No Mistrial After Jury’s Inadvertent Consideration of EvidenceCriminal Law
Commonwealth v. Blanchard, No. 14-P-645 (Mass. App. Ct. Nov. 12, 2015)
Opinion digest provided by Elma Delic
The Massachusetts Appeals Court addressed whether the Superior Court erred in denying a motion for mistrial after the jury had inadvertently reviewed a binder containing evidence that had not been admitted during the trial. After the trial judge conducted a voir dire examination of the jury, during which each juror confirmed he or she could disregard the contents of the binder for the deliberation, the trial judge impounded the initial jury slips and issued new ones. Reasoning the trial judge had sufficiently ascertained whether the jury could reach a verdict based on only the admissible evidence in making its findings, the Court upheld denial of the defendant’s motion for mistrial.