Jury returns with one fewer person: Was someone booted?

By Nick R. Martin | July 16th, 2009 | 1:53 pm | No Comments »

Live from the courtroom: The jury in Samuel Dieteman’s sentencing trial returned after the lunch break this afternoon with one fewer person sitting on it, though it’s not clear why.

Late Wednesday and early today, Judge Roland Steinle talked to attorneys about a note he received from one of the jurors, which said several members of the jury had been talking about the case — a violation of rules they’re under.

At least one of those chatty jurors apparently was also overheard saying he or she had already made up his or her mind, following just one day of testimony, about whether Dieteman should be sentenced to death.

Just after lunchtime today, the attorneys in the case walked out of Steinle’s chambers, followed into the courtroom a short time later by the jury, which had one fewer person in it. It is unclear whether the attorneys and Steinle agreed to kick the juror off the trial, but it was clear the jury was smaller.

The disappearance still leaves the trial with 13 jurors — one more than the number needed to continue.