Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Mother’s Loud Wailing Isn’t Grounds for Mistrial

(CN) - A mother's loud wailing on the witness stand does not entitle the plaintiff to a new trial, a Florida appeals court ruled. The jury was "taken aback" by the emotional outburst, and the trial judge noted that "what went on was one of the strangest things I've been a part of."

Elaine Rinder called her mother as a witness to the injuries Rinder allegedly suffered in a car accident. Rinder's mother, who is in her eighties and deaf, had been in the car at the time of the accident.

"Through an interpreter for the deaf," the ruling states, "(Rinder's mother) explained that she looked over at her daughter and thought she was dead. At that point the mother let out a wail, and the judge ordered the bailiff to take the jury out of the courtroom." The cry was described as loud wailing.

When the jurors were brought back, the court told them to disregard the testimony and the outburst. They eventually found for the plaintiff, but awarded her less than requested.

The lower court denied the plaintiff's motion for a mistrial, saying the intensity alone wasn't grounds for new trial. The 4th District Court of Appeals agreed.

"The outburst startled the jurors and the court," Judge Warner wrote, "but it did not result in an excessively emotional reaction from the jurors or court personnel."

Categories / Uncategorized

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.