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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

No New Ford Trial Based on Drunken Juror Theory

(CN) - A Florida woman is not entitled to a new trial in a rollover-crash case against Ford because one of the jurors allegedly "smelled like a batch of beer," a Florida appeals court ruled.

Marisol Alonso asked for the new trial in the case of a fatal car accident, as the personal representative of the estate of original plaintiff Kristine Fernandez.

Alonso complained that jury misconduct tainted the verdict for Ford. She claimed that certain members of the jury had deliberated prematurely, that another went along with the verdict to avoid "having a stress-induced stroke caused by his severe hypertension," and that still another juror was drunk during the trial and "smelled like a batch of beer."

A three-judge panel for Florida's third appellate district in Miami affirmed the ruling in Ford's favor.

Writing for the court, Judge Vance Salter noted that nobody saw the juror drinking, the juror did not admit to drinking, and the bailiff did not see any impairment on the part of the juror.

"When [another juror's] allegations were brought to the trial court's attention, the trial court allowed a careful and conscientious inquiry into the facts, balancing the appellant's right to have her case considered by unimpaired jurors against the juror's rights to deliberate in privacy and without subsequent second-guessing," Salter wrote.

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