On Thursday, a juror in a vehicular manslaughter case caused a mistrial because she was overheard saying that she didn’t want to “send a Black man to jail.”
In the case of Marlon Sewell, who crashed his car into an art curator and killed her, Juror 8 overheard Juror 3 muttering, “I won’t send a black man to jail, that’s crazy.” However, Juror 8 didn’t say anything until the trial had been going on for three weeks, because she assumed the other woman would keep an open mind and would eventually change her position.
Other jurors had been considering conviction, but Juror 3 “had her mind made up, and wasn’t open to hearing anything else.”
“I’ve never seen a note like this,” Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Vincent DelGiudice said Thursday before he dismissed the jurors. “Where one juror is racially biased in favor of the defendant.”
Eventually, Juror 8 ended up being hospitalized after suffering a panic attack over the case, claimingthat Juror 3 had “persecuted” her.
“This person was just creating so much conflict in this room,” Juror 8 said. “I couldn’t take it, I fainted. And started trembling and crying.”
Sewell faces up to 15 years in prison if he is convicted. He was driving with a suspended license at the time of the crash, which prosecutors allege could have been avoided if he had paid attention to a gas leak, though Sewell claimed there was no evidence to tell him there was a leak.