Dietz v. Bouldin

Posted: June 2, 2016 by beguide in case summaries, Civil Procedure, Jury Duty, Justices, Lawyers, Uncategorized

WHAT HAPPENED:  After a long trial about a topic that doesn’t matter for purposes of this summary, a civil jury returned with a verdict that was objectively wrong.  The judge, who is tasked with supervising these types of things, only realized the mistake after letting the jury leave the courtroom.  To avoid having to do the trial all over again, the judge brought the jury back in the room, corrected their mistake, made sure they didn’t talk to each other, and then asked them to amend their verdict.

WHY IS THIS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT:  Jurors are preserved in such a way that any nominal form of contamination of the jury process usually results in a mistrial.   Although this judge attempted to fix the problem, the appellant in this case feels like any dismissal should result in a new trial.

WHAT IS THE RULING:  This case is not yet decided.

WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS:  The only thing this case will decide is whether or not a jury can be saved after jury dismissal.  One side feels like it should be a balancing test that considers actual prejudice, whereas the other feels like we should have a bright line rule.  The only people this really affects in a broad way is judges, who both cause this issue and would have to fix this issue.

ROOT FOR DIETZ IF:  you like burning money.

ROOT FOR BOULDIN IF:  you would rather do something wrong once rather than re-do something a second time to make sure its right.

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