January 25, 2008 By Wallin & Klarich

The Associated Press recently reported on a case in Long Island, New York where a juror stated that he felt pressured by the trial judge and his fellow jurors to convict the defendant of manslaughter charges.

The jury returned its verdict on the Saturday prior to Christmas.

Apparently, when the jury was unable to reach a verdict, the judge took the unusual step of requiring that the jurors deliberate on Saturday for twelve hours. The judge also, according to the report, told the jury that they would have to return on Sunday as well for further deliberations if they could not reach a verdict. The judge also told the jury that a mistrial would burden the families as well as the next jury.

The two “holdouts” for not guilty apparently felt pressure from their fellow jurors to change their vote to guilty to avoid marathon deliberation sessions over the weekend and with the holidays approaching. The jury forewoman denied allegations that weekend deliberations, or the holidays, played a role in the jury’s deliberations.

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