What is Jury Tampering?

  • Jury tampering is the intentional effort to influence the outcome of a juror’s opinion, vote or decision by unlawfully communicating with the juror in either a direct or indirect manner, outside the scope of legally permitted courtroom procedure.
  • Courtroom procedure includes courtroom argument and legally introduced evidence

Jury Tampering and Procedure:

  • Jury tampering ultimately involves attempting to communicate with one or more jurors in an effort to sway the outcome or decision of the case
  • Courtroom procedure must be followed and strictly adhered to. When procedure is intentionally skirted in such a manner as to influence or attempt to influence a juror, an unfair advantage results
  • Evidence must be presented in accordance with the rules of evidence and procedure
  • Information and evidence must be revealed to all members of the jury equally and in the same manner

Louisiana Jury Tampering Law:

Jury tampering is any verbal or written communication or attempted communication, whether direct or indirect, made to any juror in a civil or criminal cause, including both grand and petit jurors, for the purpose of influencing the juror in respect to his verdict or indictment in any cause pending or about to be brought before him, otherwise than in the regular course of proceedings upon the trial or other determination of such cause.

To constitute the offense of jury tampering, the influencing or attempt to influence must be either:

  • A. For a corrupt or fraudulent purpose, or
  • B. By violence or force, by threats whether direct or indirect

What is the Penalty for Jury Tampering?

Penalties for Jury Tampering:

  • Penalties vary according to jurisdiction
  • In Louisiana:
  • Civil case: $5,000 maximum, and/or
  • Prison: 5 years, maximum
  • Criminal case:
  • Punishable by fine or prison to the same extent as the defendant
  • If a death penalty case or life in prison: 99 years hard labor

Federal Jury Tampering Penalties:

  • Conspiracy to obstruct the due administration of justice:
  • Penalty: 5 years prison, maximum
  • Fine: $250,000 maximum
  • Obstructing the due administration of justice:
  • Prison: 20 years maximum, plus fine

NY Laws for Bribing A Juror

New York - Bribing a Juror:

  • Extreme cases of jury tampering include bribing jurors:
  • S 215.19: “A person is guilty of bribing a juror when he confers, or offers or agrees to confer, any benefit upon a juror upon an agreement or understanding that such juror’s vote, opinion, judgment, decision or other action as a juror will thereby be influenced.”
  • Bribing a juror: Class D felony
  • Prison: 5 years, maximum
  • Fine: $500 - $7500

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Michael S. Berg
Attorney At Law