this case in front of the highest court of the state? It was the
behavior of Superior Court Judge Hugh Mullin III during the jury
During this trial, the judge, the lawyers, and the jury all went
to visit the location of the alleged crime in Santa Clara. All
parties relevant to this case attended that outing. So far, so good.
At the end of the trial of the case, the jury began to deliberate, as
juries normally do. After four days of deliberations, the jurors sent
a note to the judge requesting a return visit to the location in
question as there were things the jurors wanted to review. This time,
Judge Mullin would not let the defense attorney attend.
His view was that since the jury was deliberating, it would not be
proper for the defense attorney to go to the scene with the jury.
In April of last year by a 2 to 1 vote, the First District Court
of Appeals held that Judge Mullin did not commit error with his
ruling. That lead to the State Supreme Court appeal.
In review of the arguments made by both sides and the questions
asked by the State Supreme Court justices, it appears as if Judge
Mullin's ruling is going to be reversed.
The defense attorney, Dennis Reardon, indicated that it was his
belief that an improper taking of evidence had occurred at a time at
which deliberations, not the further taking of evidence, was to take
Part of the problem was that Judge Mullin admitted that he did not
watch all of the jurors all of the time during this second visit.
In fact, Judge Mullin admitted he pretty much let the jurors do
whatever they wanted. One juror wanted to use a laser pointer to help
him determine the angle at which the bullets were shot. The judge
refused this request, however, he then suggested that the jurors make
or create "sight lines" instead. This suggestion by the judge
violates Penal Code Section 1138, which says that whenever there is a
question from the jury during the period of deliberations, the judge
must notify both attorneys of that question and obtain their feedback
before responding to it.
It also came to light that one of the jurors brought a yellow