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Juror Misconduct: Don't Ask for a Cut of Potential Verdict

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on May 20, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

We can all learn from other people's mistakes. And it turns out back alley courtroom dealings don't just happen in movies. Deonarine Persaud, 53, was recently arrested on felony bribery charges and for juror misconduct in New York.

Persaud was serving as a juror in a civil case. The plaintiff in the case, Bridget Wigand, had brought a medical malpractice suit against her physician. The case was later declared a mistrial, reports CBS-2.

Persaud contacted Wigand's parents, telling them that he had important information about their daughter's case. Wigand's father met with Persaud, who told him that he would help sway other jurors to his daughter's side if he was paid a "fee." Wigand's father recognized him as a juror, and then called his attorney.

According to Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice, Persaud had demanded a 5% cut of the settlement, reports CBS-2.

Persaud was arrested shortly after he reported to court for jury duty, reports the Long Island Press. He was charged with felony bribe receiving and juror misconduct, a misdemeanor.

He faces up to 7 years in jail if found guilty, reports the Long Island Press.

For Wigand, her medical malpractice suit will have to be tried again. The judge called a mistrial on the lawsuit, reports CBS-2.

Under most state law, bribery is a crime whether you receive or accept a bribe. Under New York law, there is a separate statute for felony bribe receiving of a juror. This law makes it illegal for a juror to solicit, or accept or agree to accept a benefit from another person "upon an agreement or understanding that his vote, opinion, judgment, decision or other action as a juror will thereby be influenced."

Deonarine Persaud, as a juror, clearly seems to have violated this statute. And, he has almost certainly committed juror misconduct. Instead of sitting on a jury for someone else's case, he may have to sift through potential jury selection with his defense attorney on his own case.

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