Eddlem or Bedlam: Boston Judge Tosses Juror Over Questions to the Court

Federal District Court Judge William G. Young is someone who has handled a lot of juries and a lot a questions from jurors. However, he insists that he has never encountered the likes of Thomas R. Eddlem, who started asking about basic questions of federal authority. As a former John Birch Society member, Eddlem had serious questions about the right to tell people what they could possess, including cocaine. Young kicked him off the jury because he suspected a jury nullification problem in the making.

After only an hour in the deliberations, Eddlem asked his first question: where, given the fact that it took an amendment to prohibit possession of alcohol, “is the constitutional grant of authority to ban mere possession of cocaine today?”

The 42-year-old technology coordinator at a Catholic high school then followed with other questions, until Young tossed him and reconstituted jury. The jury then Robert C. Luisi, a reputed Mafia lieutenant, of three cocaine-related charges.

It is an interesting question itself (not asked by Eddlem): can a judge strike a juror on the fear that he will engage in nullification because he asks such questions. Eddlem insists that he rejects jury nullification and was prepared to vote with the law as explained by the court. It could make for an intriguing appeal.

For the full story, click here.

4 thoughts on “Eddlem or Bedlam: Boston Judge Tosses Juror Over Questions to the Court”

  1. rafflaw:

    It smacks of judicial prejudgment of the case, since the juror asked questions that, while troubling for the prosecution, were respectful, thoughtful, and worthy of reply.

  2. The questions that he asked were ones that do go to the question of whether he could be impartial, but I think the judge was premature in tossing him.

  3. Wonder if the juror has standing to sue the Judge for violating his first and 14th amendment amendment rights?

  4. I think it raises Constitutional concerns since we now know after Batson v. Kentucky and progeny that jurors too have the right to serve if they can be impartial regardless of race or gender.

Comments are closed.