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Juror on Hot Seat, Accused of Web-Surfing; Claimed Research May Cause Capital Murder Case Mistrial

Posted Jan 14, 2011 2:22 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A mistrial may have to be declared in a Pennsylvania capital murder case over a juror's reported Web-surfing.

The Luzerne County panel's foreman blew the whistle on fellow juror Gretchen Black today, when she returned to court this morning after the first day of deliberations allegedly armed with Internet information about retinal detachment that she tried to discuss with her colleagues, reports the Citizens Voice.

Defendant Lamont Cherry is accused of shaking and beating a 12-month-old girl; he contends she suffered injuries from an accidental fall.

Judge Tina Polachek Gartley suspended deliberations this morning after Black was accused of violating jury instructions and the juror is expected to be questioned in court this afternoon, once counsel is appointed to represent her. It appears that she may have misinterpreted jury instructions to preclude her from seeking information only about the Cherry case specifically rather than medical information generally.

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