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Jodi Arias Trial: 3rd Juror Excused

A third juror was excused from the Jodi Arias trial last week, immediately after prosecutors wrapped up their case against the alleged murderer.

Maricopa County Superior Court officials have not yet given a reason why Juror No. 8 was released, though he was apparently arrested by police in Gilbert, Arizona, last weekend, ABC News reports. Two other jurors have also been released, for showing bias and for health reasons.

The question remains whether any of the remaining 15 jurors will also be sent home before a verdict is reached.

More Than 12 Jurors Selected

When the Jodi Arias trial commenced, there was a pool of 18 jurors chosen to hear the case.

Many criminal courts begin hearing evidence with more than 12 jurors, as some are alternate jurors who can fill in if a regular juror has to be excused.

There have now been three jurors excused in the Arias case, leaving 15 jurors to hear the case. Ultimately, 12 jurors will be chosen at random to deliver a verdict.

For What Reasons Can a Juror Be Excused?

There are several reasons why a juror may be asked to leave, including:

  • Medical reasons. Courts try to determine whether medical issues will prevent jury service during jury selection, but often a juror will have unexpected medical problems that will cause them to be released even during a trial.
  • Evidence of bias. Defendants are entitled to an impartial jury of their peers. If a juror makes statements that confirm she is biased in the case, she may be excused from the jury.
  • Juror misconduct. Jurors are expected to abide by certain rules when they are selected, including not speaking to anyone about the case or reading about the case in the news. Not following those rules can lead to a juror being excused or even a mistrial.

Courts prefer that biased and misbehaving jurors are excused during the voir dire process, but like in the Jodi Arias trial, sometimes problem jurors fall through the cracks. Closing arguments in Arias' trial are set to begin later this week.

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