Many Cases have been Affected ByJury Tampering

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Throughout history juries have been the deciding factors for cases. As a citizen one might be chosen to sit on a jury, which decides the fate of the person being prosecuted. Jurors have one of the biggest jobs within the court, to decide whether someone is found guilty or innocent based on facts, evidence, and information provided by the prosecution or defense. In the book The Jury System In America by Rita James Simon, she informs readers about the jury system. It states that the American jury system is older than the United States, inherited from the British in 1788. During the struggle for independence, juries were one of the more important symbols which was referred to in the first three amendments of the Constitution. The right to trial by a jury is one of the fundamental equitable foundations of American government and society. However, the system has been made an objective for assault and mocking. Jurors are sworn to give a verdict in a legal case on the basis of evidence submitted during court. After all the evidence and information is present the jury must then come to a decision, but throughout the trial a juror might become FIX!

They must decide whether what each side argues is true or false, be that as it may, individuals will take the necessary steps to demonstrate they are on the right track to win a case, which can be characterized as jury tampering.

Jury tampering is defined as the crime of attempting to pressure a juror by discussions about the case outside the trial, offering bribes, making threats or asking colleagues to meddle with a member of the jury. We like to think that juries make decisions on cases from the evidence they are presented, but outside influences can be persuasive. Attorneys involved with the case are prohibited from interaction with the jurors to prevent impacting of the decision/verdict. Additionally, protestors who hinder the entryway to the courthouse can be accused with jury tampering. Attempting to tamper the jury can face up to 10 years in prison, yet the jurors themselves can receive up to 5 years in prison. Jurors that engage in jury tampering can be banned from the courthouse if caught discussing the trial outside the courthouse with a juror. Each state has their own laws against jury tampering, however most states follow the government law and consider it to be a felony offense. Felonies can be punishable by at least one or more years in prison which can include the death penalty. For instance, in Ohio if you tamper a juror you may receive a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. On the other hand, in Louisiana, jury tampering is viewed as a civil case which can receive a punishment of 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. On a criminal level, fines and prison terms are punishable by the severity of the case, which can include 99 years of hard labor, with the exception of capital punishment cases. 

As a juror there are certain rule they must abide by such as courts do not want outside knowledge or opinions about the case persuading the jurors as they are meant to be decided based on the facts presented during trial. Unreliable and uninformed information might be used to convince a juror from elsewhere and courts don’t want that happening. Throughout the trial, jurors are advised to not discuss the case with anyone outside the trail or the courtroom. If a juror should break one of the rules it could result in a dismissal and removal from the jury. Jurors might not realize they broke the law by accepting outside information, but they may become influenced which can occur without jury tampering. 

Neither tampering nor misconduct has happened if a member of the jury adheres to the judge’s guidelines and no one tries to influence the juror. However, improper influences can still nevertheless happen without recognition. An example is a juror inadvertently overhears a conversation about evidence the judge ruled inadmissible during the trial.

Throughout history many cases have been affected by jury tampering. One example would be United States v. Rutherford. In the United States v. Rutherford case Martin P. and Nanja Rutherford were found guilty of two counts of tax evasion appeal the district court's denial of their motion for a new trial on grounds of jury intimidation, tampering, and misconduct. They also assert that the jury was prejudiced because a large number of IRS and government agents sat directly behind the prosecution table throughout the trial and glared at the jurors, intimidating them, and causing some of the jurors to fear that if they acquitted the Rutherfords, the IRS might retaliate against them. Rutherford said the government influenced the jurors. Agreed with the rutherfords and district court ruling, remand for further proceeding. 

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Many Cases Have Been Affected ByJury Tampering. (2022, Apr 11). Retrieved July 12, 2024 , from
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