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Appeals court upholds conviction despite wrong person serving on jury

Brass Milled Gavel By walknboston (Flickr: Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Brass Milled Gavel By walknboston (Flickr: Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

WAUKESHA, WI (WTAQ) - A state appeals court says a man cannot escape a criminal conviction in Walworth County, just because a person mistakenly served on the jury instead of his father with the same name.

33-year-old Jacob Turner of Oregon Illinois was found guilty of attempted strangulation, battery, and disorderly conduct back in 2011. And soon after that, Turner learned that one of the jurors heard the case by mistake, after the man assumed that a jury summons was for him instead of his dad with the identical name.

Because the older man had served on a jury in recent years, he and his son both assumed the summons was for the younger man.

Turner claimed that the younger juror’s presence violated his rights to due process and an impartial jury. But the Second District Appellate Court in Waukesha didn’t buy it.

The court noted that the trial judge met with both the juror and his father, and was convinced it was simply an honest mistake which had no impact on the man’s guilty verdict.