What recourse do I have if, as a juror, I am intimidated with threats of physical violence or other misfortunes by other jurors to reach a conclusion they want?

If the answer is to talk to the judge, what do I do if the judge simply ignores my problem and says to get back in there with the other jurors and stay there until a verdict is reached?

2 Answers 2


You could ask the bailiff to bring this concern to the attention of the judge. If you feel the need to protect yourself, you should. If you are really sincerely scared, stand your ground and refuse to participate for this reason in your response to the judge, even if this puts you at risk of a contempt of court sanction - better to being in jail briefly than to be physically harmed by another juror. The judge might release you from jury service or dismiss the threatening juror, or might declare a mistrial if you bring this to the judge's attention.

The mistrial could result in the de facto acquittal of the defendant in a criminal case, especially if no alternates are available and dismissing you or the threatening juror would bring the jury below a quorum, so keep this in mind.

I would also not tell the bailiff what position you are being coerced to take, merely that you are being coerced with physical threats. And I would identify the threatening juror (who might also be removed).

Of course, if you are actually on a jury right now, you are almost surely violating your obligations as a juror by going on line to ask this question.

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    I'm not on a jury now. I'm scheduled for jury duty weeks in the future.
    – ShyPerson
    Commented Jan 27, 2018 at 5:58

At present in the United States, a Juror is not allowed to testify to any discussions that occured during deliberations (including physical violence or verbal abuse used to coerce a vote change by a lone hold out juror). A juror impeaching the verdict of a case they decided is not allowed unless one of the following three things is brought to bear: (1) There is extranious evidence used to form the verdict (i.e. Evidence that was not introduced during the course of the trial influenced a juror's decision), (2) Outside influence was improperly brought to bear upon the juror (i.e. The mob boss threatens to kill the wife and kids if the defendant is found guilty, and the juror's decision is influenced by this) (3) The juror mismarked the form for the verdict (they all voted and agreed the guy was innocent, but the Foreman mismarked the form and checked the guilty box).

Physical threats from other Juror may happen during deliberations, and while not common, it is not unknown for juries to be quite heated during deliberations. Take for example the famous scene from "12 Angry Men" in which Juror #3 threatens to kill Juror #8 ("You don't REALLY mean you'll kill me, do you?"). While not always as dramatic, the sequestration process and the difficult decision in cases can be very difficult emotionally on the jury at large and they can react in ways they wouldn't normally react too.

I would say see what the Judge says. He may make you go back, he may further instruct the jury to keep calm, he may declare a mistrial. Do not change your vote... it's kinda hard to get away with murder when you are with 10 witnesses to the crime.

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    The limitation about testimony about what occurred in jury deliberations is limited to testimony used to impeach the verdict. Nothing prohibits testimony about what happened in jury deliberations for purposes unrelated to the case in which the jury is deliberating. For example, if I agreed to sell my motorcycle to a fellow juror during deliberations that testimony could be admitted in a separate lawsuit related to the motorcycle sale. Likewise, testimony about a threat during deliberations by a fellow juror would be admissible in a criminal case against the threatening juror.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 23:46
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    @ohwileke: True, but not as testimony to impeachment of the juror after deciding a verdict (i.e. Juror #1 threatens physical violence if Juror #2 votes innocence. Juror #2 believes the accused innocent but votes guilty. The accused is found guilty in the verdict and the jury is dismissed. Juror #2 feels bad and goes to the judge to explain what happened).
    – hszmv
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 14:55

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