In a remarkable development, a white juror in a racially controversial murder case has gone public with a claim that he felt pressured by the judge and fellow jurors to convict John White, a black man found guily of killing a white teen, Daniel Cicciaro. It is a claim that is likely to produce more of a political and social response than a legal response. If the juror, Francois Larche, yielded to such pressure he failed to uphold his oath and will have little recourse in trying to take back his vote.
Just last week, the jury rejected the claim of White that he was acting in self-defense when he shot the teen in the face. White could receive as much as 15 years for the crime after the jury came in with a guilty verdict after four days of deliberation. In his testimony, White raised the racial fears that he experienced growing up and hearing about how the Kl Klux Klan burned his grandfather’s home. He said that the teens had followed his son home from a party and that his son told him that they were shouting racial epithets. White said that he was pointed the gun at Cicciaro when it went off accidentally. The confrontation between the boys began with an internet hoax where a MySpace entry said White son, Aaron, wanted to rape a neighborhood girl.
For the story on the White case, click here
Larche claims that he and another juror changed their votes after enduring “a lot of psychological tactics” from fellow jurors during an unusual weekend session ordered by the judge over jurors’ protests. He cited both pressure from the judge and a 12-hour session as wearing him down.
It is not uncommon for jurors to experience such morning after regrets. In some cases, true appealable issues can arise when there is evidence of tampering with or influencing of jurors. However, the claim by Larche that he got “heat” from jurors is not grounds for such a challenge.
For the Larche story, click here