Officer Karl Thompson was found guilty of both charges pressed by federal authorities and now we have a new twist.
In today's Spokesman Review we have a report that Thompson's attorney, Carl Oreskovich, claims he witnessed jurors watching TV reports of the trial while it was under way and now wants a new trial because of the juror misconduct.
Thompson, defense attorneys and even [Judge] Van Sickle all stayed in the Oxford Suites hotel in Yakima, along with five of the 12 jurors selected from the south-central portion of the state. At certain times, members of all those groups mingled for morning breakfast in a common area that had at least two televisions showing various news updates on Northwest Cable News.
“We believe, based on our own observations, that jurors were exposed to inflammatory information” from television coverage of the trial, Oreskovich said. Trial coverage was “frequently piped in, including information from the trial of Officer Thompson and the beating death of a mentally-ill janitor.”
I find it troubling that an attorney who saw jurors watching news reports of the trial they were on would fail to report until after the verdict was rendered. I wonder if this could affect that attorney's professional standing.
The American Bar Association Rule 8.4 concerning attorney misconduct and maintaining the integrity of the profession states:
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:
(d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice;
Is not reporting observed juror misbehavior at the time it took place prejudicial to the administration of justice? If such misconduct violated the judge's instructions or could possibly taint the jury, shouldn't it have been reported immediately so the judge could make a determination during the trial? One of the reasons for having alternate jurors is to allow the trial to continue in case jurors have an emergency or are dismissed. There were three alternate jurors at this trial. Is reporting the misconduct after an adverse verdict is delivered prejudicial to the administration of justice?