Trials & Litigation
Juror’s glow reflected cellphone no-no; judge put him in jail
By Martha Neil
Apr 19, 2013, 09:33 pm CDT
Judge Dennis Graves might never have known that juror Benjamin Kohler was violating his instructions about using his cellphone during a Salem, Ore., armed robbery trial this week.
However, the judge’s attention was drawn to an unusual glow on the chest area of the 26-year-old’s shirt after the lights were dimmed to show the jury a surveillance video. Graves then cleared the courtroom, except for Kohler, who didn’t deny he had been using his cellphone as evidence was presented in the Marion County Circuit Court case, according to the Oregonian and the Statesman Journal.
Graves sent Kohler to the county jail Tuesday, and he was released Wednesday night.
“Every juror has the responsibility to devote his entire attention to the witnesses and evidence being presented,” said the judge in a press release. “In this case, Mr. Kohler failed to meet his obligations and failed to honor the direction of this court. My hope is that he will use his time in jail to reflect upon his behavior.”
Kohler could not be reached for comment by the newspapers.