November 24, 2014
HOUSTON (AP) - Usually, the trouble is not finding enough
jurors. In Harris County, it was one too many.
State District Judge Mark Kent Ellis had to declare a mistrial
Tuesday in a murder trial after an extra juror was allowed to
Criminal juries must have only 12 members. Ellis said the 13th
juror would be considered outside influence even though she sat
through all of the testimony.
"In 23 years I've never seen anything like this," Ellis said.
"The jurors all seemed pretty upset, but there's no way to unring
The judge blamed a substitute bailiff.
"I told him I never want to see him in my courtroom again,"
Juror Paula Harlan said the extra juror tried to leave, but the
bailiff said she needed to complete paperwork that was never
brought to her.
"It was a weird deal," Harlan said.