United States v. DeJean, No. 19-30865 (5th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The Fifth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction of mail fraud and making false statements to a bank. In this case, defendant, as justice of the peace, exploited his position to steal thousands of dollars in public funds, which he used for casino gambling. The court rejected defendant's challenge to the district court's decision to seat a juror who, defendant claims, was biased against gamblers. Rather, the court deferred to the district court's broad discretion in assessing the juror's impartiality. In this case, the juror's negative views about gambling implicate nothing like the kind of structural bias against all criminal defendants. Furthermore, the district court affirmatively found the juror's views on gambling (unlike other jurors who were dismissed for cause on that ground) would not prevent her from being impartial.