If you are being tried in a jury court after receiving criminal charges, you probably know that, like other North Dakota residents, you have the right to a fair trial. There are, however, some factors that may negatively affect your case. Jury tampering is one of these.

What exactly is jury tampering? According to the Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute, tampering with the jury may include actions or information that can affect a jury’s unbiased judgment during your trial. This could result in jurors having a poor opinion of you regardless of the facts and evidence presented in your trial.

Jury tampering may occur either intentionally or accidentally. For example, purposeful jury tampering could happen if someone approached a juror outside the courtroom and offered money or other favors to sway his or her opinion. A juror might also be threatened or coerced into an unfair bias.

By law, jurors are not allowed to speak about your case with others outside the courtroom. This is one common way that the integrity of a trial might be accidentally compromised – jurors may discuss your case with friends or family members without realizing this is not permitted, and thus be exposed to their opinions. A juror might also mistakenly overhear the judge or attorneys talking about the case outside of court, which may include details that are being left out of the trial.

If jury members are influenced to make a decision by means of deception, bribery, threats or a mistake, your trial may be thrown out and a retrial conducted. The points discussed in this blog are meant to give you an idea of the potential consequences of jury tampering, but should not be taken as legal advice.