Juror misconduct alleged in high-profile drug trial - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Juror misconduct alleged in high-profile drug trial

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - Two jurors who sat on one of the island's largest drug trafficking jury trials have been accused of jury misconduct.  The defense contends the misconduct warrants a new trial.

Mateo Sardoma Jr, Maria Edrosa, and Rudy Sablan may have been convicted of numerous drug trafficking offenses in federal court but defense attorneys argue the defendants were not given a fair trial because of Facebook posts and communication with a female inmate. According to court documents, the two jurors violated the court's instructions during the course of the trial. The defense argues that Juror #1 was not only biased but untruthful and engaged in misconduct.  

One day before filling out the juror questionnaire, the juror posted on her personal Facebook page, "jury duty why in the world would the district court of choose me to be apart of jury duty. Oh boy! So not looking forward for tomorrow. Your guilty son. Lmao" [sic]

It's alleged that the juror was untruthful by failing to disclose that her friend worked at the U.S. Attorney's Office. Court documents also spell out how even during the course of the trial, the woman communicated with her fellow jurors on Facebook.

On October 25 when jury deliberations began. Juror #7 posted on her Facebook "Sh*t just got real."  Three days later, three jurors posted the following:

  • Juror #7: in just a matter of days it'll be back to reality.
  • Juror #9: Cant' we just extend til Thanksgiving? I want leftovers
  • Juror #7: LMAO! Sure no problem. I'll just start choosing the opposite response.
  • Juror #9: Yes! I'm there with you lol.

And on October 29 despite being told to remain silent and not yet discharged from her duties, Juror #7 posted her feelings about the verdict.  An evidentiary hearing is scheduled for March 18 for Juror #7.

But the defense expects to spend considerably more time on March 19 with Juror #1 who not only allegedly acted inappropriately as a juror, but was caught on tape speaking about the case with a female inmate who resides in the same block as Edrosa.  He is accused of receiving extraneous prejudicial evidence about two of the witnesses in the trial and discussing in detail jury deliberations with the inmate after the verdict.  According to Pay-Tel phone records at the Department of Corrections, the juror and the femle inmate spoke in length about the trial and evidence that was presented. In fact after seeing one pound of crystal methamphetamine during the trial, the juror admitted that he went and purchased a plate of the drug ice.  On five different occasions, the juror spoke with the female inmate about the case disclosing witnesses' testimony.

On October 18, 2013 Pay-Tel records show that the Juror says: "I don't think the Government has sh*t on them even though I think they're guilty."

"Shoddy police work."

And on October 23, the juror asks questions about two of the witnesses getting details about "doing the right thing" and understanding police procedures for arresting and releasing people.

The defense also indicates that Juror #1 never disclose his past or present involvement in crystal meth.

The defense intends to get more details of the alleged misconduct during evidentiary hearings scheduled for next month.

Following the evidentiary hearing, the defense may pursue the motion for a new trial.

Of note is that the federal government meanwhile is seeking a $2.6 million money judgment from Sardoma - claiming that money is proceeds from Sardoma's drug enterprise.

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