Defendant’s Waiver of 12-Person Jury Upheld
The First Department determined defendant had validly waived his right to be tried in front of a 12-person jury. During defendant’s trial, after the court had been closed for several days due to Hurricane Sandy, one of the jurors informed the court he was leaving town. The defendant, against the advice of his lawyer, was insistent that he wanted the trial to continue with 11 jurors:
The court noted on the record that the excused juror had informed the court that he had a flight scheduled for that day, and that the court had called the juror that morning but could not reach him. Defense counsel objected to the court’s discharge of the juror without first consulting with counsel. Counsel informed the court that, against her advice, defendant wanted deliberations to continue with the remaining 11 jurors. Defense counsel stated that she had told defendant “a number of times that I do not think we should go forward with 11,” but defendant was “extremely insistent,” was “tired of this process,” and did “not want to retry the case.” The court confirmed with defendant on the record that he wanted to continue with 11 jurors, and defendant executed a written waiver of a 12-person jury. Defense counsel also signed the written waiver.
Although the court should have given defense counsel an opportunity to be heard before it excused the juror (see CPL 270.35[b]), defendant entered a knowing, voluntary, and intelligent waiver of his right to a 12-person jury … . Defense counsel stated that she had discussed with defendant the possibility of a retrial, and that defendant rejected that option … . The court questioned defendant on the record and confirmed that he had discussed his decision with counsel, and that he understood but rejected counsel’s advice. As defense counsel stated, defendant was insistent that deliberations continue with an 11-person jury. Defendant “must accept the decision he knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently made” … . People v Perry, 2015 NY Slip Op 05394, 1st Dept 6-23-15