Man convicted by Truckee jury of making lewd acts toward a child, seeks new trial
July 24, 2017
Robert Lewis Taylor, convicted by a Truckee jury of making lewd acts against a child, argues in court documents that juror misconduct in his case merits a new trial.
Taylor, 52, states that one juror, who said she’d been molested as a child, improperly discussed her personal experiences during deliberations. That conversation crossed a legal line, turned that juror into a perceived “quasi-expert” on molestation and prejudiced the jury by providing information it didn’t hear in testimony, Taylor’s motion states.
Prosecutors argue in their own court filings that the juror’s statements reflect her personal opinions and fail to rise to the level of misconduct. Additionally, they say the judge should find that Taylor’s arguments, because of their source, are inadmissible in court.
A Truckee judge is scheduled Aug. 1 to hear from attorneys in the case.
Taylor’s arguments hinge on a separate juror who approached defense attorneys after the May trial and shared her concerns.
The juror who approached defense attorneys said that the other female juror “‘Was adamant from the beginning about the defendant’s guilt’ and that ‘it seemed to me, and this is very subjective, that it was the person that hurt her that was on trial and not the actual defendant that was on trial, in her mind,'” Taylor’s argument states.
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According to Taylor’s filing, the other female juror tainted the jury by discussing her own molestation as a child. She had jurors “riveted” when talking about her abuse and the similarities between Taylor and her own abuser.
“‘Everybody on the jury seemed to give her a lot more credibility and weight regarding the character and behavior of a molester and experience of their victim,'” the filing states.
That juror’s transition into a molestation expert and her presentation of information outside of the courtroom means Taylor failed to receive a fair trial, he argues.
Prosecutors argue that the juror who approached defense attorneys didn’t show that the other female juror was prejudiced against Taylor. That other woman didn’t call herself an expert on molestation, but instead shared a personal story.
“In this case, (the juror’s) statements regarding the behavior of a child molester, and her own personal opinions as to the behavior of a child molester, are based on the evidence presented at trial,” prosecutors write, adding later: “… her statements were nothing more than her interpretation of the evidence, viewed through the lens of her own personal experience.”
Prosecutors also argue that the concerns about the other female juror are inadmissible in court because they speculate about someone’s mental processes.
Additionally, prosecutors point to Taylor’s split verdict: six convictions, one acquittal and no decision on five other charges.
“Such an outcome and time frame is indicative of a jury who worked together and undertook their duties with the diligence worthy of such serious matters,” they say.