Azucena v. StateAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of multiple sex offenses against children and related offenses, holding that the trial judge's behavior and statements during voir dire constituted judicial misconduct and that the misconduct interfered with Defendant's right to an impartial jury.
During the second day of voir dire in this case, a prospective juror stated that she did not think she could be unbiased toward Defendant. Thereafter, the trial judge threw a book against the wall, cursed, and berated, yelled at, and threatened that prospective juror. After a trial, the jury returned guilty verdicts on most of the counts with which Defendant was charged. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court's misconduct during voir dire and the denial of his request for a new venire violated his right to a fair trial by an impartial jury. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the judicial misconduct in this case deprived Defendant of his constitutional right to a fair trial before an impartial jury.