Court says conviction stands, despite tart-tongued jurors

DETROIT (AP) -- Jurors typically speak behind closed doors. So is it fair when two challenge a defense lawyer in open court?

A federal appeals court has refused to overturn the Detroit drug conviction of a man, even after a juror told the defense, "I don't want to hear that crap." Another said, "Don't insult my intelligence."

The comments came during closing arguments in the 2006 Wayne County Circuit Court trial of Antonio Tolbert, who was convicted and sentenced to at least 12 years in prison. He says comments by jurors violated his right to a fair trial.

But the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said last Thursday it finds no legal precedent supporting Tolbert. The U.S. Supreme Court has never prohibited a juror who speaks once from staying in a trial.

Published: Mon, May 23, 2011