Robbery mistrial after jury member talks with father

The cornerstone of the criminal justice system is a fair trial. Everyone in Minnesota who is facing criminal charges should only be convicted on evidence presented at trial, not because the charges are disturbing or because a member of the jury has a “feeling” about the defendant. There are numerous rules and regulations about how members of the jury and other parties must act while a case is going on, and if someone doesn’t follow those rules, there is a risk that the trial will no longer be fair.

If a jury member can no longer be relied upon to make an unbiased decision, the case should be declared a mistrial.

For a young man accused of robbing a restaurant last year, the judge presiding over his trial declared a mistrial after the father of the employee who was working during the robbery admitted to giving a member of the jury a ride home. The father insists that they did not talk about the trial during the ride, but this clearly was not allowable. At risk that the jury member had been tampered with, the judge had little option but to cancel the trial and reschedule for a later date.

Although having a case declared a mistrial does not mean that the defendant is free to go, it does mean that he will have a better chance at a fair trial. Now he and his criminal defense attorney will only need to argue that prosecutors have not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he robbed and shot a restaurant worker.

Source:, “Victim’s father in Huntsville robbery/shooting gives juror a ride home, judge declares mistrial,” Nicole Emmett, Aug. 27, 2013

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Confidential informants may provide integral information to help build criminal investigations, but how reliable is that information when they are receiving payment for their services? To protect them, state law requires the identity of informants be kept confidential. For those facing criminal charges, however, this creates challenges in questioning the accuracy and validity of the information given at trial.
Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.
Expungement and sealing of records in Minnesota affect how your criminal history appears to government agencies and the public. The main difference between the two legal actions is that expungement permanently removes past arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from private and public databases, while sealing hides the criminal record from the public. Courts, government entities, and law enforcement agencies can access sealed criminal records.