STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. RASHON BROWN
STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. MALIK Q. SMITH
In these consolidated appeals, defendants were tried together before the same jury and convicted of first degree carjacking and other related offenses. We reverse the jury's verdict because the trial judge failed to remove a deliberating juror who disclosed her racial bias to two of her fellow jurors and to the judge. Independent of this error, the trial judge also failed to take proper measures to determine whether the two other jurors harbored similar, latent racial biases.
Once a juror's latent or overt racial bias is discovered, the juror must be removed from the jury. Thereafter, the judge must conduct a comprehensive, fact-sensitive inquiry to determine whether the removed juror's odious beliefs are shared by any other member of the jury or has otherwise tainted the remaining jurors to such an extent that a mistrial is warranted.
Judge Ashrafi concurs.