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Two tales of juror follies

For our first tale, we learn that a juror admitted using a coin-toss to decide to convict Isidro Reyes in 1995. (Actually, he used two coin tosses: the first "heads" didn't persuade Shakeed Fareed, but flipping two heads in a row was enough to convince him.) The Ninth Circuit refused habeas relief on the grounds that it's impermissible to inquire into juror motives. "'If you look into the subjective considerations that any juror may contemplate, it's hard to know the proper place to draw the line,' [Nathan Barankin, spokesman for California Attorney General Bill Lockyer,] said. 'Today's it's coin-flipping. Tomorrow, in an extreme example, someone might say there should be intelligence tests.'" (Peter Blumberg, "Ninth Circuit Doesn't Flip Over Use Of Coin In Verdict", Daily Journal, Mar. 1; James J. Kilpatrick, "Heads, You're Guilty!", Oct. 25, 2000; Bashman coverage).

Then again, that example might not seem so extreme when we look at our second tale, the story of the tribulations attorneys face when confronted with a confused Georgia juror. (Jonathan Ringel, "Flip-Flopping Juror Gives Med-Mal Win to Obstetrician", Fulton County Daily Report, Mar. 10).

A past tale: "The dream verdict" from the Aug. 24, 1999 Overlawyered.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.