One juror in a Texas murder trial is in hot water after making contact with a defense attorney via Facebook.
The juror was to decide the fate of George Garza. Garza is facing charges of capital murder for allegedly beating Susan Rousseau to death with a baseball bat inside her mobile home in 2005. One person is already behind bars in the case. Corina Lopez was sentenced to life in prison for her involvement in the murder.
During Lopez’s trial, prosecutors presented evidence of threatening letters sent by Lopez to the victim. The letters concerned allegations of infidelity between the victim and Lopez’s husband.
A police official also testified against Lopez. The official stated Lopez made several calls, claiming to be an anonymous caller, blaming a person named Ricky Zangora, for the murder. Lopez was questioned following the murder, but was not charged until after George Garza’s arrest.
Garza is currently on trial for his involvement in the murder.
The Juror and the Facebook Message
During Garza’s trial, one juror violated a no contact rule between jurors and anyone involved in the case. The female juror, whose identity is unknown, contacted Defense Attorney Marc Gonzales through Facebook. Gonzales said the woman sent him a friend request and a message asking if he was single.
The judge presiding over the case was not pleased by the juror’s actions. Judge Angelica Hernandez stated to the juror during the proceedings, “It is your belief that in sending a private message to Mr. Gonzales—one of the attorney’s in this case about whether or not he was single that was not violating this instruction?”
The juror claims she was just trying to see if she knew Gonzales, but the judge did not seem to buy her excuse. The juror in violation of the rules was asked to leave. An alternate juror replaced the excused juror.
If you were convicted of a crime by a jury and feel you were not given a fair trial it is important that you contact a South Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. Jurors in South Carolina are given strict guidelines issued by a judge that they must abide by. If a juror violates of these guidelines, they are subject to removal from jury duty. Many times, violations may occur without a judge knowing. If you feel a jury was in violation of guidelines set forth during your trial, it is important that you contact a South Carolina Criminal Defense attorney right away. Following a conviction, you only have short time to file an appeal. In federal court, an appeal must be filed within 10 days.
A South Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney at the Strom Law Firm can assist you in filing an appeal. Call us today for a free consultation. 803.252.4800.