CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – Three jurors have been dismissed from the jury of the theater shooting trial for misconduct.
Problems involving the jury surfaced in Arapahoe County Court on Tuesday.
Juror 673 told the judge that she and others had been exposed to information about the case from outside the courtroom, which is not allowed.
Juror 673 sent the judge a note indicating that another member of the panel said she heard about something on Facebook about a request for a mistrial and an attorney’s tweet about the case.
The judge then asked the witness on the stand, who was preparing to testify on Tuesday morning, to step down.
The juror (673) who sent the judge the note was called into the courtroom to be questioned about that note.
She told Judge Carlos Samour, Jr. there were two occasions in the juror assembly room during breaks from the courtroom when this other juror (872) made remarks about information that was not presented in court.
“She had said that one of the attorneys had posted onto Twitter that, ‘Did you see that part? I hope the jury saw that part of the video,'” Juror 673 told Samour.
“That the juror sitting in seat number nine, juror number 872, appears to have violated one if not more of my advisements. I’m also concerned to some extent, that jurors 495 and 412 didn’t say anything about it. It appears that they heard something and didn’t say anything. That’s concerning as well,” said Samour.
Those three jurors were all dismissed from the trial. Other jurors were also questioned but were allowed to continue in the trial. A total of 21 jurors and alternates remain.
The first juror (872) who was dismissed told the judge she got a call from her husband during lunch last week and the phone was on speaker. She said her husband asked her about a tweet by District Attorney George Brauchler while another juror was present.
“He asked me if I knew who the lawyer was, and I said, ‘No, why?’ And he was like, ‘Well, that idiot is tweeting on Facebook,’ ” Juror 872 told Samour.
Juror 872 told the judge she didn’t report the incident because “I just really don’t pay attention to my husband most of the time. So it wasn’t really important, at that time.”
Brauchler was reprimanded last week for tweeting about the case during proceedings, according to the Associated Press.
Court proceedings were put on hold for more than an hour while the jurors were questioned by the judge.
The juror (872) who reportedly made the remarks is a woman in her 30s and a mother of three. She apparently started crying during jury selection when she heard about a child who was killed in the shooting.
“Anytime we have potential juror misconduct in any type of case it’s serious. The judge is concerned, the lawyers are concerned about the integrity of the trial, the integrity of the process ensuring that jurors are only making decisions based upon evidence that comes from the witness stand, evidence that’s admitted,” CBS4 Legal Analyst Karen Steinhauser said.
Steinhauser said the worst-case scenario was that the judge could have ordered a mistrial and the whole proceeding would have had to start over again from the beginning.
The gunman, James Holmes, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the shooting that left 12 dead and dozens of others injured in the July 2012 shooting.