United States v. Brown, No. 17-15470 (11th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a juror after the juror stated that the Holy Spirit had "told" him to return a certain verdict irrespective of what the evidence showed. The court found no abuse of discretion in the district court's decision to question Juror 13.
The court held that the district court did not clearly err when it found that Juror 13 was not capable of returning a verdict based on the evidence adduced at trial, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing Juror 13 after finding that he was not capable of reaching a verdict based on the evidence.
The court also held that Rule 606(b) of the Federal Rules of Evidence did not apply to the court's inquiry into Juror 13's statement. The court rejected defendant's claim that the district court violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the First Amendment, and the Sixth Amendment by excusing Juror 13. Finally, the court held that the district court did not plainly err in issuing the forfeiture order.