A juror was recently sentenced to five months and 29 days in jail after being convicted of criminal contempt. A Florida judge placed the blame for a mistrial in a high-profile manslaughter case on this particular juror, which led to criminal contempt charges and a conviction.
The juror is 70-year-old Dennis DeMartin. DeMartin’s lawyer argued that his client shouldn’t be required to serve a jail sentence due to health conditions. He pleaded for probation or community service as an alternative form of punishment, but to no avail. DeMartin’s lawyer also appealed the sentence, but it was upheld.
Local media coverage explained that the juror would likely only serve 120 days of his sentence in jail and the rest in home confinement.
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The judge who issued the sentence explained that he would not have ruled the way he did if he thought Mr. DeMartin didn’t know what he was doing. According to reports, DeMartin not only decided to self-publish a book containing the details of the trial, but he conducting a vodka-drinking experiment while the jury was deliberating.
The judge believed that it was exclusively DeMartin’s conduct which caused the mistrial.