California v. BartonAnnotate this Case
Jeffrey Barton was convicted by jury on five counts of forcible oral copulation, and one count of forcible sodomy. The jury reached its verdict only after the trial court discharged a holdout juror (Juror No. 12), after it found she was refusing to deliberate. Thereafter, the trial court sentenced Barton to a prison term of 48 years. Barton appealed, contending, inter alia, the trial court abused its discretion by discharging Juror No. 12 on the basis that she was refusing to deliberate. Barton contended the other jurors’ testimony demonstrated only that Juror No. 12 disagreed with the other jurors, who found her to be unfriendly and unable to offer persuasive explanations for her opinion, not that she was unable or unwilling to deliberate. To this, the Court of Appeal agreed: under the heightened standard of review that applies to a trial court’s decision to discharge a holdout juror for refusing to deliberate, the Court concluded the trial court’s decision to discharge Juror No. 12 was not manifestly supported by evidence. Accordingly, the Court did not address Barton’s other contentions on appeal, other than his challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, and reversed the judgment.