Legal Ethics

Juror accused of lying about her past is indicted, excused from murder trial

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A former New Jersey juror has been indicted for allegedly lying during the trial of a man who was later convicted of murdering his 20-month-old daughter.

Wacoa M. Stanford, 44, is accused of three counts of false swearing for allegedly not disclosing a prior disorderly persons conviction or the fact that she had once been investigated for allegedly abusing her own children, the Newark Star-Ledger reports.

Stanford was eventually excused for misconduct and replaced by an alternative juror. The reconstituted jury later convicted Travis Hartsfield Jr., of murder and child endangerment in the March 2011 death of his daughter, Asiyah.

Hartsfield, 28, has been sentenced to life in prison.

Two of the three charges against Stanford relate to statements she made during jury selection, the Star-Ledger reports. The third involves a statement she allegedly made to Superior Court Judge Michael L. Ravin, when she denied having discussed the child abuse investigation with fellow jurors during deliberations.

One of the jurors had told the judge that Stanford had discussed the investigation during deliberations, which Stanford later denied. Ten of the 11 jurors told the judge that she had.

The episode nearly resulted in a mistrial, but Ravin later ruled that the reconstituted jury had not been tainted by the incident.

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