Suspended Lawyer Lied About Troubled Past to Serve on Jury
A suspended lawyer lied about her educational and criminal background in order to serve on a jury, and it could result in a new trial.
Catherine Conrad of Bronx, N.Y., had to be hauled into court by marshals after she failed to show up at a hearing about the new trial request, the New York Daily News reports. Conrad was arrested in connection with defying a subpoena.
When Conrad finally testified at the hearing -- under an immunity deal that means she won't be prosecuted -- she admitted to lying during the jury-selection process in a 2011 tax-fraud case. But then prosecutors raised another question: whether defense lawyers should have said something earlier.
Conrad admitted on the stand she omitted her criminal record, her law degree, and that her law license was suspended due to problems with alcoholism, The Wall Street Journal reports. Conrad lied to get on a jury that convicted four men of tax fraud.
But attorneys for the convicted men likely knew about Conrad's deception when the jury began to deliberate, prosecutors assert, according to The New York Law Journal.
Conrad's lies began to unravel when she wrote a note to the judge asking about legal terms like respondeat superior and vicarious liability, which non-lawyers generally don't use. A lawyer on the defense team researched Conrad's name, and suspected it matched that of a suspended attorney.
But as jury deliberations continued, the defense lawyer did not make her suspicions known to the court. A judge is set to weigh that factor, along with Conrad's admitted deceit, in considering whether to grant a new trial.
As for Catherine Conrad's motive in lying to get on a jury, she claims she missed the dynamics of the courtroom, reports the New York Law Journal. By lying, "I thought I would seem more juror-marketable," Conrad said, according to the Daily News.
- Suspended Lawyer Is Hauled into Court, Admits She Lied About Legal Past to Get on Jury (ABA Journal)
- Voir Dire 101 Online Course (FindLaw)
- Jury Consultants - Legal Services Market Center (FindLaw)
- Jury Selection iPad Apps Take Voir Dire to a New Level (FindLaw's Technologist)
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