Jurors within the trial of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman have been accused of “huge misconduct” by the convict’s lawyer.
Jeffrey Lichtman says there are severe questions surrounding Guzman’s conviction on drug smuggling and conspiracy expenses, amid claims some jurors flouted strict guidelines imposed on them by a decide.
One juror anonymously instructed Vice Information that no less than 5 members of the panel had adopted information reviews and Twitter feeds concerning the case through the three-month trial.
This meant they have been conscious of explosive and doubtlessly prejudicial materials that had been excluded from the proceedings.
Mr Lichtman now needs US district decide Brian Cogan to usher in all 12 jurors, in addition to their six alternates, to face questions on whether or not they disobeyed the decide’s orders.
He instructed the Related Press: “Everybody has the world at their fingertips. Twenty years in the past, you did not have to fret about that.
“It is clear we’ve to get them again into courtroom and get some solutions about some huge misconduct.
“I repeatedly requested the jury to simply give him a good trial. It seems that was an excessive amount of to ask.”
Up to now, comparable incidents of misconduct by juries have been deemed prejudicial sufficient to warrant a brand new trial – and consultants say this can’t be dominated out in Guzman’s case.
Duncan Levin, a former federal prosecutor, mentioned: “This can be a query about basic equity.
“It is presumptively prejudicial for a juror to have this info, and it is a step extra outrageous for them to have accessed it when the decide particularly instructed them to not.”
Guzman was discovered responsible of operating a unbroken prison enterprise, drug trafficking, conspiracy and utilizing firearms as chief of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel.
In the course of the 1990s and 2000s, the cartel grew to become one of many world’s strongest drug trafficking organisations.
The 61-year-old is now dealing with a compulsory life sentence – and his lawyer has mentioned he “goes to die in jail”.
Extraordinary measures have been put in place through the trial which noticed jurors escorted to courtroom every day by armed US marshals.
Their names have by no means been made public as a result of Guzman has a historical past of intimidating witnesses.
Jurors have been required to surrender their telephones whereas they have been in courtroom however have been allowed entry to their gadgets at different occasions.
The juror who spoke to Vice Information additionally claimed that one other member of the panel had regarded up a narrative concerning the case on their smartwatch – moments after the decide had requested them whether or not they had been uncovered to any current media protection concerning the trial.
Guzman escaped from jail twice earlier than he was lastly captured in January 2016, and the convict was extradited to the US a yr later.
Disregarding a decide’s directions on this approach can have repercussions, and the jurors concerned may discover themselves held in contempt of courtroom.
Michael J Stern, additionally a federal prosecutor, says that convicting the decide that the misconduct is sufficient to order a brand new trial could be an extended shot for Guzman’s defence.
“The decide should determine whether or not there was an affordable risk that the data may have affected the jury’s verdict,” he defined.
Legislation professor Thaddeus Hoffmeister added: “This can be a rising phenomenon, and courts are fighting learn how to tackle it.
“You are coping with folks as we speak who’ve extra religion in Google than the witnesses being known as to testify.”
In different new developments on Thursday, two of Guzman’s sons have been indicted on drug conspiracy expenses.