Sandra L. Jacobson Case Summary

500 Words 2 Pages
In the court case The People of the State of Colorado v. Sandra L. Jacobson, Jacobson is convicted of homicide. The homicide resulted from her truck colliding with a taxi cab while she was driving under the influence. There were two passengers in the taxi at the time of the collision and both were killed. Jacobson appealed the court’s decision on the basis that the trial court did not allow her attorneys to gauge whether or not the jury had become biased due to mid-trial publicity that included inadmissible information. On the fourth day of the trial, the Court was made aware of the fact that a local television network would be covering the incident that led to this trial on its evening news program. After the day’s proceedings, the court warned …show more content…
Jacobson arguing that the court had abused its discretionary powers when it did not allow Jacobson’s attorney’s to poll the jury, and instead assumed that the jurors had abided by the restrictions placed on them to avoid news reports. The due process clause guarantees everyone the right to a trial by an impartial jury, and this was denied to Sandra L. Jacobson when public broadcasting was clearly impartial towards the prosecution, and the jurors had the means to watch said report, which would render them biased. Legally, if there is the possibility that jurors may have been exposed to material that is prejudicial, then an appellate court should be able to gauge the exposure and determine the prejudice of the jury. The trial court was able to determine that unfair prejudice from this broadcasting station, including information that would be inadmissible in trial and would therefore contaminate the jury. Several cases have shown that warnings alone do not neutralize the potential for jury contamination, so a trial court should not rely solely on the warnings it gives jurors. The court concluded that the “error was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt” and therefore revoked her conviction but placed Jacobson in custody for a new trial on her

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