A Vista man convicted of multiple rapes is requesting a new trial, most likely based upon “juror misconduct,” his attorney said in court today.
Deputy Public Defender Matthew Roberts spoke on behalf of Jeremy Ryan Stutzman, the defendant who was found guilty of sexual assault and kidnap and a dozen other felonies in April. The attack on his two young female neighbors, aged 19 and 20, occurred in May of 2011. Stutzman, now 34, had previously been convicted of a similar sexual assault in 2000 and already spent ten years in prison for those crimes.
Soon after the jury began deliberating on the most recent case, on April 5 2012, notes started coming out of the jury room to the judge, stating that one of the jurors was “not willing to deliberate.”
After the judge encouraged the jurors to continue on for about a full day, in spite of notes from four different jurors, Juror Number Three was eventually called into the courtroom.
Superior Court Judge Richard Mills and the attorneys for both defense and prosecution carefully questioned the male juror. That juror was clear that he was not “willing to deliberate any further on this case” and “I’d rather discontinue, yes sir.”
All parties agreed at that time that the juror would be dismissed. Another male juror, an alternate, replaced Juror Number Three and the new jury came to unanimous verdicts after a full day of deliberations.
Defense attorney Roberts has said he will file paperwork asking Judge Mills to unseal information about the empanelled jury, and he expects to call the dismissed juror back into the courthouse as a witness in a future hearing.