03/18/92 State Utah V. Richard Chandler Thomas
Supreme Court Of Utah
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Defendant was tried for one count of rape and one count of aggravated kidnapping. The jury convicted him of rape but found him not guilty on the kidnapping charge. After his conviction, defendant moved for a new trial, based on allegations that two jurors, Salaz and Wall, had had experiences with crimes similar to those charged but had failed to indicate that fact during voir dire examination. Affidavits and posttrial testimony showed that juror Wall had once reported to police that her son was sexually assaulted by her husband and that juror Salaz had once been assaulted by a man who had hidden in her car. Defendant argued that the failure of two jurors to disclose their prior experiences deprived him of his constitutional right to an impartial jury and a fair trial. He alleged that other jurors used the fact of the nondisclosure during jury deliberations to coerce the two jurors into changing their votes from not guilty to guilty. The trial Judge refused to grant a posttrial evidentiary hearing and denied defendant's motion for a new trial. State v. Thomas, 777 P.2d 445, 447 (Utah 1989).