Professor Suja Thomas, an expert on juries and jury behavior, was quoted in a February 22nd article by VICE News regarding drug kingpin El Chapo's legal team's plan to request a new trial due to alleged juror misconduct. The defense team will claim that multiple jurors engaged in misconduct by intentionally violating the Court's direction to avoid media coverage of the trial and not communicate with one another about the trial prior to deliberations.
Thomas said punishing the jurors is less likely than a new trial for El Chapo.
“We want people to serve and we want people to do what they’re told, and for the most part that’s what happens,” Thomas said. “It’s hard to avoid media. Even if people are saying they did this, these are things that will have to be talked about — in this day and age, how do you live a normal life and not look at the media, especially in a trial this long?”
She went on to say that unless the defense team can prove El Chapo didn't receive a fair trial, the jury's verdict ought to stand.
“Outside of extraordinary circumstances, it’s problematic to start questioning jurors and questioning the process,” Thomas said. “This is our democratic process. It’s one of the greatest institutions we have. When the jury actually does sit, it’s a good thing. We don’t want to have the judge or other players in the government question the institution too much.”
Read the full article at news.vice.com.