A juror in the 18-month McMartin Pre-School molestation trial was dismissed by the judge Tuesday after suffering a paralyzing stroke that is expected to require at least six weeks of hospitalization.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Pounders commended the juror, John Duggan, for his “excellent” service, noting that Duggan never asked for any personal time off from the trial and “has been attentive all along.” But Pounders said the proceedings would have to “go on without him.”
The judge announced his decision to fill the empty seat in the jury box with one of four remaining alternate jurors after conferring with Duggan’s doctor Tuesday.
Pounders said the man was left paralyzed by the stroke, apparently suffered sometime after court recessed Thursday and is unable to talk although he “understands what he’s being told.”
The judge last week reprimanded three other jurors--one for yawning and groaning audibly and two for exchanging notes--and has repeatedly expressed concern about losing jurors the longer the trial drags on.
“Twelve of you are going to be making a decision that not only the litigants but an awful lot of people are waiting to learn,” Pounders told the remaining 15 jurors and alternates.