ABA Journal June 2010: A Washington, D.C.-area judge has granted a mistrial in an attempted murder case after a juror argued with the judge, telling him he couldn’t be forced to deliberate. The juror, Uros Novakovski, was forced, however, to go to jail. He spent 24 hours there on a contempt of court charge until someone posted his $5,000 bail, according to the Washington Post’s Crime Scene blog.
Judge Michael Algeo of Montgomery County, Md., said the case had been tainted because of Novakovski’s conduct. „It gives new definition to a renegade juror,“ he said.
Novakovski first talked back after Algeo brought deliberating jurors into the courtroom and urged them to reach consensus, the story says. He then told them to go back to the jury room, but Novakovski objected, saying the judge couldn’t force him back there. Novakovski then appeared to oblige, but walked back into the courtroom and started going through a bag, even as other jurors continued their deliberations. He refused Algeo’s order to return to deliberations, the judge later told lawyers in the case.
Before he was taken to jail, Novakovski said he was looking for granola bars, sugar and water in the bag. „Maybe my sugar is very high or very low—then I don’t act quite normally,” he told the judge. “I guess this is serious. Please forgive me.“