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Jurors Hold Position of High-Level Government Officials
Description Appeals court affirmed conviction of juror who solicited a bribe from defendants' families. He was convicted of violating his duty as a government official with "high-level" decision-making authority.
Topic Criminal Law
Key Words Bribery, Juror
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Snell sat on a federal court jury hearing a drug felony case. He told members of the defendants' families that he would deliver a "not guilty" verdict. He was paid $10,000. The rest of the jury voted to convict, and sensed something was wrong with Snell, who demanded "not guilty." When he went along with the guilty verdict, the families demanded the money back. Snell did not have it, and the families went to the FBI. Snell was convicted of a federal offense involving "payment for the purpose of influencing an elected official or any person holding a high-level decision-making or sensitive position." Snell appealed.
Decision Affirmed. "There can be no doubt that, as a juror, Snell was acting as a government 'official' for purposes [of the statute]." He could also be considered as holding a "high-level" position. "In view of the prominence of juries in our legal system, and of the extraordinary responsibility of every juror in preserving that system, we have little difficulty concluding that a juror, in the role assigned to him, shares a level of responsibility at least equal to a prosecuting attorney, agency administrator, or supervisory law enforcement officer."
Citation United States v. Snell, ---F.3d--- (1998 WL 495227, 5th Cir.)
152 F. 3d 345 (5th Cir., 1998)

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