When two jurors on Wednesday filed sworn affidavits retracting their verdicts on one count against the former juvenile court judge, the filing presents a novel question: should a judge wait to poll the jurors after the complete verdict is announced in open court, or can a judge poll them earlier?
Normally, a losing party requests that a jury be polled (is this your true verdict?) when a verdict is returned, and a judge is required to grant the request.
In Hunter’s case, the jury returned one verdict – guilty – on one count and Judge Nadel polled them after “sealing the verdict” and not reading the guilty verdict. They all said the one verdict was their verdict.
Four days later, after two more days of deliberations, the jury announced they were deadlocked on the other eight counts.
Judge Nadel then read the verdict from four days earlier-guilty- but refused the former judge’s request to have the jurors polled after Judge Nadel read that verdict in open court. Two jurors now say they changed their minds again before the full verdict was read in open court
There is no precedent in Ohio for this situation and, thus, the Hunter case-worthy of a nonfiction novel- now will be worthy of a precedent setting court decision. A political hot potato, for sure.
Respected retired Court of Appeals Judge Mark Painter remarked simply: “I am glad I am not still on the appellate court.”
For more information on the verdicts, read Kimball Perry’s article in The Cincinnati Enquirer.
The previous version of the blog misspelled precedent as decendent. Sorry for the error.