May 3, 2019
N.E.3d 138] Jury and Jurors . Practice,
Criminal, New trial, Jury and jurors.
INDICTMENT found and returned in the Superior Court
Department on September 19, 2014. The case was tried before
Richard J. Chin, J., and a motion for a new trial, filed on
June 13, 2017, was heard by him.
Garland, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.
Mac Veety for the defendant.
Rubin, Desmond, & Ditkoff, JJ.
day after a jury convicted the defendant of manslaughter and
acquitted him of assault and battery, the prosecutor from the
Plymouth County district attorney’s office who tried the case
discovered that one of the jurors who deliberated on the case
had, prior to the start of the trial, accepted an unpaid
clerical internship with that district attorney’s office,
which was to begin one week after the trial concluded. The
prosecutor made the discovery after [132 N.E.3d 139] trial
when she sent a text message to the juror’s father, a police
officer with whom she had worked in the past. The text
message said, "Your daughter was on my jury. I hope she
enjoyed the experience!" The juror’s father replied,
"Yes she had a great experience. She is also doing an
internship Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the DAs main office
starting next week. You can talk to her about the case. Very
Commendably and appropriately, the prosecutor, upon learning
this information from the father’s text message, immediately
counsel for the defendant, who, alleging the juror was
biased, moved for a new trial. The judge held an evidentiary
hearing and allowed the defendant’s motion. The Commonwealth
following facts are taken from the judge’s findings
supplemented by the uncontested evidence. See
Commonwealth v. Buck, 64 Mass.App.Ct. 760, 761, 835
N.E.2d 623 (2005). Juror no. 45 (the juror) was considering a
career in law enforcement. In a juror questionnaire she
reported that she was a part-time student, a sophomore in
college. Prior to the defendant’s trial, on April 23, 2017,
she applied online to the Plymouth County district attorney’s
office for a summer internship. The internship was part of
the office’s "Volunteer Undergraduate Internship
Program" and ran from May 30 through August 4. The
internship was seven-and-one-half hours per day, two days per
week. The juror was interested in the justice system and
viewed the internship as an experience to put on her resume
and an opportunity to obtain future references. On May 4,
2017, she received an e-mail from the district attorney’s
office offering her the internship. She accepted the offer on
May 5, 2017. The trial began ten days later, on May 15, 2017,
and ended on May 23, 2017, one week before the juror was to
start her internship.
voir dire, all prospective jurors completed a confidential
questionnaire that asked, among other things, "Have you
or anyone in your household or family ever worked for ... [a]
[l]aw enforcement agency?" In the judge’s new trial
memorandum, he reported that "[d]uring impanelment, this
Court struck for cause several jurors who appeared biased
based on present or previous employment in law enforcement.
For example, this Court struck an attorney who previously was