The case against an African American man accused of committing manslaughter from behind the wheel of a car became subject to a mistrial Thursday after a Brooklyn juror insisted that she would not be complicit in putting a fellow African American person in jail.
“I don’t want to put a black man in jail,” the middle-aged woman, identified as Juror No. 3, told other jurors. “That’s crazy.”
The woman’s objections were detailed in a note to Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice that was penned after three days of intense deliberations, New York Daily News reported. The back-and-forth was so intense that two jurors complained about Juror No. 3 and another juror fainted.
The case in question stems from the December 2015 death of 30-year-old art curator Victoria Nicodemus, who was allegedly stricken by Marlon Sewell after he passed out from an exhaust leak and lost control of his vehicle. Sewell had a suspended license at the time of the incident, which also severely injured Nicodemus’s boyfriend, 37-year-old Gerald Toth, and another pedestrian, 75-year-old Ida Turner.
Multiple jurors in the case have claimed that Juror No. 3 made up her mind on how she would vote at the very beginning of the court proceedings.
“From day one of the trial she made comments like that, but we thought she’d change her mind once we received all the evidence,” a male juror said outside the Brooklyn Supreme Court. “But no, she refused to listen to anything and made comments like she wasn’t paying attention the whole trial.”
Judge Del Giudice agreed to grant a mistrial upon request from Sewell’s attorney due to the problems caused by the dissenting juror.
“I feel that based on the juror misconduct during the entire proceedings we cannot go forward with deliberations and I’m going to grant the defense’s application of a mistrial,” he said.