United States v. Collins, No. 10-1048-cr (2d Cir. January 9, 2012) (Calabresi, Chin, Carney, CJJ)
A jury convicted defendant Collins of several counts of fraud. The circuit ordered a new trial based on the district court’s handling of a series of jury notes relating to difficulties in deliberations.
Something about this trial inspired great turmoil during jury deliberations. It began with a report, after five days of trying, of difficulty reaching a verdict. The district judge gave a tepid reply, but later that day a CSO heard a disruption in the jury room and, when he entered, one juror told him that another had threatened him. The judge brought the jury in and urged civility.
The next day brought two more notes. One, from Juror 4, indicated that Juror 9 had threatened to “cut off [his] finger” and have her “husband take care of [him].” The second, from the …