Two jurors report hearing other juror making racist remarks.
A juror was dismissed from the Brock Strommen manslaughter trial by Judge Tamara Yon Thursday after two other jurors reported that the juor made racist comments in front of them. But Yon denied a motion by Strommen’s attorney, Kerry Rosenquist, for a mistrial.
According to Times Assistant Editor Jess Bengtson, who’s covering the trial, one juror reported hearing the racist comments to a bailiff. A second juror who said she also heard the comments was called into the courtroom Thursday to describe what she’d heard.
Rosenquist motioned for a mistrial, saying the entire jury had been tainted by the juror’s remarks. Just because jurors as part of their instructions are told to be fair and impartial, Rosenquist told Judge Yon that doesn’t mean they’re going to be fair and impartial. “I thought we were above that in this courtroom,” he said.
After one of the jurors who heard the racist remarks spoke in court Thursday, prosecutor Andrew Johnson asked for a few minutes to investigate. After court reconvened, Johnson said the matter had been addressed swiftly and in the appropriate manner.
In denying Rosenquist’s motion for a mistrial, Judge Yon said the jurors had been thoroughly vetted and that the juror had confessed to making the remarks and has been dismissed from the jury.
Going forward, one alternate juror remains.