Judge's Admonition Hits Home for 2 Jurors

Associated Press

It was difficult for juror Jim Hamson to obey a judge's admonition to avoid discussing the civil discrimination case outside court: Hamson's wife was on the same jury.

"After 33 years, I know him. I didn't have to discuss the case. I knew how he felt," Carolyn Hamson said. "I think he had a harder time because he wanted to convince me."

After 16 hours of deliberations, the jury told the judge they were hopelessly deadlocked--with the Hamsons on opposite sides--and a mistrial was declared.

Seven jurors, including Jim Hamson, believed the evidence showed the Department of Corrections was guilty of racial discrimination for demoting a black prison worker. Mrs. Hamson was among five who disagreed.

Nine jurors must agree to reach a verdict in a civil case.

"He's got his strong opinions and I've got mine," said Carolyn Hamson, 51. "It's a different day than it was 40 years ago."

Superior Court Judge Michael Duffy said he had never seen a husband and wife sit on the same jury. He emphasized to the Hamsons his daily admonition to jurors not to discuss the case before the trial was over.

At one point during deliberations, Jim Hamson stood to emphasize a point.

"He got uptight about something and I said, 'Jim, sit down,' " said Mrs. Hamson. "I would have said it to anybody."

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