Jurors: Nondisclosure

Dery v. State, ___ So. 3d ___, 35 Fla. L. Weekly D1614 (Fla. 2d DCA 7/21/10)

The trial court abused its discretion by denying the defendant’s request to substitute an alternate for a sitting juror who, until the second day of trial, failed to disclose that she had received training in forensic science.  The information was relevant because most of the State’s evidence was based on forensic evidence, the information was concealed because the juror failed to respond to a question by the State whether any member of the venire panel had specific knowledge about DNA, the defendant did not fail to exercise due diligence because he was entitled to rely upon the juror’s lack of response to the State’s question, and the defendant was prejudiced because he was deprived of knowledge that would have enabled him to exercise a challenge for cause or a peremptory challenge.