseph P. Collins’s Refco conviction. He’s getting a new trial, and maybe this time around, the jurors will be less shady. [New York Law Journal]

* Talk about a crappy ROI. Alison Fournier, a former i-banker, is Gloria Allred’s latest litigant. She claims that a drunken pervert groped her abroad thanks to Starwood’s lax hotel security. [Reuters]

* A judge has ordered that the leader of EquuSearch’s jurisprudential hymen be ruptured at deposition by Casey Anthony’s defense team for no more than seven hours. Ouch. [Boston Globe]

* Why are CUNY Law’s bar passage rates so low? Apparently New York’s second-worst law school has standards that are similar to the town bicycle’s morals and orifices — loose. [New York Post]