Judge disqualifies three jurors during James Holmes death penalty trial

Judge Carlos A. Samour, Jr., dismissed three jurors for misconduct yesterday in the James Holmes murder trial. Holmes is accused of shooting to death 12 and injuring 70 at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado on July 20, 2012 during the premiere showing of a new Batman film. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty even though he is pleading insanity and was severely mentally ill at the time of the mass shooting.

The dismissal is unlikely to affect the legitimacy of the trial because the judge seated 24 jurors (19 women and 5 men). The jury that will decide the cased will be composed of 12 of those jurors. The rest will be alternates.

The hullabaloo that precipitated the dismissal started with a phone call to a juror from her husband during a smoke break for the jurors. The LA Times describes what happened.

The jury problems started when Juror 872’s phone rang during a break last week. Although she and her husband knew that she was not allowed to discuss the case, her husband called to ask about news reports that one of the attorneys had tweeted about the case from the courtroom.

Her phone was on speaker, and she was one of five people on the court’s patio, where jurors gather to smoke.

This is what 872 said under questioning by Samour: “Last Thursday or Friday, my husband called me and asked me a question about what he saw on Facebook about Twitter. He was on speaker…. He asked me if I knew who the lawyer was.

“I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘That idiot was tweeting on Facebook.’ He knows I’m not supposed to talk about it. I don’t look at it in the paper…. Him and I got into a big argument about it. It just happened to be at lunch.”

Juror 872’s husband also asked her whether she knew who “Brauchler” is, referring to Arapahoe County Dist. Atty. George H. Brauchler, who is the main prosecutor in the case and who sent the offending tweet.

“I said, ‘He’s one of the lawyers,'” 872 recounted in court Tuesday, as the rest of the jurors waited outside of Division 201. “He said, ‘Well that idiot tweeted during the testimony.’ He didn’t say what he tweeted.”

On Thursday, Brauchler tweeted, “I agree on the video. I hope the jury thinks so too.” According to the Denver Post, he later apologized, explained that he thought he was sending a text, not tweeting, and took the offending post down quickly.

The video is a reference to the 22 hour interview of Mr. Holmes by a psychiatrist that was played in court. Holmes admitted during the interview that he knew he was breaking the law when he opened fire on the audience. His admission means he was not legally insane, although that is yet to be determined by the jury.

As anyone who served on a jury knows, jurors are prohibited from discussing the case with anyone, including other jurors, during the trial. The phone call and the resulting discussion violated that rule and the rest, as they say, is history.

5 Responses to Judge disqualifies three jurors during James Holmes death penalty trial

  1. Malisha says:

    I’m sorry to go off-T but I should really share this:

    Families of graduates at Senatobia High were arrested for cheering for their children:

    Well, I live in the suburban area near Washington DC and today I went to the graduation of an accredited college near here that was giving degrees today (Associates, Continuing Education, Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D.) for Divinity, Ministry and Christian Education. Every single faculty member and every single graduate was African American (in a largely Black neighborhood). The “joyful noise” was thunderous. Everybody was friendly, cordial, delightful, intelligent, entertaining (the speeches were not even boring!) and the music was uplifting and fabulous. People cheered for each other cheering! There were only four white people in the entire filled auditorium; the ceremony lasted three-plus hours and the clapping and cheering did not stop. One graduate was physically handicapped and his travel across the stage was laborious and encouragement came from the audience in softer tones, without clapping, so as to not appear to rush him. I cannot imagine a more wonderful event.

    I wish we could capture the non-cheering families from that Mississippi graduation, transport them to this forum, and force them to become a part of a graduation like this, because it would show them (a) what it means to be delighted that we have opportunities for education; and (b) what the second amendment can look like; and, most of all, (c) hey, look at this, feel this, see what you’re missing?

    • Malisha says:

      OOPS. I made a mishtunk; I meant:

      (a) what it means to be delighted that we have opportunities for education; and (b) what the *FIRST* amendment can look like; and, most of all, (c) hey, look at this, feel this, see what you’re missing?

  2. Greg Beasley says:

    I’m still not buying the lone shooter scenario. There are too many witnesses that reported evidence of a second shooter. Do people even stop to ask difficult questions such as how a mentally ill college student not only obtained all of that equipment in his apartment, but had the expertise to booby trap the apartment to the point that it took experienced bomb squad officers hours to get in.

    The government (mainly the CIA) has a history of mind controlling disturbed individuals into doing their bidding while taking the fall in the end. The MK-ULTRA program was just the tip of the iceberg and I doubt the public has ever heard the truth regarding all of their psychological warfare programs.


  3. Malisha says:

    Wait — so I understand how 872 got dismissed for misconduct, but what happened to the other two who were dismissed?

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