UNI TED STATES DI STRI CT COURT

FOR THE
DI STRI CT OF VERMONT
UNI TED STATES OF AMERI CA :
:
v. : Case No. 2: 01- cr - 12
:
DONALD FELL :
OPINION AND ORDER
Donal d Fel l moves t he Cour t pur suant t o 28 U. S. C. § 2255 t o
vacat e, set asi de, or cor r ect t he j udgment and sent ence of deat h
i mposed upon hi m, and t o gr ant hi ma new t r i al . Fel l ’ s mot i on
i ncl udes al l egat i ons of i nef f ect i ve assi st ance of counsel ,
pr osecut or i al mi sconduct , and j ur or mi sconduct . The sol e i ssue
cur r ent l y bef or e t he Cour t i s Fel l ’ s cl ai mt hat j ur or mi sconduct
depr i ved hi mof hi s Fi f t h, Si xt h, and Ei ght h Amendment r i ght s t o
an i mpar t i al j ur y.
Fel l br i ngs j ur or mi sconduct cl ai ms r egar di ng t hr ee j ur or s.
Accor di ng t o hi s mot i on, one j ur or l i ed dur i ng t he j ur y sel ect i on
pr ocess and wi t hhel d subst ant i al i nf or mat i on about her own l i f e
and t hat of her son. A second j ur or def i ed t he Cour t ’ s
i nst r uct i ons and t r avel ed over t wo hour s i n t he mi dst of t r i al t o
vi ew t he cr i me scenes. I n doi ng so, t he j ur or obt ai ned
i nf or mat i on t hat was not consi st ent wi t h t he t r i al evi dence and,
Fel l ar gues, hi ghl y pr ej udi ci al . Thi s same j ur or i s al so accused
of coer ci ng anot her j ur or ’ s vot e. A t hi r d j ur or al l egedl y f ai l ed
t o di scl ose bot h ext r a- r ecor d knowl edge and mat er i al i nf or mat i on
about hi s past .
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The Cour t has now hear d f our days of t est i mony on t he j ur or
mi sconduct i ssue. For t he r easons set f or t h bel ow, t he Cour t
f i nds t hat Fel l has shown j ur or mi sconduct and t hat t hi s
mi sconduct vi ol at ed hi s const i t ut i onal r i ght t o an i mpar t i al
j ur y. Fel l i s t her ef or e ent i t l ed t o a new t r i al , and hi s mot i on
t o vacat e i s GRANTED.
I. Factual and Procedural Background
A. The Offense, Indictment, and Plea Negotiations
On t he ni ght of November 26, 2000, Donal d Fel l and co-
Def endant Rober t Lee mur der ed Fel l ’ s mot her Debr a and her f r i end
Char l es Conway at Debr a Fel l ’ s home i n Rut l and, Ver mont . As
char ged i n t he super sedi ng i ndi ct ment , Fel l and Lee depar t ed t he
r esi dence bef or e dawn, ar med wi t h a 12- gauge shot gun and i n
sear ch of a vehi cl e. The t wo men pr oceeded on f oot t o t he Pr i ce
Chopper super mar ket i n downt own Rut l and, abduct ed super mar ket
empl oyee Ter esca Ki ng, and commandeer ed her vehi cl e. Fel l and
Lee t hen dr ove t o Dut chess Count y, New Yor k, and br ut al l y
mur der ed Mr s. Ki ng. ECF No. 57 at 1- 2.
On November 30, 2000, Fel l and Lee wer e ar r est ed i n
Cl ar ksvi l l e, Ar kansas, dr i vi ng Mr s. Ki ng’ s car . Upon t hei r
t r ansf er t o t he Di st r i ct of Ver mont , t hey wer e char ged wi t h
i nt er st at e ki dnappi ng and car - j acki ng, i n vi ol at i on of 18 U. S. C.
§§ 1201( a) and 2119. On Febr uar y 1, 2001, a f eder al gr and j ur y
r et ur ned a f our - count i ndi ct ment char gi ng Fel l and Lee wi t h car -
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j acki ng r esul t i ng i n deat h i n vi ol at i on of 18 U. S. C. § 2119( 3)
( Count 1) ; ki dnappi ng r esul t i ng i n deat h i n vi ol at i on of 18
U. S. C. § 1201( a) ( Count 2) ; br andi shi ng a f i r ear mi n f ur t her ance
of cr i mes of vi ol ence i n vi ol at i on of 18 U. S. C. §
924( c) ( 1) ( A) ( i i ) ( Count 3) ; and bei ng f ugi t i ves who t r anspor t ed a
f i r ear mi n i nt er st at e commer ce i n vi ol at i on of 18 U. S. C. §
922( g) ( 2) ( Count 4) . Count s 1 and 2 wer e capi t al of f enses. Fel l
and Lee wer e ar r ai gned on Febr uar y 7, 2001.
1
On Oct ober 24, 2001, Fel l si gned an agr eement t o pl ead
gui l t y i n exchange f or l i f e i mpr i sonment wi t hout r el ease.
However , at t he t i me Fel l and t he Uni t ed St at es At t or ney f or t he
Di st r i ct of Ver mont r eached t hei r agr eement , t he Uni t ed St at es
Depar t ment of J ust i ce r equi r ed al l l ocal deci si ons not t o seek
t he deat h penal t y i n deat h- el i gi bl e cases t o be conf i r med by t he
At t or ney Gener al . I n J anuar y 2002, t he At t or ney Gener al r ej ect ed
t he pl ea agr eement .
On J anuar y 30, 2002, t he gover nment f i l ed a Not i ce of I nt ent
t o Seek Deat h Penal t y. The Not i ce l i st ed f our t hr eshol d
cul pabi l i t y f act or s as set f or t h i n 18 U. S. C. § 3591( a) ( 2) ( A) -
( D) , and t hr ee st at ut or y aggr avat i ng f act or s i dent i f i ed i n 18
1
Rober t Lee di ed i n a Ver mont cor r ect i onal f aci l i t y i n
Sept ember 2001.
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U. S. C. § 3592( c) .
2
I t al so l i st ed f our non- st at ut or y aggr avat i ng
f act or s.
3
Af t er t he gover nment f i l ed i t s Not i ce of I nt ent , t he
par t i es negot i at ed an agr eement f or t he penal t y phase t o be t r i ed
t o t he Cour t f ol l owi ng a gui l t y pl ea t o t he char ges. That
agr eement was al so r ej ect ed by t he At t or ney Gener al .
B. Jury Selection
J ur y sel ect i on began on May 4, 2005. Pot ent i al j ur or s
i ni t i al l y compl et ed a t wo- page backgr ound quest i onnai r e ( t he
“shor t quest i onnai r e”) . The j ur or s wer e t hen summoned t o Cour t ,
wher e t hey wer e gi ven pr el i mi nar y i nst r uct i ons and di r ect ed t o
compl et e a l onger , 34- page quest i onnai r e ( t he “l ong
quest i onnai r e”) . The l ong quest i onnai r e consi st ed of 75
quest i ons di vi ded i nt o si x par t s: ( 1) backgr ound; ( 2) exper i ences
and bel i ef s; ( 3) i mpor t ant l egal pr i nci pl es; ( 4) vi ews about t he
deat h penal t y; ( 5) exposur e t o medi a about t he case or t he deat h
penal t y; and ( 6) per sonal schedul e dur i ng t he ant i ci pat ed t r i al
per i od.
I n t he pr el i mi nar y i nst r uct i ons, t he Cour t expl ai ned t o t he
pr ospect i ve j ur or s:
2
The t hr ee st at ut or y aggr avat i ng f act or s al l eged t hat ( 1)
Ki ng’ s deat h occur r ed dur i ng t he commi ssi on of a ki dnappi ng; ( 2) Fel l
commi t t ed t he of f ense i n an especi al l y hei nous, cr uel , or depr aved
manner i n t hat i t i nvol ved ser i ous physi cal abuse t o Ki ng; ( 3) Fel l
i nt ent i onal l y ki l l ed or at t empt ed t o ki l l mor e t han one per son i n a
si ngl e cr i mi nal epi sode.
3
The f our non- st at ut or y aggr avat i ng f act or s, as di scussed
bel ow, l i st ed i nt ent i onal and pr emedi t at ed act s r egar di ng t he car -
j acki ng, Mr s. Ki ng’ s abduct i on, and her event ual mur der .
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I f you cannot answer a quest i on because you do not
under st and i t , wr i t e “Do not under st and” i n t he mar gi n
next t o t he quest i on. I f you cannot answer t he
quest i on because you do not know wr i t e “Do not know. ”
I f you want t o expl ai n your answer , do so ei t her i n t he
space pr ovi ded on t he quest i onnai r e, or on one of t he
sheet s appended t o t he quest i onnai r e. . . . I f f or any
r eason you do not wi sh t o answer any par t i cul ar
quest i on, pl ease wr i t e t he wor d “Pr i vat e” i n t he mar gi n
next t o t he quest i on and we wi l l t ake t hi s mat t er up
wi t h you pr i vat el y, i f necessar y.
Because your answer s ar e par t of t he j ur y sel ect i on
pr ocess and become par t of t he r ecor d of t hi s cour t ,
t he answer s must be t r ut hf ul under t he penal t y of
per j ur y, and you must si gn t he quest i onnai r e at t he
end.
ECF No. 512- 23 at 34.
J ur y sel ect i on was conduct ed over f i f t een days bet ween May 4
and J une 6. The Cour t i ni t i al l y conduct ed gener al voi r di r e of
gr oups of si xt een j ur or s. Pot ent i al j ur or s wer e t hen quest i oned
i ndi vi dual l y, f i r st by t he Cour t and t hen by counsel f or t he
par t i es. The j ur y, al ong wi t h f our al t er nat es, was sel ect ed on
J une 9, 2005.
Fr omt hei r f i r st cont act wi t h t he Cour t , pr ospect i ve j ur or s
and t hose who wer e seat ed f or t he t r i al wer e advi sed and
r epeat edl y r emi nded t hat t hey must ser ve “f ai r l y and
i mpar t i al l y, ” meani ng t hat t hei r ver di ct must be based “on t he
evi dence pr esent ed i n t hi s cour t r oomand not on anyt hi ng t hat you
may have hear d or r ead or exper i enced out si de t he cour t r oom. ”
Id. at 26. They wer e f ur t her advi sed and r emi nded not t o di scuss
t he case wi t h ot her s or among t hemsel ves because “a j ur y’ s
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ver di ct must be f r ee f r omout si de i nf l uence. So, I amor der i ng
each and ever y one of you not t o di scuss t hi s case wi t h f ami l y,
f r i ends or any ot her per sons f r omt hi s poi nt on unt i l I ei t her
excuse you, or i f you ar e sel ect ed as a j ur or , unt i l t he case
concl udes. ” Id. at 32- 33.
At t he begi nni ng of each day of t r i al , j ur or s wer e asked i f
t hey had spoken t o anyone or l ear ned anyt hi ng about t he case f r om
out si de t he cour t r oom. See, e.g., Tr i al Tr . Vol . I - 1 at 10. At
t he end of each day of t r i al , t he Cour t r emi nded t he j ur or s not
t o di scuss t he case wi t h anyone or l ear n about t he case f r om
out si de t he cour t r oom. See, e.g., Tr i al Tr . Vol . I - 2 at 89. The
Cour t i nst r uct ed j ur or s t hat i f t hey di d l ear n anyt hi ng f r om
out si de t he cour t r oom, “you need t o t el l me. ” Tr i al Tr . Vol . I - 1
at 15. The Cour t al so speci f i cal l y advi sed t he j ur or s not t o
conduct t hei r own i nvest i gat i ons. See Tr i al Tr . Vol . VI at 61.
C. Conviction, Sentence, and Appeal
The gui l t phase of t he t r i al commenced on J une 20, 2005. On
J une 24, 2005, t he j ur y r et ur ned a gui l t y ver di ct on al l f our
count s. The penal t y phase began on J une 28, 2005, and ext ended
f or ni ne days. The j ur y hear d mi t i gat i on evi dence f r omf our t een
wi t nesses, i ncl udi ng f ami l y member s, t eacher s, and soci al
wor ker s. The j ur y al so hear d f r omcor r ect i onal of f i cer s and a
pr i son t eacher about Fel l ’ s adj ust ment t o pr i son. That evi dence,
as r ecount ed by t he Second Ci r cui t on di r ect appeal , est abl i shed
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t hat
Fel l spent hi s ear l y year s i n Pennsyl vani a wi t h par ent s
who wer e chr oni c al cohol i cs. Bot h Fel l and hi s si st er
wer e r aped by babysi t t er s when t hey wer e young
chi l dr en, abandoned by t hei r par ent s, and r ai sed by
r el at i ves. Fel l had f r equent br ushes wi t h t he l aw of
i ncr easi ng ser i ousness and, f or a per i od of t i me, was
commi t t ed t o a home f or del i nquent yout h. Af t er hi s
r el ease, hi s i nvol vement wi t h t he l aw cont i nued t o
escal at e and was punct uat ed by ser i ous dr ug and al cohol
abuse.
United States v. Fell, 531 F. 3d 197, 205 ( 2d Ci r . 2008) . Fel l ’ s
mot her Debr a moved t o Rut l and i n 1996, and Fel l j oi ned her i n
2000. Ther eaf t er , “[ t ] hei r st or my r el at i onshi p cont i nued. Fel l
and hi s mot her ( and t hei r f r i ends) dr ank heavi l y, ar gued
f r equent l y, and abused dr ugs. ” Id. Fel l was t went y year s ol d at
t he t i me of t he mur der s.
On J ul y 14, 2005, t he j ur y unani mousl y f ound t hat Fel l
shoul d r ecei ve a sent ence of deat h on t he t wo capi t al count s. I n
addi t i on t o t he st at ut or y aggr avat i ng f act or s, t he j ur y f ound
t hat t he gover nment had pr oven t he f ol l owi ng non- st at ut or y
aggr avat i ng f act or s: ( 1) t hat Fel l par t i ci pat ed i n t he abduct i on
of Mr s. Ki ng t o f aci l i t at e hi s escape f r omt he ar ea i n whi ch he
and an accompl i ce had commi t t ed a doubl e mur der ; ( 2) t hat Fel l
par t i ci pat ed i n t he mur der of Mr s. Ki ng t o pr event her f r om
r epor t i ng t he ki dnappi ng and car - j acki ng t o aut hor i t i es; ( 3) t hat
Fel l par t i ci pat ed i n t he mur der of Mr s. Ki ng af t er subst ant i al
pr emedi t at i on t o commi t t he cr i me of car - j acki ng; and ( 4) t hat
Fel l caused l oss, i nj ur y, and har mt o t he vi ct i mand t he vi ct i m’ s
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f ami l y. ECF No. 200 at 8- 9 ( Speci al Ver di ct For m) .
The j ur y al so f ound t hat Fel l ’ s l awyer s had demonst r at ed
sever al mi t i gat i ng f act or s, i ncl udi ng Fel l ’ s chi l dhood physi cal
and sexual abuse; hi s t r eat ment and i nst i t ut i onal i zat i on f or
ment al heal t h condi t i ons; hi s r egul ar abuse of al cohol and dr ugs
si nce chi l dhood; and t hat hi s par ent s wer e vi ol ent al cohol i cs who
abandoned hi mas a chi l d. No j ur or f ound t hat Fel l ’ s capaci t y t o
appr eci at e hi s conduct was si gni f i cant l y i mpai r ed, or t hat he had
shown r emor se f or ki l l i ng Mr s. Ki ng. Ten of t he t wel ve j ur or s
f ound t hat Fel l was r ai sed wi t hout posi t i ve r ol e model s. Ten of
t wel ve j ur or s al so vot ed t o add a mi t i gat i ng f act or t hat had not
been pr esent ed: “Tot al l i f e exper i ence, f ai l ur e of t he st at e of
Pennsyl vani a soci al and ment al heal t h ser vi ces t o ef f ect i vel y
i nt er vene i n hi s chi l dhood abuse and t o t r eat or addr ess hi s
ear l y ant i soci al behavi or . ” Id. at 13- 14.
I n 2008, t he Uni t ed St at es Cour t s of Appeal s af f i r med Fel l ’ s
convi ct i on and sent ence. Fell, 531 F. 3d at 240. I n doi ng so,
t he Second Ci r cui t concl uded t hat t hi s Cour t “pr esi ded over t hi s
compl i cat ed and di f f i cul t t r i al wi t h car e, f ai r ness, and an
exempl ar y concer n f or t he pr ot ect i on of Fel l ’ s r i ght s. ” Id.
Fel l ’ s pet i t i on f or r ehear i ng or , i n t he al t er nat i ve, f or
r ehear i ng en banc was deni ed, United States v. Fell, 571 F. 3d 264
( 2d Ci r . 2009) , and on Mar ch 22, 2010 t he Supr eme Cour t decl i ned
r evi ew. Fell v. United States, 559 U. S. 1031 ( Mem. 2010) .
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D. Section 2255 Motion
On Mar ch 21, 2011, r epr esent ed by new counsel , Fel l t i mel y
f i l ed a mot i on f or wr i t of habeas cor pus pur suant t o 28 U. S. C. §
2255. The mot i on i ncl udes al l egat i ons of i nef f ect i ve assi st ance
of counsel , pr osecut or i al mi sconduct , and j ur or mi sconduct . On
December 22, 2011, t he gover nment f i l ed i t s r esponse t o t he
Sect i on 2255 mot i on, seeki ng summar y di smi ssal of al l cl ai ms. On
May 10, 2013, t he Cour t i ssued t wo wr i t t en or der s, t he f i r st of
whi ch di smi ssed some of Fel l ’ s cl ai ms. The second or der
per t ai ned sol el y t o t he j ur or mi sconduct cl ai ms, and f ound t hat
Fel l had est abl i shed a suf f i ci ent basi s f or f ur t her i nqui r y wi t h
r espect t o J ur or s 26, 143, and 162.
The j ur or mi sconduct i nqui r y r equi r ed sever al days of i n-
cour t t est i mony f r omj ur or s and ot her wi t nesses. On August 15,
2013, J ur or s 143 and 162 wer e cal l ed t o t est i f y. On Sept ember
27, 2013, t he Cour t hear d t est i mony f r omJ ur or 26. On Oct ober
22, 2013, Fel l moved t o f i l e an amended Sect i on 2255 mot i on,
addi ng new f act ual al l egat i ons agai nst t hese t hr ee and one
addi t i onal j ur or . On Mar ch 12, 2014, t he Cour t al l owed t he
amendment s as t o t he t hr ee i ni t i al j ur or s, but deni ed t he mot i on
wi t h r espect t o t he f our t h j ur or .
Fel l ’ s amended Sect i on 2255 mot i on i s over 400 pages l ong
and set s f or t h appr oxi mat el y t went y cl ai ms f or r el i ef . The j ur or
mi sconduct cl ai ms t hemsel ves may be di vi ded i nt o t hr ee
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cat egor i es. Fi r st , Fel l cl ai ms t hat J ur or s 26, 143, and 162
i nt ent i onal l y wi t hhel d mat er i al i nf or mat i on dur i ng j ur y
sel ect i on, and t hat f ul l di scl osur es woul d have suppor t ed val i d
chal l enges f or cause. Second, he al l eges t hat J ur or s 26 and 143
wer e exposed t o pr ej udi ci al f act s beyond t he t r i al r ecor d. Thi s
al l egat i on i ncl udes t he cl ai mt hat J ur or 143 sur r ept i t i ousl y
t r avel ed t o Rut l and i n t he mi dst of t r i al , vi ewed t he cr i me
scenes hi msel f , spoke wi t h a t hi r d par t y about t he f act s of t he
case, and shar ed hi s obser vat i ons wi t h t he r est of t he j ur y
panel . Ever y day of t r i al t her eaf t er , J ur or 143 al l egedl y l i ed
t o t he Cour t as he f ai l ed t o r eveal t hese ext r a- r ecor d
act i vi t i es. Fel l cont ends t hat J ur or 143' s act i ons pr ej udi ced
t he def ense’ s case, and t hat hi s di shonest y war r ant s a new t r i al
on t he basi s of j ur or bi as. Thi r d, Fel l cl ai ms t hat J ur or 143
coer ced anot her j ur or i nt o changi ng her vot e.
The Cour t hear d addi t i onal t est i mony on Mar ch 18- 19, 2014,
i ncl udi ng t hat of wi t nesses cl ai mi ng t o have knowl edge of J ur or
143' s t r i p t o Rut l and i n 2005. Ot her wi t nesses i ncl uded member s
of Fel l ’ s post - convi ct i on l i t i gat i on t eam, an FBI case agent , and
J ur or 162 f or a second day of t est i mony. A non- t est i moni al
hear i ng was hel d on May 9, 2014, and t he par t i es have now
submi t t ed f ul l br i ef i ng on t he j ur or mi sconduct i ssue.
II. General Legal Principles
A. Section 2255 Standard
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A pr i soner i n f eder al cust ody may f i l e a mot i on under 28
U. S. C. § 2255 on t he gr ounds t hat hi s sent ence was i mposed i n
vi ol at i on of t he Const i t ut i on or f eder al l aws, was i ssued by a
cour t t hat di d not have j ur i sdi ct i on, was i n excess of t he l awf ul
maxi mum, “or i s ot her wi se subj ect t o col l at er al at t ack. ” 28
U. S. C. § 2255( a) . Rel i ef under Sect i on 2255 i s t her ef or e
gener al l y avai l abl e “onl y f or a const i t ut i onal er r or , a l ack of
j ur i sdi ct i on i n t he sent enci ng cour t , or an er r or of l aw or f act
t hat const i t ut es ‘ a f undament al def ect whi ch i nher ent l y r esul t s
i n a compl et e mi scar r i age of j ust i ce. ’ ” Cuoco v. United States,
208 F. 3d 27, 30 ( 2d Ci r . 2000) ( quot i ng United States v. Bokun,
73 F. 3d 8, 12 ( 2d Ci r . 1995) ) .
“The r easons f or nar r owl y l i mi t i ng t he r el i ef per mi t t ed
under § 2255 —a r espect f or t he f i nal i t y of cr i mi nal sent ences,
t he ef f i ci ent al l ocat i on of j udi ci al r esour ces, and an aver si on
t o r et r yi ng i ssues year s af t er t he under l yi ng event s t ook pl ace —
ar e ‘ wel l known and basi c t o our adver sar y syst emof j ust i ce. ’ ”
Bokun, 73 F. 3d at 12 ( quot i ng United States v. Addonizio, 442
U. S. 178, 184 & n. 11 ( 1979) ) ; see also Yick Man Mui v. United
States, 614 F. 3d 50, 53 ( 2d Ci r . 2010) . The movant bear s t he
bur den of est abl i shi ng by a pr eponder ance of t he evi dence any
cl ai madvanced i n hi s Sect i on 2255 mot i on. See Triana v. United
States, 205 F. 3d 36, 40 ( 2d Ci r . 2000) ; Napoli v. United States,
45 F. 3d 680, 683 ( 2d Ci r . 1995) .
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B. “Death is Different”
4
I n t hi s case, Fel l i s seeki ng r el i ef f r oma sent ence of
deat h. The Supr eme Cour t has l ong acknowl edged t hat a deat h
penal t y case i s f undament al l y di f f er ent f r oma non- capi t al
pr oceedi ng.
[ T] he penal t y of deat h i s qual i t at i vel y di f f er ent f r om
a sent ence of i mpr i sonment , however l ong. Deat h, i n
i t s f i nal i t y, di f f er s mor e f r oml i f e i mpr i sonment t han
a 100- year pr i son t er mdi f f er s f r omone of onl y a year
or t wo. Because of t hat qual i t at i ve di f f er ence, t her e
i s a cor r espondi ng di f f er ence i n t he need f or
r el i abi l i t y i n t he det er mi nat i on t hat deat h i s t he
appr opr i at e puni shment i n a speci f i c case.
Woodson v. North Carolina, 428 U. S. 280, 305 ( 1976) ( pl ur al i t y
opi ni on) ( f oot not e omi t t ed) ; see also Lockett v. Ohio, 438 U. S.
586, 605 ( 1978) ( “Gi ven t hat t he i mposi t i on of deat h by publ i c
aut hor i t y i s so pr of oundl y di f f er ent f r omal l ot her penal t i es, we
cannot avoi d t he concl usi on t hat an i ndi vi dual i zed deci si on i s
essent i al i n capi t al cases. ”) ( pl ur al i t y opi ni on) ; Gardner v.
Florida, 430 U. S. 349, 357 ( 1977) ( not i ng t hat “deat h i s a
di f f er ent ki nd of puni shment f r omany ot her t hat may be i mposed
i n t hi s count r y”) ( pl ur al i t y opi ni on) . Thi s gener al t enet – t hat
“deat h i s di f f er ent ” – car r i es t hr ough t o habeas cor pus
pr oceedi ngs. See, e.g., Strickland v. Washington, 466 U. S. 668,
4
Ford v. Wainwright, 477 U. S. 399, 411 ( 1986) ( opi ni on of
Mar shal l , Br ennan, Bl ackmun, and St evens, J J . ) ( not i ng t hat
f act f i ndi ng i n a capi t al pr oceedi ng r equi r es a “hei ght ened st andar d of
r el i abi l i t y” as “a nat ur al consequence of t he knowl edge t hat execut i on
i s t he most i r r emedi abl e and unf at homabl e of penal t i es; t hat deat h i s
di f f er ent ”) .
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704 ( 1984) ( Br ennan, J . , concur r i ng i n par t and di ssent i ng i n
par t ) ( obser vi ng i n habeas pr oceedi ng pur suant t o 28 U. S. C. §
2254 t hat “we have consi st ent l y r equi r ed t hat capi t al pr oceedi ngs
be pol i ced at al l st ages by an especi al l y vi gi l ant concer n f or
pr ocedur al f ai r ness and f or t he accur acy of f act f i ndi ng”) .
C. Right to an Impartial Jury
The Si xt h Amendment pr ovi des t hat “[ i ] n al l cr i mi nal
pr osecut i ons, t he accused shal l enj oy t he r i ght t o a . . . t r i al ,
by an i mpar t i al j ur y . . . . ” U. S. Const . Amend. VI . “One
t ouchst one of a f ai r t r i al i s an i mpar t i al t r i er of f act —‘ a
j ur y capabl e and wi l l i ng t o deci de t he case sol el y on t he
evi dence bef or e i t . ’ ” McDonough Power Equip., Inc. v. Greenwood,
464 U. S. 548, 554 ( 1984) ( quot i ng Smith v. Phillips, 455 U. S.
209, 217 ( 1982) ) ; accord United States v. Stewart, 433 F. 3d 273,
303 ( 2d Ci r . 2006) . “The r i ght t o an i mpar t i al j ur y i s nowher e
as pr eci ous as when a def endant i s on t r i al f or hi s l i f e. ”
Sampson v. United States, 724 F. 3d 150, 163 ( 1st Ci r . 2013)
( “Sampson II”) ( ci t i ng Ross v. Oklahoma, 487 U. S. 81, 85 ( 1988) ) .
The Feder al Deat h Penal t y Act ( “FDPA”) r equi r es a unani mous
j ur y t o concl ude t hat t he deat h penal t y i s war r ant ed. See 18
U. S. C. §§ 3593, 3594. “[ E] ach j ur or has t he power t o deci de t hat
a def endant wi l l l i ve r at her t han di e. Each j ur or must be abl e
t o make t hat deci si on based sol el y on t he evi dence, uni nf l uenced
by per sonal exper i ences t hat he or she may have had. ” United
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States v. Sampson, 820 F. Supp. 2d 151, 157 ( D. Mass. 2011)
( “Sampson I”) . “‘ When possi bl e j ur or mi sconduct i s br ought t o
t he t r i al j udge’ s at t ent i on he has a dut y t o i nvest i gat e and t o
det er mi ne whet her t her e may have been a vi ol at i on of t he [ S] i xt h
[ A] mendment . ’ ” United States v. Lloyd, 462 F. 3d 510, 518 ( 6t h
Ci r . 2006) ( quot i ng United States v. Shackleford, 777 F. 2d 1141,
1145 ( 6t h Ci r . 1985) ) . “I f even one [ par t i al ] j ur or i s
empanel ed” and t he deat h sent ence i s i mposed, “t he [ gover nment ]
i s di sent i t l ed t o execut e t he sent ence. ” Morgan v. Illinois, 504
U. S. 719, 729 ( 1992) .
III. Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law
Fel l cl ai ms t hat hi s j ur y was not i mpar t i al , and t hat j ur or
mi sconduct cor r upt ed hi s capi t al t r i al . The Cour t now addr esses
Fel l ’ s al l egat i ons agai nst each j ur or i n t ur n.
5

5
The gover nment has ar gued pr evi ousl y t hat Fel l ’ s j ur or
mi sconduct cl ai ms ar e pr ocedur al l y def aul t ed. The Cour t has r ej ect ed
t hi s ar gument , not i ng t hat j ur or mi sconduct cl ai ms ar e poor l y sui t ed
t o r esol ut i on on di r ect appeal , and t hat t hi s i s par t i cul ar l y t r ue
wher e evi dence of j ur or mi sconduct does not appear i n t he t r i al
r ecor d. See Op. & Or der 3- 4, May 10, 2103, ECF No. 368 at 3- 4 ( ci t i ng
Waley v. Johnston, 316 U. S. 101, 104 ( 1942) ( per cur i am) ( hol di ng t hat
an i ssue was appr opr i at el y r ai sed by habeas cor pus pet i t i on wher e
“[ t ] he f act s r el i ed on ar e dehor s t he r ecor d and t hei r ef f ect on t he
j udgment was not open t o consi der at i on and r evi ew on appeal ”) ) . Her e,
j ur or mi sconduct was onl y di scover ed af t er j ur or s bel at edl y r eveal ed
t hei r act i ons t o habeas counsel . Accor di ngl y, Fel l had no basi s upon
whi ch t o pur sue hi s cl ai ms pr evi ousl y. See, e.g., United States v.
Jackson, 209 F. 3d 1103, 1108 ( 9t h Ci r . 2000) ( f i ndi ng no pr ocedur al
def aul t wher e pet i t i oner di d not l ear n about t he f act ual pr edi cat e f or
a j ur y t amper i ng cl ai munt i l i nvest i gat or i nt er vi ewed j ur or mor e t han
t hr ee year s af t er t he t r i al ) ; Ida v. United States, 191 F. Supp. 2d
426, 436 ( S. D. N. Y. 2002) ( hol di ng t hat j ur or mi sconduct i ssue was
pr oper l y r ai sed i n a Sect i on 2255 mot i on) .
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A. Juror 162
Fel l submi t s t hat dur i ng voi r di r e, J ur or 162 wi t hhel d
subst ant i al i nf or mat i on about her own per sonal hi st or y and t hat
of her son. He f i r st cl ai ms t he j ur or f ai l ed t o di scl ose t hat ,
l i ke Donal d Fel l , she was t he vi ct i mof sexual abuse as a chi l d.
J ur or 162' s hi st or y of sexual abuse was r eveal ed when at t or neys
f or Fel l i nt er vi ewed her i n 2011 about her exper i ence as a j ur or .
Af t er t he i nt er vi ew, t he j ur or si gned a wr i t t en decl ar at i on t hat
i ncl uded t he f ol l owi ng st at ement s:
At t r i al , we l ear ned t hat Donal d Fel l was abused as a
chi l d and t hat hi s par ent s wer e al cohol i cs. I was
sexual l y abused by my st epf at her f or year s and i t
di dn’ t t ur n me i nt o a mur der er . We al l have choi ces i n
l i f e and Donal d Fel l j ust chose evi l . Donal d Fel l had
pl ent y of chances t o get hel p, i ncl udi ng f r omt eacher s
and pr i nci pal s. He was gi ven l ot s of chances t o change
t hi ngs and di dn’ t t ake t hem. That was i mpor t ant t o me.
Fel l Hr ’ g Ex. 6 at Bat es Nos. 2580- 81.
Fel l cont ends t hat J ur or 162' s f i r st oppor t uni t y t o r eveal
her past sexual abuse was on t he pr e- t r i al quest i onnai r es. The
l ong quest i onnai r e asked:
Q. 38( a) : Have you or has a f ami l y member or cl ose
f r i end ever been a wi t ness t o or t he vi ct i mof a cr i me?
The shor t quest i onnai r e asked essent i al l y t hi s same quest i on.
J ur or 162 answer ed “No” t o bot h. At t he August 2013 hear i ng, she
was cal l ed t o t est i f y about her r esponses.
J ur or 162 t est i f i ed t hat as a young chi l d she was r emoved
f r omt he cust ody of her bi ol ogi cal par ent s, pl aced i n a ser i es of
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f ost er homes, and ul t i mat el y adopt ed. As she di scl osed t o Fel l ’ s
at t or neys i n 2011, her adopt i ve f at her sexual l y abused her over a
per i od of sever al year s. When quest i oned why she di d not r eveal
t hi s abuse pr i or t o t r i al , she r esponded:
I di dn’ t connect i t . You know, t hi s i s somet hi ng t hat
I have never even t hought about . I mean, I went on and
l i ved my l i f e, never consi der ed i t . I never t hought
about i t . And so when t hat quest i on came up i n – you
know, I woul d at t r i but e cr i me as havi ng somebody hol d a
gun t o my head or somebody st eal i ng my pur se or
somet hi ng of t hat nat ur e. I t ’ s j ust somet hi ng t hat I
never t hought about . You know, I mean, I had a l ot of
ot her t hi ngs happen t o me.
. . .
My f at her was not convi ct ed of any cr i me, and I – I
have not consi der ed mysel f a vi ct i mi n al l t hese year s,
and I di d not connect t hat quest i on.
Aug. 15, 2013 Hr ’ g Tr . at 99- 100, 114.
The Cour t asked J ur or 162 whet her t he t r i al evi dence caused
her t o r ecal l her own exper i ences of sexual abuse:
COURT: But i s t her e – i s t her e some l i nkage i n your mi nd,
at l east dur i ng t he cour se of t he t r i al , t hat your
exper i ence had some r el evance?
J UROR: No. You mean t he deci si on t hat I made? No.
COURT: Wel l , not necessar i l y t he deci si on, but as you ar e
goi ng t hr ough t he t r i al –
J UROR: No.
COURT: Di d i t br i ng back memor i es?
J UROR: No, no. Thi s i s somet hi ng I never t hi nk about . .
. I j ust di d not connect i t .
Id. at 100- 01. The j ur or al so ci t ed t he passage of t i me as a
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f act or :
J UROR: . . . I t ’ s j ust , I was so young. I mean, I went
on and l i ved my l i f e. Ther e’ s so many di f f er ent
t hi ngs t hat have happened t o me i n my l i f e si nce
t hen – I ’ m71 year s ol d – I never gave t hat – you
know, I j ust , – i t ’ s somet hi ng you j ust don’ t
t hi nk about .
Id. at 100. Dur i ng her second day of t est i mony, t he j ur or agai n
st at ed t hat she “di dn’ t connect [ her exper i ence of sexual abuse]
as bei ng a cr i me. ” Mar . 19, 2014 Hr ’ g Tr . at 182.
Fel l has pr esent ed evi dence t o show t hat J ur or 162 r ecal l ed
and spoke about her chi l dhood sexual abuse on sever al occasi ons
i n t he year s i mmedi at el y pr ecedi ng t r i al . The t est i mony bef or e
t he Cour t est abl i shed t hat bet ween 1999 and t he Fel l t r i al i n
2005, J ur or 162 di scl osed her exper i ences of sexual abuse t o t wo
of her nei ghbor s on separ at e occasi ons. Mar . 19, 2014 Hr ’ g Tr .
at 22 ( t est i mony of J ean Rat t a- Rober t s) ; id. at 59 ( t est i mony of
Suzann Wi dener ) . Pr i or t o t hat , she di scussed t he abuse dur i ng a
1996 cour t - or der ed psychol ogi cal eval uat i on. J ur or 162 expl ai ned
t o t he eval uat or t hat her past sexual abuse at one poi nt caused
her t o r un away f r omhome, and t hat “even now ‘ t he t hought makes
[ her ] f eel di r t y. ’ ” ECF No. 512- 44 at 98.
The j ur or al so r ecal l ed her chi l dhood sexual abuse when
i nt er vi ewed by Fel l ’ s post - convi ct i on at t or neys. I n f act ,
accor di ng t o one of t he i nt er vi ewer s, At t or ney Di na Zl oczower , i t
was J ur or 162 who br ought up t he i ssue i n 2011 when asked about
her exper i ence as a j ur or . Mar . 18, 2014 Hr ’ g Tr . at 79. Fel l
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t her ef or e cl ai ms t hat J ur or 162 does r emember and t hi nk about her
exper i ence of chi l dhood sexual abuse, and t hat her r esponse on
t he quest i onnai r e as t o whet her she was t he vi ct i mof a cr i me was
di shonest .
I n addi t i on t o her hi st or y of sexual abuse, J ur or 162
al l egedl y wi t hhel d a host of ot her per sonal i nf or mat i on. Si nce
t r i al , Fel l has di scover ed t hat J ur or 162' s f i r st husband was
ki l l ed i n a wor k- r el at ed acci dent when her son, Pat r i ck, was a
smal l chi l d. Ther eaf t er , she became sever el y depr essed and was
t wi ce i nst i t ut i onal i zed f or sever al mont hs at t he Ver mont St at e
Hospi t al . Pat r i ck was pl aced i nt o f ost er car e and l i ved wi t h a
f ami l y member f or a per i od of t i me.
Whi l e J ur or 162 was at t he Ver mont St at e Hospi t al , an
at t or ney was appoi nt ed as her guar di an. That at t or ney pr oceeded
t o embezzl e J ur or 162' s asset s, i ncl udi ng r eal est at e. J ur or 162
was abl e t o r ecover onl y a smal l amount of t he embezzl ed asset s,
and t he at t or ney was never pr osecut ed. J ur or 162 spoke about t he
embezzl ement dur i ng t he 1996 psychol ogi cal eval uat i on r ef er enced
pr evi ousl y, but di d not di scl ose i t on t he j ur or quest i onnai r es
as a “cr i me” commi t t ed agai nst her . Fel l ’ s habeas counsel
conf r ont ed her about t hi s omi ssi on at t he August 15, 2013
hear i ng.
COUNSEL: But t her e was anot her ver y ser i ous event [ i n
addi t i on t o sexual abuse] , a cr i mi nal event , t hat
you wer e a vi ct i mof t hat you di d not di scl ose,
and t hat woul d be when you wer e r i pped of f by
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at t or ney Don Mi l ne, r i ght ?
J UROR: That ’ s cor r ect .
COUNSEL: And you never ment i oned t hat ?
J UROR: No, because I di dn’ t t hi nk of i t .
Aug. 15, 2013 Hr ’ g Tr . at 162.
At t he Ver mont St at e Hospi t al , J ur or 162 r epor t edl y
devel oped a r el at i onshi p wi t h one of t he nur ses, Luci l l e Tat r o.
Af t er her r el ease f r omt he hospi t al , J ur or 162 was r euni t ed wi t h
her son and t he t wo of t heml i ved wi t h Ms. Tat r o f or t he r est of
Pat r i ck’ s chi l dhood. Dur i ng t hat cohabi t at i on, Ms. Tat r o
r epor t edl y abused J ur or 162 and at one poi nt t hr eat ened her wi t h
a kni f e. Af t er t he r el at i onshi p ended, Ms. Tat r o al l egedl y
became abusi ve t owar d bot h J ur or 162 and t he j ur or ’ s cur r ent
husband, and i n one i nci dent at t empt ed t o smash t hei r car
wi ndshi el d and r un t hemof f t he r oad. J ur or 162 ul t i mat el y f i l ed
a pol i ce compl ai nt , pr eci pi t at i ng Ms. Tat r o’ s ar r est and
pr osecut i on. These l at t er event s occur r ed i n J ul y of 1982,
t went y- t hr ee year s bef or e t he Fel l t r i al .
Fel l cont ends t hat J ur or 162' s vi ol ent hi st or y wi t h Ms.
Tat r o shoul d have been r eveal ed on t he j ur or quest i onnai r es. The
pr e- t r i al l ong quest i onnai r e asked:
36. Have you ever f i l ed a compl ai nt wi t h t he pol i ce agai nst
anyone?
J ur or 162 answer ed “No. ” As di scussed above, Quest i on 38( a)
si mi l ar l y asked whet her t he j ur or , a f ami l y member or cl ose
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f r i end had ever been wi t ness t o or t he vi ct i mof a cr i me. The
next sub- quest i on asked:
38( b) . Di d you or your f ami l y member or cl ose f r i end r epor t
t hat cr i me t o t he pol i ce or ot her l aw enf or cement
agency?
Because J ur or 162 answer ed “No” t o Quest i on 38( a) , she of f er ed no
i nf or mat i on i n r esponse t o Quest i on 38( b) . The r ecor d i ndi cat es
t hat not onl y di d J ur or 162 f i l e a pol i ce compl ai nt agai nst Ms.
Tat r o, but has f i l ed sever al ot her compl ai nt s wi t h pol i ce, most l y
per t ai ni ng t o noi se and ot her mi nor di sput es wi t h nei ghbor s.
Fel l al so ar gues t hat J ur or 162 l i ed about Ms. Tat r o’ s
physi cal abuse t owar d her son Pat r i ck. Dur i ng t he j ur or i nqui r y
i n August 2013, Fel l ’ s counsel asked J ur or 162 about speci f i c
i nst ances of al l eged abuse by Ms. Tat r o, i ncl udi ng l ocki ng
Pat r i ck out i n t he col d and dr aggi ng hi mdown t he st ai r s by hi s
hai r . J ur or 162 r esponded t hat “I don’ t know anyt hi ng about
t hat . Never hear d of t hat . ” Aug. 15, 2013 Hr ’ g Tr . at 169.
Fel l ar gues t hat t hi s t est i mony i s bel i ed by document s f r omt he
st at e cour t s, i ncl udi ng a 1995 f ami l y psychol ogi cal eval uat i on i n
whi ch Pat r i ck di scussed hi s mi st r eat ment . J ur or 162 subsequent l y
submi t t ed an af f i davi t di scussi ng t he cont ent s of t hat
eval uat i on. I n her Mar ch 2014 t est i mony, J ur or 162 ul t i mat el y
conceded t hat , “Lat er on, as t he year s pr ogr essed, my son t ol d me
cer t ai n t hi ngs t hat [ Tat r o] di d t o hi m, but I mysel f never
obser ved i t . ” Mar . 19, 2014 Hr ’ g Tr . at 156.
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Among J ur or 162' s appar ent omi ssi ons, per haps t he most
quest i onabl e per t ai ned t o her son’ s subst ance abuse and cr i mi nal
hi st or i es. The Cour t ’ s shor t quest i onnai r e asked:
“Have you, or anyone cl ose t o you, been a compl ai nant
i n a cr i mi nal case?”
Fel l Hr ’ g Ex. 2 at 2. J ur or 162 answer ed “No. ” She el abor at ed
( al t hough not i n di r ect r esponse t o t he quest i on posed) t hat “My
son was under Dept of Cor r ect i ons House ar r est f or DWI and
domest i c vi ol ence 16 year s ago. He i s now ass’ t manager at
Shaws, so he sur e has been a bet t er per son f or i t . ” Id.
The l ong quest i onnai r e asked:
43( a) . Have you or has a f ami l y member or cl ose f r i end ever
been char ged wi t h a cr i me?
Fel l Hr ’ g Ex. 3 at 19. J ur or 162 r esponded “Yes, ” and i n
r esponse t o Par t ( b) of t he same quest i on, aski ng about t he
r esul t of any pr osecut i on, st at ed: “( House ar r est ) my son – DWI +
domest i c abuse – He was under t he Dept of Cor r ect i ons f or 3 yr s –
I nt ense Counsel i ng – Best t hi ng ever happened t o hi m– he i s now
a di f f er ent per son. ” Par t ( d) of t hat same quest i on asked
whet her anyt hi ng i n her son’ s exper i ence woul d make i t di f f i cul t
f or J ur or 162 t o si t as a f ai r and i mpar t i al j ur or . She answer ed
“No, ” expl ai ni ng t hat “[ m] y son was t r eat ed f ai r l y and i t hel ped
hi mchange hi s l i f e. ” Id. at 21.
Fel l cont ends t hat by di scl osi ng onl y l i mi t ed cr i mi nal
conduct si xt een year s pr i or , house ar r est , and DOC super vi si on,
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J ur or 162 l i ed about her son’ s ext ensi ve cr i mi nal hi st or y. I n
suppor t , Fel l has i nt r oduced evi dence t o show t hat t hr ough t he
t i me of t r i al , J ur or 162' s son had been ar r est ed f or numer ous
cr i mes and convi ct ed of f our f el oni es. He ser ved t wo pr i son
t er ms, was subj ect ed t o mul t i pl e per i ods of par ol e and
super vi si on, and par t i ci pat ed i n mandat or y subst ance abuse and
domest i c abuse t r eat ment pr ogr ams.
Fel l ’ s post - convi ct i on counsel conf r ont ed J ur or 162 wi t h her
son’ s cr i mi nal hi st or y at t he August 2013 hear i ng. When asked
about det ai l s of a 1983 convi ct i on, whi ch i ncl uded gun t hef t ,
J ur or 162 r esponded t hat “I don’ t know anyt hi ng about t hat . ”
Aug. 15, 2013 Hr ’ g Tr . at 156. Fel l not es t hat i n 1996, J ur or
162 r ecal l ed dur i ng t he cour t - or der ed psychol ogi cal eval uat i on
t hat her son had st ol en guns. When counsel i nqui r ed about her
son’ s 1997 convi ct i on f or br eaki ng i nt o hi s gi r l f r i end’ s home,
J ur or 162 t est i f i ed: “I f what you ar e t el l i ng me i s t r ue, t hi s i s
t he f i r st I have hear d of i t , ” expl ai ni ng t hat her son had not
l i ved wi t h her “si nce he was l i ke 18 year s ol d. So a l ot of what
you ar e t el l i ng me I don’ t – I don’ t know anyt hi ng about i t . ”
Id. at 157.
Thi s l at t er asser t i on, t hat J ur or 162 was unawar e of her
son’ s convi ct i ons because t hey di d not l i ve t oget her , l acks
cr edi bi l i t y, as J ur or 162 and her son l i ved ei t her t oget her or i n
t he same i mmedi at e vi ci ni t y f or si gni f i cant per i ods of t i me over
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t he decades pr ecedi ng t he t r i al . Evi dence of t hei r cohabi t at i on
i ncl udes a bai l st at ement f r om1992, i n whi ch Pat r i ck l i st ed t he
same addr ess f or bot h hi msel f and hi s mot her . Fur t her mor e, i n
t he cour se of t he 1996 psychol ogi cal eval uat i on, J ur or 162 st at ed
t hat she and her son wer e l i vi ng t oget her , and t hat i t was
st r essf ul t o have her son at home. I n 1997, Pat r i ck l i st ed hi s
mot her as one of hi s t i es t o t he l ocal communi t y, t hus suggest i ng
a cl ose r el at i onshi p. I n 1998, he pr ovi ded a home addr ess t hat ,
i n pr evi ous document s, had been l i st ed as hi s mot her ’ s home. And
at t he Mar ch 18, 2014 hear i ng, wi t ness t est i mony cl ar i f i ed t hat
J ur or 162 and Pat r i ck l i ved i n adj acent apar t ment s at t he t i me of
hi s f our t h DWI ar r est i n 2001, and f or sever al year s t her eaf t er .
St at e cour t r ecor ds f ur t her i ndi cat e t hat , at l east as of
t he ear l y 1990s, J ur or 162 r egul ar l y spent t i me wi t h Pat r i ck’ s
son and was act i vel y i nvol ved i n f ami l y cour t pr oceedi ngs
i nvol vi ng her son and gr andson. I ndeed, J ur or 162 hi r ed an
at t or ney and f ought t o obt ai n vi si t at i on wi t h her gr andson. An
or der gr ant i ng such vi si t at i on was i ssued i n Apr i l 1997, j ust
pr i or t o Pat r i ck’ s ar r est f or t wo count s of si mpl e assaul t and
one count of f el ony unl awf ul t r espass. Thi s cl ose i nvol vement i n
f ami l y mat t er s r ender s i t i mpl ausi bl e t hat J ur or 162 was unawar e
of her son’ s pr obl ems wi t h t he l aw dur i ng t he year s i mmedi at el y
pr i or t o t r i al .
Fel l next cont ends t hat J ur or 162 di d not r epor t honest l y
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about her son’ s and her own t r eat ment f or subst ance abuse. When
asked about subst ance abuse pr obl ems on t he j ur or quest i onnai r e,
J ur or 162 r esponded, “my son – al cohol . ” I n her August 2013
t est i mony, t he j ur or st at ed her bel i ef t hat Pat r i ck saw an
“al cohol counsel or . . . at one t i me. ” Id. at 158. The evi dence
bef or e t he Cour t shows t hat J ur or 162' s son was t r eat ed f or
al cohol and dr ug abuse over a per i od of sever al year s, and t hat
J ur or 162 was awar e of much of t hi s t r eat ment . I n an af f i davi t
f i l ed i n t he cour se of her son’ s di vor ce pr oceedi ng, J ur or 162
st at ed:
Bet ween Oct ober 1992 and May 1995 my son, t he
Def endant , was l i vi ng i n var i ous f aci l i t i es and
i nst i t ut i ons as a r esul t of al cohol r el at ed i ssues and
cr i mi nal convi ct i ons. Thr oughout t hat per i od my son
r esi ded at Mapl e Leaf Far m, The Wi ndsor , Woodst ock,
Rut l and and Chi t t enden Cor r ect i onal Cent er s and Di smas
House i n Bur l i ngt on. Thr oughout t hat per i od I
t r anspor t ed [ her gr andson] t o see hi s f at her at hi s
var i ous l ocat i ons r egul ar l y and f ai t hf ul l y each
vi si t at i on per i od . . . . I essent i al l y t ook over my
son’ s vi si t at i on schedul e whi l e he was i ncar cer at ed.
ECF No. 512- 44 at 123- 24. I n Oct ober 2013, J ur or 162 di scl osed
t o t he Rut l and Her al d t hat her son’ s hi st or y of dr ug abuse began
when he was a t eenager . J ur or 162 her sel f al so r epor t edl y
r ecei ved t her apy f or al cohol abuse. Id. at 99.
I n her t est i mony on Mar ch 19, 2014, J ur or 162 suppl ement ed
some of her ear l i er st at ement s. As t o her son’ s subst ance abuse
t r eat ment s, she conceded t hat he had been t o Mapl e Leaf Far m
t wi ce, as wel l as Di smas House. Mar . 19, 2014 Hr ’ g Tr . at 206.
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She al so acknowl edged t hat her son had ser ved t i me i n pr i son.
Id. at 147. Wi t h r espect t o her t est i mony about not l i vi ng wi t h
her son si nce he was ei ght een, J ur or 162 expl ai ned t hat her son
had st ayed wi t h her “at i nt er mi t t ent t i mes . . . l i ke i n bet ween
apar t ment s and l i vi ng condi t i ons. ” Id. at 153. I n one such
i nst ance, he l i ved wi t h her “unt i l t he apar t ment next door t o me
opened up, and t hen he moved r i ght next door . ” Id.
6

Whi l e J ur or 162' s quest i onnai r e r esponses wer e pl ai nl y
l acki ng, she di d di scl ose suf f i ci ent i nf or mat i on about her son’ s
cr i mi nal hi st or y t o t r i gger quest i oni ng by counsel dur i ng voi r
di r e. Counsel ’ s i nqui r y pr oceeded as f ol l ows:
COUNSEL: Let me j ust back up a l i t t l e bi t and ask about –
t her e’ s goi ng t o be evi dence i n t hi s case t hat
Donni e’ s – wel l , f i r st of al l , r egar di ng Donni e
Fel l per sonal l y, was – abused al cohol and dr ugs
f r oma ver y, ver y young age, as young as ei ght
year s ol d. And so I amcur i ous as t o your own
per sonal exper i ence wi t h your son, whet her t hat i n
any way coul d af f ect your abi l i t y t o consi der t hat
as one of t he mi t i gat i ng ci r cumst ances?
J UROR: You asked me a har d quest i on. Dr ugs and al cohol
6
Fel l ’ s al l egat i ons of ot her f al se st at ement s by J ur or 162 ar e
not per suasi ve. Fel l cont ends t hat J ur or 162 deni ed t hat she or
anyone cl ose t o her had been a par t y i n a ci vi l sui t , ci t i ng f or
suppor t t he epi sode of embezzl ement and Pat r i ck’ s di vor ce and chi l d
cust ody pr oceedi ngs. The embezzl ement occur r ed decades ago. As t o
her son’ s cases, J ur or 162' s r ol e was l i mi t ed such t hat she may not
have r eal i zed she was f or mal l y a par t y t o t hose pr oceedi ngs.
Fel l al so cl ai ms t hat when asked her opi ni ons about t he f i el ds of
psychol ogy and psychi at r y, J ur or 162 st ar t ed t o make a negat i ve
st at ement , but had second t hought s, wr i t i ng: “I ami n t he heal t h car e
f i el d and r espect t he opi ni on of t hese peopl e, but . ” Fel l cont ends
t hat by st r i ki ng t he wor d “but , ” J ur or 162 was i nt ent i onal l y hi di ng
her hi st or y of psychi at r i c t r eat ment . The Cour t decl i nes t o make t hi s
i nf er ence.
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can do a l ot t o you, yes, f r ommy own per sonal
exper i ence wi t h my son.
COUNSEL: Al l r i ght . So my quest i on i s –
J UROR: But he – I mean, my son, you know, was
r ehabi l i t at ed, t hr ough t he cor r ect i onal – t hr ough
cor r ect i ons, whi ch was t he best t hi ng t hat ever
happened t o hi m. So t hat ’ s a har d quest i on.
COUNSEL: Was t he oppor t uni t y t hat your son had, t hat was
pr ovi ded t hr ough t he Depar t ment of Cor r ect i ons,
somet hi ng t hat you t hought was si gni f i cant ?
J UROR: Ver y si gni f i cant .
COUNSEL: And how so?
J UROR: Because he had some t ough, t ough l ear ni ng t hi ngs,
t ough t hi ngs t o go t hr ough t o over come hi s
pr obl em.
COUNSEL: What di d i t t ake hi mt o get i nt er vent i on? The
aut hor i t y? What di d i t t ake t o get hi mt o a poi nt
wher e aut hor i t y had –
J UROR: I t t ook cor r ect i ons comi ng t o hi s house
per i odi cal l y. I t t ook goi ng t o meet i ngs ever y
week. I t t ook l osi ng hi s dr i ver ’ s l i cense. I
mean, i t t ook a l ot . He hi t t he bot t ombef or e he
went t o t he t op, yeah.
J ur or Voi r Di r e 9 at 136- 37. Counsel di d not i nqui r e any f ur t her
about Pat r i ck’ s cr i mi nal hi st or y.
The Cour t begi ns i t s l egal anal ysi s wi t h t he semi nal
McDonough deci si on. I n McDonough, t he Supr eme Cour t addr essed a
par t y’ s r i ght t o a new t r i al based upon a j ur or ’ s non- di scl osur es
dur i ng voi r di r e. The Cour t not ed t he i mpor t ance of voi r di r e
f or expl or i ng possi bl e bi as.
Voi r di r e exami nat i on ser ves t o pr ot ect [ t he r i ght t o
an i mpar t i al j ur y] by exposi ng possi bl e bi ases, bot h
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known and unknown, on t he par t of pot ent i al j ur or s.
Demonst r at ed bi as i n t he r esponses t o quest i ons on voi r
di r e may r esul t i n a j ur or bei ng excused f or cause;
hi nt s of bi as not suf f i ci ent t o war r ant chal l enge f or
cause may assi st par t i es i n exer ci si ng t hei r per empt or y
chal l enges. The necessi t y of t r ut hf ul answer s by
pr ospect i ve j ur or s i f t hi s pr ocess i s t o ser ve i t s
pur pose i s obvi ous.
McDonough, 464 U. S. at 554. McDonough al so not ed t hat l i t i gant s
ar e “ent i t l ed t o a f ai r t r i al but not a per f ect one, f or t her e
ar e no per f ect t r i al s. ” Id. at 553 ( i nt er nal quot at i ons mar ks
and ci t at i ons omi t t ed) . Fur t her mor e, t he Cour t concl uded, “t r i al
r epr esent s an i mpor t ant i nvest ment of pr i vat e and soci al
r esour ces, and i t i l l ser ves t he i mpor t ant end of f i nal i t y t o
wi pe t he sl at e cl ean si mpl y t o r ecr eat e t he per empt or y chal l enge
pr ocess because counsel l acked an i t emof i nf or mat i on whi ch
obj ect i vel y he shoul d have obt ai ned f r oma j ur or on voi r di r e
exami nat i on. ” Id. at 555.
McDonough was a per sonal i nj ur y case ar i si ng f r oma
l awnmower acci dent . Dur i ng voi r di r e, pr ospect i ve j ur or s wer e
asked whet her t hey or any of t hei r f ami l y member s had ever
suf f er ed an i nj ur y t hat r esul t ed i n di sabi l i t y or pr ol onged pai n
and suf f er i ng. The j ur y ul t i mat el y f ound i n f avor of t he
pl ai nt i f f , and t he def endant moved f or a new t r i al based upon t he
di scover y t hat one j ur or , havi ng answer ed t he voi r di r e quest i on
i n t he negat i ve, had a son who had sust ai ned a br oken l eg when
i nj ur ed by an expl odi ng t r uck t i r e. “When quest i oned af t er war ds,
t he j ur or r epor t edl y expl ai ned t hat he di d not consi der t hat
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i nj ur y t o be ‘ sever e’ or t o have r esul t ed i n a ‘ di sabi l i t y. ’ ”
United States v. Shaoul, 41 F. 3d 811, 815 ( 2d Ci r . 1994) ( quot i ng
McDonough, 464 U. S. at 552 n. 3) . The McDonough Cour t det er mi ned
t hat t he j ur or ’ s r esponse was “mi st aken, t hough honest ” based
upon hi s under st andi ng of t he quest i on, and t hat no new t r i al was
r equi r ed. McDonough, 464 U. S. at 555.
7

McDonough est abl i shed t he st andar d f or r el i ef i n j ur or non-
di scl osur e cases. The Cour t hel d t hat i n or der t o obt ai n a new
t r i al based upon j ur or non- di scl osur e, “a par t y must f i r st
demonst r at e t hat a j ur or f ai l ed t o answer honest l y a mat er i al
quest i on on voi r di r e, and t hen f ur t her show t hat a cor r ect
r esponse woul d have pr ovi ded a val i d basi s f or a chal l enge f or
cause. ” Id. at 556.
8
Accor di ngl y, a good f ai t h f ai l ur e t o
r espond cor r ect l y t o a quest i on does not al one war r ant a new
t r i al . Shaoul, 41 F. 3d at 815–16.
Under McDonough, Fel l must f i r st demonst r at e “j ur or
di shonest y” dur i ng voi r di r e. Id. Voi r di r e i n t hi s case was
compr i sed of mul t i pl e phases, i ncl udi ng t he compl et i on of t he
7
Whi l e McDonough was a ci vi l case, subsequent cases have
appl i ed i t i n t he cr i mi nal cont ext . See, e.g., Stewart, 433 F. 3d at
303; United States v. Greer, 285 F. 3d 158, 170–71 ( 2d Ci r . 2002) ;
United States v. Colombo, 869 F. 2d 149, 151–52 ( 2d Ci r . 1989) .
8
I n hi s concur r ence, J ust i ce Br ennnan, j oi ned by J ust i ce
Mar shal l , cr i t i ci zed t hi s l egal st andar d: “I n my vi ew, t he pr oper
f ocus when r ul i ng on a mot i on f or new t r i al i n t hi s si t uat i on shoul d
be on bi as of t he j ur or and t he r esul t i ng pr ej udi ce t o t he l i t i gant . ”
Id. at 557. As di scussed bel ow, cour t s have hel d t hat i n addi t i on t o
t he McDonough t est , a par t y may seek r el i ef by showi ng act ual or
i mpl i ed bi as.
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shor t and l ong quest i onnai r es, f ol l owed by i ndi vi dual quest i oni ng
by t he Cour t and counsel . Fel l ar gues t hat J ur or 162 was
di shonest wi t h r espect t o her past sexual abuse, cr i mes commi t t ed
agai nst her and her son, her son’ s cr i mi nal and subst ance abuse
hi st or i es, and her own subst ance abuse.
I n det er mi ni ng t he cr edi bi l i t y of J ur or 162' s quest i onnai r e
r esponse wi t h r egar d t o sexual abuse, t he Cour t i s mi ndf ul of t he
f act t hat t he abuse occur r ed many decades bef or e t he Fel l t r i al .
The Cour t al so not es t hat t he j ur or quest i onnai r es asked about
“cr i me. ” J ur or 162 t est i f i ed t hat she di d not consi der her
adopt i ve f at her ’ s abuse, f or whi ch he was never pr osecut ed or
puni shed, a cr i me. Al t hough t he j ur or agr eed t hat sexual abuse
of a chi l d i s “nowadays” a cr i me, she cont r ast ed at t i t udes t owar d
sexual abuse “back i n t hose days. ” Mar . 19, 2014 Hr ’ g Tr . at
186.
The evi dence shows t hat J ur or 162 has di scussed her sexual
abuse i n t he r ecent past , i ncl udi ng di scussi ons wi t h nei ghbor s.
The Cour t t her ef or e di scr edi t s her t est i mony t o t he ef f ect t hat
she has compl et el y f or got t en about t he abuse. Nonet hel ess, i t i s
concei vabl e t hat t he i nqui r y about “cr i me” di d not pr ompt J ur or
162 t o di scl ose t hat exper i ence on her quest i onnai r es.
The j ur or ’ s f ai l ur e t o di scl ose t hat she had been t he vi ct i m
of embezzl ement i s equal l y under st andabl e. Agai n, t he of f ense
t ook pl ace decades bef or e t he Fel l t r i al , and t her e was never an
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ar r est , pr osecut i on, or convi ct i on. See, e.g., Dyer v. Calderon,
151 F. 3d 970, 973 ( 9t h Ci r . 1998) ( expl ai ni ng t hat cour t s “must
be t ol er ant , as j ur or s may f or get i nci dent s l ong bur i ed i n t hei r
mi nds, mi sunder st and a quest i on or bend t he t r ut h a bi t t o avoi d
embar r assment ”) .
J ur or 162' s r esponses wi t h r egar d t o Ms. Tat r o ar e mor e
di f f i cul t t o r econci l e. I t i s concei vabl e t hat epi sodes of
domest i c vi ol ence wer e not consi der ed by t he j ur or t o have been
cr i mi nal act s. However , t he assaul t on J ur or 162 and her husband
t hat gave r i se t o a pol i ce compl ai nt , and Ms. Tat r o’ s
pr osecut i on, ar guabl y shoul d have been di scl osed. Agai n,
however , t her e was a si gni f i cant l apse of t i me bet ween t hose
event s, whi ch occur r ed i n 1982, and t he Fel l j ur y sel ect i on i n
2005. J ur or 162 al so t est i f i ed t hat , as she r ecal l ed, i t was her
husband who f i l ed t he pol i ce compl ai nt agai nst Ms. Tat r o. Mar .
19, 2014 Hr ’ g Tr . at 197. The Cour t i s not per suaded t hat t he
j ur or was i nt ent i onal l y di shonest i n t hi s r egar d.
The r ecor d wi t h r espect t o J ur or 162' s son, and hi s
subst ant i al cr i mi nal and subst ance abuse r ecor ds, al so pr esent s a
cl ose quest i on wi t h r espect t o t he j ur or ’ s di shonest y. J ur or 162
di scl osed t hat her son had a cr i mi nal r ecor d, i ncl udi ng DWI and
domest i c assaul t s. That she ser i ousl y under - r epor t ed hi s
cr i mi nal hi st or y i s undi sput ed. However , t he wr i t t en j ur or
quest i onnai r es must be vi ewed i n cont ext . The l ong quest i onnai r e
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i n par t i cul ar consi st ed of 75 quest i ons not i ncl udi ng sub- par t s.
When pr ompt ed t o di scl ose f ami l y cr i mi nal hi st or y, J ur or 162
exceeded t he space pr ovi ded, and essent i al l y gave a shor t
synopsi s of her son’ s cr i mi nal past . I ndeed, whi l e Pat r i ck di d
have sever al ar r est s and convi ct i ons, t he maj or i t y of hi s
of f enses coul d be summar i zed as ei t her “DWI ” or “domest i c abuse. ”
At voi r di r e, counsel had t he oppor t uni t y t o del ve deeper
i nt o J ur or 162' s own hi st or y and t hat of her son. The Cour t
f i nds t hat her r esponses t o counsel ’ s quest i ons wer e nei t her
evasi ve nor di shonest . When counsel i nqui r ed about t he pot ent i al
i mpact of her son’ s hi st or y, t he j ur or conceded t hat i t was a
di f f i cul t quest i on. She acknowl edged t hat she had seen t he
ef f ect s of dr ugs and al cohol , and t hat her son had been t hr ough
har d t i mes. Her answer s al so suggest ed t hat her son had been
under admi ni st r at i ve super vi si on, par ol e, and/ or r ehabi l i t at i ve
pr ogr ammi ng, wi t h “cor r ect i ons comi ng t o t he house per i odi cal l y”
and “meet i ngs ever y week. ” J ur or Voi r Di r e 9 at 137.
Vi ewed i n t hi s cont ext , t he j ur or ’ s f ai l ur e t o f ul l y r epor t
t he ext ent of her son’ s many convi ct i ons does not appear t o be
t he r esul t of di shonest y. Fi r st , t he st r uct ur e of t he j ur or
quest i onnai r es di d not pr ovi de f or or i nvi t e l engt hy di scussi ons
of cr i mi nal hi st or i es. Second, t he j ur or di scl osed suf f i ci ent
i nf or mat i on f or counsel t o pr obe f ur t her , and counsel di d so onl y
t o a ver y l i mi t ed ext ent . See Lopez v. Aramark Uniform & Career
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Apparel, Inc., 417 F. Supp. 2d 1062, 1070 ( N. D. I owa 2006)
( not i ng i n j ur or non- di scl osur e case t hat “t he bet t er appr oach
pl aces t he bur den on counsel t o ask quest i ons of a speci f i c
nat ur e wi t h r espect t o f act s t hat may be i mpor t ant i n voi r
di r e”) ; see also McDonough, 464 U. S. at 555 ( st at i ng t hat a new
t r i al shoul d not gr ant ed “because counsel l acked an i t emof
i nf or mat i on whi ch obj ect i vel y he shoul d have obt ai ned f r oma
j ur or on voi r di r e exami nat i on”) . Whi l e t hese f act s may be
r el evant t o Fel l ’ s ( yet t o be l i t i gat ed) cl ai ms of i nef f ect i ve
assi st ance of counsel , t hey do not f avor gr ant i ng r el i ef on hi s
j ur or mi sconduct cl ai m.
Thi s i s not t o say t hat J ur or 162' s t est i mony dur i ng t hi s
post - convi ct i on pr oceedi ng has been compl et el y f or t hcomi ng. To
t he cont r ar y, sever al of her st at ement s bef or e t he Cour t di d not
r i ng t r ue, i ncl udi ng t he suggest i on t hat she has compl et el y
f or got t en about her exper i ence of sexual abuse, and t hat she was
unawar e of much of her son’ s cr i mi nal hi st or y. The Cour t
di st i ngui shes, however , bet ween t he j ur or ’ s per f or mance whi l e
compl et i ng a l engt hy pr e- t r i al quest i onnai r e, and her behavi or
dur i ng a cont est ed t est i moni al hear i ng at whi ch her cr edi bi l i t y
was bei ng quest i oned.
Whi l e st at ement s dur i ng a post - convi ct i on hear i ng ar e
gener al l y r el evant t o cr edi bi l i t y, and may suppor t a f i ndi ng of
j ur or di shonest y, see Sampson II, 724 F. 3d at 163, t hey ar e
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di f f er ent i n nat ur e f r ompr e- t r i al di scl osur es. Once cal l ed i nt o
Cour t , J ur or 162 had r eason t o be def ensi ve about her r esponses.
The exper i ence of t est i f yi ng was cl ear l y st r essf ul f or t he j ur or ,
as at one poi nt t he Cour t was compel l ed t o cal l a r ecess af t er
she became emot i onal and agi t at ed. Test i f yi ng i n t hat sor t of
host i l e si t uat i on di f f er s si gni f i cant l y f r omcompl et i ng a
quest i onnai r e, or answer i ng unt hr eat eni ng quest i ons f r omdef ense
counsel at voi r di r e. Accor di ngl y, t he Cour t does not vi ew J ur or
162' s l ack of cr edi bi l i t y i n t hese r ecent pr oceedi ngs as
necessar i l y di scr edi t i ng her r esponses ei ght year s pr i or dur i ng
t he j ur y sel ect i on pr ocess.
The Cour t ’ s vi ew of J ur or 162' s cr edi bi l i t y i s al so t emper ed
by her per sonal hi st or y and cour t r oomdemeanor . J ur or 162 has
l i ved t hr ough sever al t r agedi es and was t wi ce i nst i t ut i onal i zed.
The j ur or ’ s r ecent per sonal hi st or y i ncl udes numer ous conf l i ct s
wi t h nei ghbor s, and t her e was t est i mony suggest i ng al cohol
dependency. Thr oughout t he cour se of i nt ense exami nat i on by
Fel l ’ s post - convi ct i on counsel , t he j ur or ’ s i nsi st ence upon her
honest y was consi st ent and vehement . She was at t i mes emot i onal ,
but most l y i n r esponse t o accusat i ons of l yi ng. Fi nal l y, whet her
J ur or 162 has f ul l y accept ed her son’ s hi st or y of cr i mi nal i t y and
subst ance abuse, or her own di f f i cul t past , i s not cl ear , and t he
r ol e of any possi bl e deni al was di f f i cul t t o ascer t ai n i n a
cour t r oomset t i ng.
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McDonough r equi r es a movi ng par t y t o show t hat “a j ur or
f ai l ed t o answer honest l y a mat er i al quest i on on voi r di r e. ” 464
U. S. at 556. Her e, Fel l has f ai l ed t o show t hat J ur or 162' s
r esponses on t he j ur or quest i onnai r e and dur i ng voi r di r e, whi l e
i ncompl et e, wer e act ual l y di shonest .
9

Because t he quest i on of J ur or 162' s honest y i s a cl ose one,
t he Cour t wi l l consi der ot her f act or s i n t he McDonough anal ysi s.
Wr i t i ng f or t he Cour t i n McDonough, t hen- J ust i ce Rehnqui st not ed
t hat “[ t ] he mot i ves f or conceal i ng i nf or mat i on may var y, but onl y
t hose r easons t hat af f ect a j ur or ’ s i mpar t i al i t y can t r ul y be
sai d t o af f ect t he f ai r ness of a t r i al . ” 464 U. S. at 556; Greer,
285 F. 3d at 172- 73 ( movant must show t hat j ur or ’ s di shonest y
“evi denced par t i al i t y”) ; Sampson I, 820 F. Supp. 2d at 173 ( “as
ar t i cul at ed by McDonough, t he par t y seeki ng r el i ef must show a
mot i ve t hat cal l s t he j ur or ’ s i mpar t i al i t y i nt o quest i on”) .
9
Fel l compar es t hi s case t o t he f act s i n Sampson, i n whi ch a
deat h sent ence was vacat ed on t he basi s of McDonough. Wi t h r espect t o
j ur or di shonest y, t he di f f er ences bet ween t he t wo cases ar e st ar k. I n
Sampson, t he j ur or deni ed on her quest i onnai r e any per sonal or f ami l y
exper i ence wi t h dr ugs, cr i me, or pr i son, and f ai l ed t o di scl ose t hat
she had a daught er . Dur i ng t he Sect i on 2255 pr oceedi ng, she admi t t ed
t hat she had l i ed, and t hat i n f act her husband r egul ar l y abused
al cohol and mar i j uana, had “menaced” her wi t h a shot gun, and had
vi ol at ed an abuse pr event i on or der . The j ur or al so admi t t ed t hat she
had a daught er , and t hat t he daught er was a cocai ne addi ct who had
ser ved t i me i n pr i son. The j ur or t est i f i ed t hat she “had t r i ed t o
f or get about t hese exper i ences because t hi nki ng of t hemwas ‘ ki l l i ng’
her , ” and t hat she had been “unwi l l i ng t o admi t t hat such event s coul d
happen i n her f ami l y. ” Sampson II, 724 F. 3d at 162. J ur or 162, i n
cont r ast , r eveal ed not onl y t hat she has a son, but a son wi t h
subst ance abuse i ssues and a cr i mi nal r ecor d. J ur or 162 al so
mai nt ai ns t hat she di d not l i e dur i ng voi r di r e.
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Whet her J ust i ce Rehnqui st ’ s st at ement const i t ut es an i ndependent
r equi r ement under McDonough i s unset t l ed.
10
Nonet hel ess, Fel l
has f ai l ed t o show t hat J ur or 162' s di shonest y, i f any,
demonst r at ed a par t i al i t y t hat af f ect ed t he f ai r ness of t r i al .
Fel l cont ends t hat J ur or 162 was dr i ven by an i mpr oper
10
The Four t h Ci r cui t t r eat s mot i ve as an addi t i onal pr ong of
t he McDonough t est . See McNeill v. Polk, 476 F. 3d 206, 224 n. 8 ( 4t h
Ci r . 2007) ( Ki ng, J . , concur r i ng i n par t and concur r i ng i n t he
j udgment ) ( r ef er r i ng t o mot i ve as t he “t hi r d pr ong” of McDonough) ;
Conaway v. Polk, 453 F. 3d 567, 588 ( 4t h Ci r . 2006) ( “Even wher e, as
her e, t he t wo par t s of t he McDonough t est have been sat i sf i ed, a
j ur or ’ s bi as i s onl y est abl i shed under McDonough i f t he j ur or ’ s
‘ mot i ves f or conceal i ng i nf or mat i on’ or t he ‘ r easons t hat af f ect [ t he]
j ur or ’ s i mpar t i al i t y can t r ul y be sai d t o af f ect t he f ai r ness of [ t he]
t r i al ’ ”) ( ci t i ng McDonough, 464 U. S. at 556) . The Ni nt h Ci r cui t has
si mi l ar l y concl uded t hat “[ u] nder McDonough, a new t r i al i s war r ant ed
onl y i f . . . [ t he j ur or ’ s] r easons f or maki ng t he di shonest r esponse
cal l her i mpar t i al i t y i nt o quest i on. ” Pope v. Man-Data, Inc., 209
F. 3d 1161, 1164 ( 9t h Ci r . 2000) . The Second Ci r cui t , whi l e not
assi gni ng mot i ve i t s own pr ong, has acknowl edged t hat t he j ur or ’ s
r eason f or l yi ng must have a “bear i ng on [ t he j ur or ’ s] i mpar t i al i t y. ”
United States v. Langford, 990 F. 2d 65, 68 ( 2d Ci r . 1993) . I n
Langford, t he di st r i ct cour t f ound no basi s f or a new t r i al because
t he j ur or ’ s mot i ve f or di shonest y – her embar r assment about a pr i or
pr ost i t ut i on convi ct i on – di d not show par t i al i t y. Id. at 69- 70. The
Second Ci r cui t af f i r med, and has si nce cl ar i f i ed t hat i n r eachi ng t hi s
concl usi on, t he Langford cour t was “f ocused on t he second pr ong of t he
McDonough t est , ” i.e., whet her t he j ur or woul d have been subj ect t o a
val i d chal l enge f or cause based upon non- di scl osur es. Shaoul, 41 F. 3d
at 815. I n Colombo, a j ur or f ai l ed t o di scl ose t hat her br ot her - i n-
l aw was an at t or ney f or t he gover nment because she f ear ed t hat
di scl osur e woul d r ender her i nel i gi bl e t o ser ve. The j ur or al so
f ai l ed t o di scl ose her bel i ef t hat one of t he l ocat i ons wher e
def endant s wer e al l eged t o have conspi r ed was a “hang out f or
gangst er s. ” 869 F. 2d at 150. The Second Ci r cui t di d not al i gn ei t her
st at ement wi t h a speci f i c McDonough pr ong, but has si nce not ed t hat
because t he Colombo “j ur or admi t t ed not onl y conceal ment , but
conceal ment of f act s f r omwhi ch speci f i c bi as coul d be i nf er r ed, t he
al l eged l i es, i f est abl i shed, woul d demonst r at e bot h di shonest y and
par t i al i t y and woul d sat i sf y bot h pr ongs of t he McDonough t est . ”
Stewart, 433 F. 3d at 305; see also Greer, 285 F. 3d at 172- 73 ( “[ i ] t
was not si mpl y t hat t he l i es [ i n Colombo] wer e del i ber at e, but t hat
t he deliberateness of the particular lies evidenced partiality”)
( emphasi s i n or i gi nal ) .
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desi r e t o be sel ect ed as a j ur or . I f pr oven, t hi s ar gument woul d
demonst r at e a mot i ve t hat i ndi cat es par t i al i t y, and woul d t hus
pr ovi de a val i d basi s f or r el i ef . See Dyer, 151 F. 3d at 983;
United States v. Daugerdas, 867 F. Supp. 2d 445, 468 ( S. D. N. Y.
2012) . Fel l ’ s br i ef ar gues t hat J ur or 162' s mot i ve i s r eveal ed
by her quest i onnai r es, i n whi ch she ci t ed her i nt er est s i n t r ue
cr i me books, cour t t el evi si on, and comment at or s such as Nancy
Gr ace. J ur or 162 al so di scl osed her at t ent i on t o hi gh pr of i l e
cr i mi nal pr oceedi ngs such as t he Mi chael J ackson case, t he Scot t
Pet er son case, and t he O. J . Si mpson case. J ur or 162 conf i r med a
keen i nt er est i n t r i al s i n her August 2013 t est i mony. Based upon
t hese f act s, Fel l cont ends t hat J ur or 162 desi r ed t o be sel ect ed
as a j ur or , and t hat “[ h] er behavi or dur i ng voi r di r e . . . was
i n ser vi ce of t hi s goal . ” ECF No. 509 at 104. Fel l al so ar gues
t hat J ur or 162' s di shonest y al one i s evi dence of her desi r e t o be
r et ai ned as a j ur or .
Fel l ’ s mot i ve ar gument i s based l ar gel y upon ci r cumst ant i al
evi dence and si gni f i cant specul at i on. I f J ur or 162 was i n f act
di shonest , i t i s unknown whet her her di shonest y was based upon
her desi r e t o be sel ect ed f or t he j ur y, or upon some ot her
i nt er est t hat may or may not be r el evant t o her par t i al i t y. See
generally Wood v. Bartholomew, 516 U. S. 1, 8 ( 1995) ( st at i ng t hat
a f eder al cour t cannot gr ant “habeas r el i ef on t he basi s of
l i t t l e mor e t han specul at i on wi t h sl i ght suppor t ”) . Whi l e t her e
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i s evi dence t o suggest t hat J ur or 162 enj oys t r i al s and may have
want ed t o be sel ect ed, t hat evi dence does not est abl i sh whet her
her di shonest y, i f any, was dr i ven by t hat desi r e. See United
States v. Greer, 998 F. Supp. 399, 407 ( D. Vt . 1998) ( “The Cour t
wi l l not at t r i but e a mal i ci ous desi gn t o a j ur or wher e t he
evi dence does not i ndi cat e one. ”) .
The r eason f or a j ur or ’ s di shonest y need not necessar i l y be
ei t her expr ess or nef ar i ous. For exampl e, i n Sampson, t he
j ur or ’ s di shonest y was l i nked t o her i nabi l i t y t o admi t t o a
f ami l y hi st or y of vi ol ence, dr ugs, and i ncar cer at i on. The
di st r i ct cour t det er mi ned t hat t he j ur or ’ s cl ear emot i onal
di st r ess about t hese i ssues woul d have, i n t ur n, r ender ed her
unabl e t o be i mpar t i al when such i ssues came t o l i ght . Sampson
I, 820 F. Supp. 2d at 194 ( concl udi ng t hat t he j ur or ’ s “r easons
f or l yi ng dur i ng voi r di r e r ef l ect her deep emot i onal di st r ess
about event s si mi l ar t o t hose pr esent ed i n t he t r i al and ar e,
t her ef or e, ‘ r easons t hat af f ect [ her ] i mpar t i al i t y. ’ ”) ( quot i ng
McDonough, 464 U. S. at 556) . On appeal , t he Fi r st Ci r cui t agr eed
wi t h t he di st r i ct cour t ’ s f act ual f i ndi ngs and appl i cat i on of t he
l aw.
[ The j ur or ’ s] di spl ay of emot i onal di st r ess i l l umi nat es
[ her ] mot i ves f or l yi ng. The McDonough Cour t made
cl ear t hat “onl y t hose r easons [ f or l yi ng] t hat af f ect
a j ur or ’ s i mpar t i al i t y can t r ul y be sai d t o af f ect t he
f ai r ness of a t r i al . ” 464 U. S. at 556. Her e, i t i s
f ar mor e l i kel y t han not t hat —as t he di st r i ct cour t
f ound—J ur or C’ s r easons f or l yi ng about P and J
i mpai r ed her abi l i t y t o deci de t he case sol el y on t he
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evi dence. The magni t ude of J ur or C' s emot i onal
di st r ess st r ongl y suggest s t hat i t woul d have been a
Si syphean t ask f or her t o separ at e t he evi dence
pr esent ed at t he penal t y- phase hear i ng f r omher i nt ense
f eel i ngs about her own l i f e exper i ences.
Sampson II, 724 F. 3d at 167.
I n t hi s case, agai n assumi ng di shonest y, Fel l has not
demonst r at ed t hat J ur or 162 had a mot i ve f or l yi ng. Unl i ke t he
j ur or i n Sampson, J ur or 162 di scl osed t hat her son has a hi st or y
of subst ance abuse and cr i mi nal i t y. Mor eover , whi l e t he Sampson
j ur or admi t t ed t o l yi ng, J ur or 162 mai nt ai ns t hat she di d not l i e
and has pr ovi ded sever al expl anat i ons f or why she answer ed her
shor t and l ong quest i onnai r es as she di d. Whi l e t he Cour t and
t he par t i es may specul at e about ot her r easons and mot i vat i ons f or
her f ai l ur e t o pr ovi de mor e t hor ough i nf or mat i on dur i ng voi r
di r e, t her e i s i nsuf f i ci ent evi dence t o suppor t a f i ndi ng t hat
her “mot i ves f or conceal i ng i nf or mat i on . . . af f ect [ ed her ]
i mpar t i al i t y. ” McDonough, 464 U. S. at 556.
I f t he Cour t assumes bot h di shonest y and a mot i ve t hat
sat i sf i es t he McDonough cr i t er i a, i t must next consi der whet her
J ur or 162 woul d have been subj ect t o a val i d chal l enge f or cause.
Id. Under t hi s pr ong of McDonough, “t he t est i s not whet her t he
t r ue f act s woul d compel t he Cour t t o r emove a j ur or f or cause,
but r at her whet her a t r ut hf ul r esponse ‘ woul d have pr ovi ded a
val i d basi s f or a chal l enge f or cause. ’ ” Daugerdas, 867 F. Supp.
2d at 470 ( quot i ng McDonough, 464 U. S. at 556) . Accor di ngl y, t he
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cour t must “det er mi ne i f i t woul d have gr ant ed t he hypot het i cal
chal l enge. ” Greer, 285 F. 3d at 171.
I n t he Second Ci r cui t , a j ur or may be chal l enged f or cause
on t he basi s of act ual , i mpl i ed, or i nf er r ed bi as. See United
States v. Torres, 128 F. 3d 38, 43 ( 2d Ci r . 1997) . “Act ual bi as
i s ‘ bi as i n f act . ’ ” Id. ( quot i ng United States v. Wood, 299 U. S.
123, 133 ( 1936) ) ; see also Greer, 285 F. 3d at 171. “A j ur or i s
f ound by t he j udge t o be par t i al ei t her because t he j ur or admi t s
par t i al i t y . . . or t he j udge f i nds act ual par t i al i t y based upon
t he j ur or ’ s voi r di r e answer s. ” Torres, 128 F. 3d at 43; see,
e.g., Hughes v. United States, 258 F. 3d 453, 456, 460 ( 6t h Ci r .
2001) ( r equi r i ng a new t r i al af t er seat ed j ur or had expr essed
bi as agai nst def ense based on her r el at i onshi ps wi t h l aw
enf or cement of f i cer s) .
Act ual bi as i s gener al l y evi denced by “expr ess pr oof . ”
United States v. Haynes, 398 F. 2d 980, 984 ( 2d Ci r . 1968) . For
exampl e, i n Torres, a j ur or t est i f i ed t hat because of hi s
exper i ence wi t h dr ug deal er s, he woul d not be abl e t o f ai r l y
j udge t he cr edi bi l i t y of a wi t ness who had deal t dr ugs, st at i ng
t hat “I t hi nk t hey’ r e t he wor st peopl e on ear t h and I woul dn’ t
bel i eve t hemno mat t er what t hey sai d. ” 128 F. 3d at 44. Her e,
J ur or 162 di d not admi t t o any such par t i al i t y. Nor i s t her e any
suggest i on t hat her voi r di r e r esponses wer e equi vocal when asked
i f she coul d be i mpar t i al . Accor di ngl y, t he Cour t woul d not have
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gr ant ed a hypot het i cal chal l enge on t he basi s of act ual bi as.
I mpl i ed bi as, al so known as pr esumed bi as, i s bi as t hat i s
pr esumed as a mat t er of l aw. See id. at 45. “I n cont r ast t o t he
i nqui r y f or act ual bi as, whi ch f ocuses on whet her t he r ecor d at
voi r di r e suppor t s a f i ndi ng t hat t he j ur or was i n f act par t i al ,
t he i ssue f or i mpl i ed bi as i s whet her an aver age per son i n t he
posi t i on of t he j ur or i n cont r over sy woul d be pr ej udi ced. ” Id.
Adher i ng t o “J ust i ce O’ Connor ’ s admoni t i on t hat i mpl i ed bi as
shoul d be r eser ved f or ‘ ext r eme si t uat i ons, ’ ” Greer, 285 F. 3d at
172 ( quot i ng Smith, 455 U. S. at 222 ( O’ Connor , J . , concur r i ng) ) ,
t he Second Ci r cui t has “caut i oned t hat ‘ aut omat i cal l y pr esumed
bi as deal s mai nl y wi t h j ur or s who ar e r el at ed t o t he par t i es or
who wer e vi ct i ms of t he al l eged cr i me i t sel f . ’ ” Id. ( quot i ng
Torres, 128 F. 3d at 45) . J ur or 162 had no such r el at i onshi ps t o
t he par t i es, counsel , or t he cr i me i t sel f , and her omi ssi ons
dur i ng voi r di r e di d not pr esent t he sor t of “ext r eme si t uat i on”
t hat woul d qual i f y f or pr esumpt i ve bi as. Id.
The Second Ci r cui t has al so r ecogni zed a t hi r d f or mof
par t i al i t y, known as i nf er r ed bi as, appl i cabl e i n “a f ew
ci r cumst ances t hat i nvol ve no showi ng of act ual bi as, and t hat
f al l out si de of t he i mpl i ed bi as cat egor y, wher e a cour t may,
never t hel ess, pr oper l y deci de t o excuse a j ur or . ” Torres, 128
F. 3d at 46- 47. “Bi as may be i nf er r ed when a j ur or di scl oses a
f act t hat bespeaks a r i sk of par t i al i t y suf f i ci ent l y si gni f i cant
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t o war r ant gr ant i ng t he t r i al j udge di scr et i on t o excuse t he
j ur or f or cause, but not so gr eat as t o make mandat or y a
pr esumpt i on of bi as. ” Id. at 47. I n Torres, t he Second Ci r cui t
decl i ned t o “consi der t he pr eci se scope of a t r i al j udge’ s
di scr et i on t o i nf er bi as. ” Id.
I t i s enough f or t he pr esent t o not e t hat cases i n
whi ch a j ur or has engaged i n act i vi t i es t hat cl osel y
appr oxi mat e t hose of t he def endant on t r i al ar e
par t i cul ar l y apt . The exer ci se of t he t r i al j udge’ s
di scr et i on t o gr ant chal l enges f or cause on t he basi s
of i nf er r ed bi as i s especi al l y appr opr i at e i n such
si t uat i ons. “Because [ i n such cases] t he bi as of a
j ur or wi l l r ar el y be admi t t ed by t he j ur or hi msel f ,
‘ par t l y because t he j ur or may have an i nt er est i n
conceal i ng hi s own bi as and par t l y because t he j ur or
may be unawar e of i t , ’ [ par t i al i t y] necessar i l y must be
i nf er r ed f r omsur r oundi ng f act s and ci r cumst ances. ”
McDonough Power Equip., 464 U. S. at 558 ( Br ennan, J . ,
concur r i ng) ( ci t at i on omi t t ed) .
Id.
11
“Ther ef or e, t he doct r i ne of i nf er abl e bi as, whi ch cour t s
have l ong ‘ i mpl i ci t l y assumed t o exi st , ’ Torres, 128 F. 3d at 43,
per mi t s a cour t i n i t s di scr et i on t o di smi ss a j ur or because of
an i nf er ence t hat t he j ur or wi l l not be abl e t o deci de t he case
based sol el y on t he evi dence. ” Daugerdas, 867 F. Supp. 2d at
11
I n Sampson II, t he Fi r st Ci r cui t r ej ect ed t hi s
“cat egor i cal appr oach” t o bi as, not i ng t hat McDonough “saw no
need t o use pi geonhol es of t hi s sor t . ” 724 F. 3d at 165.
I nst ead, t he Fi r st Ci r cui t endor sed a “t ot al i t y of t he
ci r cumst ances” appr oach, wher e t he “i nqui r y depends on whet her a
r easonabl e j udge, ar med wi t h t he i nf or mat i on t hat t he di shonest
j ur or f ai l ed t o di scl ose and t he r eason behi nd t he j ur or ’ s
di shonest y, woul d concl ude . . . t hat t he j ur or l acked t he
capaci t y and t he wi l l t o deci de t he case based on t he evi dence
( and t hat , t her ef or e, a val i d basi s f or excusal f or cause
exi st ed) . ” Id. at 165- 66.
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475.
I n t hi s case, had t he Cour t known al l of t he f act s about
J ur or 162' s per sonal hi st or y and t hat of her son, i t woul d not
have gr ant ed a chal l enge f or cause on t he basi s of i nf er r ed bi as.
Fel l emphasi zes t hat t he j ur or ’ s past sexual abuse r ender ed her
unabl e t o f ai r l y consi der Fel l ’ s own hi st or y of abuse. The
r ecor d does not bear out t hi s cont ent i on, as t he j ur or t est i f i ed
t hat her own sexual abuse was not a si gni f i cant f act or i n her
l i f e. Whi l e t he Cour t does not cr edi t t he j ur or ’ s asser t i ons
t hat she has compl et el y f or got t en about her chi l dhood t r auma,
not hi ng i n her t est i mony suggest s t hat she was unabl e t o be
i mpar t i al when vi ewi ng Fel l ’ s own chi l dhood exper i ence. And
whi l e J ur or 162 connect ed her exper i ence t o Fel l ’ s i n her wr i t t en
decl ar at i on, she r epeat edl y assur ed t he Cour t dur i ng voi r di r e
t hat she coul d consi der mi t i gat i on.
I n Torres, t he Second Ci r cui t st at ed t hat a t r i al j udge may
i nqui r e about a j ur or ’ s par t i al i t y, and when det er mi ni ng i nf er r ed
bi as “mi ght be per suaded by t he f or ce of t he j ur or ’ s assur ance[ s]
. . . . ” 128 F. 3d at 47 n. 12. I n t hi s case, when t he
pr osecut i on asked J ur or 162 i f she coul d l i st en t o var i ous
mi t i gat i ng f act or s and keep an open mi nd, she r epl i ed,
“Cer t ai nl y. ” J ur or Voi r Di r e 9 at 129- 30. Def ense counsel
si mi l ar l y asked her whet her her exper i ences wi t h her son “i n any
way coul d af f ect your abi l i t y t o consi der t hat as one of t he
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mi t i gat i ng ci r cumst ances. ” Id. at 136. J ur or 162 r epl i ed t hat
i t was a “har d quest i on, ” but i ndi cat ed t hat based upon her son’ s
exper i ence, she bel i eved r ehabi l i t at i on was possi bl e. Id. When
t he Cour t asked J ur or 162 at voi r di r e what f act or s mi ght hel p
her make her deci si on, she made cl ear t hat mi t i gat i ng
ci r cumst ances woul d pl ay a f undament al r ol e i n her deci si on-
maki ng pr ocess: “Fi r st of al l t he r eason . . . [ t ] he
psychol ogi cal r eason about why he woul d have done i t . The
mi t i gat i ng ci r cumst ances, you know. I woul d have t o hear t he
whol e –- . ” Id. at 121. The pr osecut i on asked J ur or 162 whet her
she woul d be abl e t o consi der t he deat h penal t y, and t he j ur or
r esponded t hat she “woul d have t o know al l t he mi t i gat i ng
ci r cumst ances. ” Id. at 127. Def ense counsel cor r espondi ngl y
asked J ur or 162 i f she coul d consi der a l i f e sent ence, and her
r esponse was consi st ent wi t h what she t ol d bot h t he Cour t and t he
pr osecut or :
Wel l , not hear i ng what t he evi dence i s, I coul d – I
coul d make a deci si on ei t her way . . . I guess t hat ’ s
t he easi est way t o answer t hat . But I haven’ t hear d
any evi dence yet , so – . . . . I t hi nk what you ar e
aski ng me, i f I amcapabl e of maki ng a deci si on f or
l i f e i n pr i son or f or t he deat h penal t y, wi t hout
hear i ng evi dence? . . . I woul d be capabl e of ei t her
one, but nat ur al l y I woul d have t o hear al l t he
mi t i gat i ng ci r cumst ances f i r st .
Id. at 135- 36.
The Cour t now wei ghs t hese r esponses agai nst t he i nf or mat i on
t hat Fel l ’ s at t or neys have gat her ed si nce t r i al . I n addi t i on t o
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t he j ur or ’ s sexual abuse sever al decades ago, t he Cour t consi der s
t he j ur or ’ s hi st or y of physi cal abuse by Ms. Tat r o, her own
subst ance abuse, and her son’ s l i f e hi st or y. “When a j ur or has
l i f e exper i ences t hat cor r espond wi t h evi dence pr esent ed dur i ng
t r i al , t hat congr uence r ai ses obvi ous concer ns about t he j ur or ’ s
possi bl e bi as. ” Sampson II, 724 F. 3d at 167 ( ci t i ng Torres, 128
F. 3d at 47- 48) ; see Burton v. Johnson, 948 F. 2d 1150, 1158- 59
( 10t h Ci r . 1991) ) . Whi l e i n some cases a cour t coul d r easonabl y
concl ude t hat “t he j ur or may have enor mous di f f i cul t y separ at i ng
her own l i f e exper i ences f r omevi dence i n t he case, ” Sampson II,
724 F. 3d at 167, t her e i s l i t t l e evi dence her e t o j ust i f y such a
concer n.
Unl i ke t he j ur or i n Sampson, J ur or 162 has not demonst r at ed
di st r ess about her own f ami l y hi st or y, or about i ssues of
cr i mi nal i t y and subst ance abuse gener al l y. I n f act , her
quest i onnai r e r esponses suggest not onl y t hat she i s wi l l i ng t o
di scl ose her son’ s cr i mi nal hi st or y, but t hat she i s pr oud of hi s
r ecover y and r ehabi l i t at i on. Gi ven t he j ur or ’ s per cept i on of her
own f ami l y’ s successes, and her i nsi st ence upon her abi l i t y t o be
i mpar t i al , t he Cour t woul d not have gr ant ed a hypot het i cal
chal l enge f or cause i n t hi s i nst ance. Cf. United States v.
Stewart, 317 F. Supp. 2d 432, 442 ( S. D. N. Y. 2004) ( “I f anyt hi ng,
a pr ospect i ve j ur or wi t h a f ami l y member who had been convi ct ed
of a cr i me woul d mor e l i kel y be consi der ed bi ased i n favor of
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cr i mi nal def endant s. ”) .
Whi l e t he Cour t f i nds t hat Fel l has not shown ei t her
di shonest y or val i d gr ounds f or a chal l enge f or cause, t her e i s
aut hor i t y f or t he pr oposi t i on t hat wher e t he McDonough st andar d
i s not sat i sf i ed, a new t r i al may st i l l be or der ed i f t he
def endant s can show bi as. See, e.g., Jones v. Cooper, 311 F. 3d
306, 310 ( 4t h Ci r . 2002) ( “The McDonough t est i s not t he
excl usi ve t est f or det er mi ni ng whet her a new t r i al i s war r ant ed:
a showi ng t hat a j ur or was act ual l y bi ased, r egar dl ess of whet her
t he j ur or was t r ut hf ul or decei t f ul , can al so ent i t l e a def endant
t o a new t r i al . ”) ; Skaggs v. Otis Elevator Co., 164 F. 3d 511, 516
( 10t h Ci r . 1998) ( “The advent of t he [ McDonough] t est di d not
el i mi nat e a l i t i gant ’ s br oader hi st or i c r i ght t o pr ove act ual or
i mpl i ed j ur or bi as. ”) . I n McDonough i t sel f , J ust i ces Bl ackmun,
St evens and O’ Connor concur r ed separ at el y “t o cl ar i f y t hat j ur or
par t i al i t y coul d st i l l be pr oven by showi ng act ual or i mpl i ed
bi as. ” Sampson I, 820 F. Supp. 2d at 175 ( ci t i ng McDonough, 464
U. S. at 556) . As J ust i ce Bl ackmun wr ot e,
[ We] under st and t he Cour t ’ s hol di ng not t o f or ecl ose
t he nor mal avenue f or r el i ef avai l abl e t o a par t y who
i s asser t i ng t hat he di d not have t he benef i t of an
i mpar t i al j ur y. Thus, r egar dl ess of whet her a j ur or ' s
answer i s honest or di shonest , i t r emai ns wi t hi n a
t r i al cour t ’ s opt i on, i n det er mi ni ng whet her a j ur y was
bi ased, t o or der a post - t r i al hear i ng at whi ch t he
movant has t he oppor t uni t y t o demonst r at e act ual bi as
or , i n except i onal ci r cumst ances, t hat t he f act s ar e
such t hat bi as i s t o be i nf er r ed.
McDonough, 464 U. S. at 556 ( Bl ackmun, J . , concur r i ng) .
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As expl ai ned i n t he chal l enge f or cause anal ysi s, J ur or 162
di d not evi dence t he sor t of bi as t hat woul d j ust i f y gr ant i ng a
new t r i al . Fel l has not shown act ual bi as, as J ur or 162 di d not
admi t par t i al i t y and t he Cour t has not det er mi ned act ual
par t i al i t y based upon t he j ur or ’ s conduct . Nor does J ur or 162' s
si t uat i on pr esent t he sor t of “except i onal si t uat i on” t hat woul d
gi ve r i se t o a pr esumpt i on of bi as. See Torres, 128 F. 3d at 46
( ci t at i on and i nt er nal quot at i on omi t t ed) . Fi nal l y, whi l e t her e
i s no l egal aut hor i t y f or gr ant i ng r el i ef pur el y on t he basi s of
i nf er r ed bi as, J ur or 162' s act i ons i n t hi s case woul d nonet hel ess
f al l shor t of such an i nf er ence.
I n sum, t he r ecor d does not suppor t Fel l ’ s cl ai mf or r el i ef
on t he basi s of J ur or 162' s conduct dur i ng voi r di r e. Whi l e t he
McDonough Cour t hi ghl i ght ed t he i mpor t ance of t he voi r di r e
pr ocess as a guar d agai nst j ur or bi as, i t al so not ed t hat no
t r i al i s per f ect , and t hat counsel has a r esponsi bi l i t y t o obt ai n
r el evant i nf or mat i on f r ompr ospect i ve j ur or s. 464 U. S. at 554-
55. J ur or 162 compl et ed t wo quest i onnai r es, one of whi ch
cont ai ned over 70 quest i ons. Her answer s di scl osed i nf or mat i on
t hat shoul d have, and i n f act di d, pr ompt f ur t her quest i oni ng by
counsel dur i ng voi r di r e. That quest i oni ng was br i ef , and as
not ed above, counsel ’ s per f or mance i n t hat r egar d may suppor t a
cl ai mof i nef f ect i ve assi st ance of counsel .
Whi l e J ur or 162' s r esponses dur i ng voi r di r e and her
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t est i mony i n t hi s post - convi ct i on pr oceedi ng pr esent cl ose
quest i ons, t he Cour t ul t i mat el y f i nds t hat Fel l has f ai l ed t o
show suf f i ci ent mi sconduct by J ur or 162 t o war r ant habeas cor pus
r el i ef . The Cour t al so not es t hat t he Second Ci r cui t “has never
f ound r eason t o over t ur n a ver di ct on t he basi s of j ur or
nondi scl osur e under McDonough, and onl y once . . . has r emanded
f or an evi dent i ar y hear i ng on t he mat t er . ” Stewart, 433 F. 3d at
303.
12
Her e, t he Cour t has hel d evi dent i ar y hear i ngs and has
consi der ed t he par t i es’ submi ssi ons. For t he r easons set f or t h
above, Fel l i s not ent i t l ed t o r el i ef on t he basi s of J ur or 162' s
non- di scl osur es, and hi s amended mot i on i n t hi s r egar d i s DENI ED.
B. Juror 143
J ur or 143 i s al l eged t o have engaged i n a br oad r ange of
mi sconduct , i ncl udi ng: t r avel i ng t o Rut l and t o vi ew t he cr i me
scenes dur i ng t r i al ; i nf or mi ng ot her j ur or s of hi s ext r a- r ecor d
obser vat i ons; speaki ng wi t h a t hi r d par t y about t he case dur i ng
t r i al ; l yi ng about hi s act i ons when ser vi ng as a j ur or ; l yi ng
dur i ng voi r di r e; coer ci ng anot her j ur or i nt o changi ng her vot e;
and agai n l yi ng t o t he Cour t i n t hi s post - convi ct i on pr oceedi ng.
12
One di st r i ct cour t r ecent l y gr ant ed a new t r i al on t he basi s
of a j ur or ’ s non- di scl osur e, but t he f act s i n t hat case ar e r eadi l y
di st i ngui shabl e. See Daugerdas, 867 F. Supp. 2d at 445. I n
Daugerdas, t he j ur or “conf essed t hat she pur posef ul l y l i ed and omi t t ed
mat er i al i nf or mat i on i n her voi r di r e t est i mony t o make her sel f mor e
‘ mar ket abl e’ as a j ur or . ” Id. at 469. The cour t f ound t hat t he
r esponses wer e “pr emedi t at ed and del i ber at e, ” and woul d have pr ovi ded
a val i d basi s f or a chal l enge f or cause. Id.
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Fel l cl ai ms t hat J ur or 143' s act i ons demonst r at e t he j ur or ’ s bi as
and t ai nt ed t he ent i r e t r i al .
1. Exposure To Extra-Record Information
The Cour t f i r st addr esses Fel l ’ s cl ai mt hat J ur or 143
engaged i n a mi d- t r i al i nvest i gat i on of t he cr i me scenes. The
Uni t ed St at es Supr eme Cour t has l ong hel d t hat “i t i s t he l aw’ s
obj ect i ve t o guar d j eal ousl y t he sanct i t y of t he j ur y’ s r i ght t o
oper at e as f r eel y as possi bl e f r omout si de unaut hor i zed
i nt r usi ons pur posef ul l y made. ” Remmer v. United States, 350 U. S.
377, 382 ( 1956) . Accor di ngl y, t he i nt r oduct i on of pr ej udi ci al
ext r aneous i nf l uences i nt o t he j ur y r oomconst i t ut es mi sconduct
whi ch may r esul t i n t he r ever sal of a convi ct i on. Parker v.
Gladden, 385 U. S. 363, 364–65 ( 1966) . The Supr eme Cour t has al so
acknowl edged t hat unaut hor i zed conduct dur i ng a t r i al can
“‘ i nvol ve[ ] such a pr obabi l i t y t hat pr ej udi ce wi l l r esul t t hat i t
i s deemed i nher ent l y l acki ng i n due pr ocess. ’ ” Id. ( quot i ng
Estes v. State of Texas, 381 U. S. 532, 542- 43 ( 1965) ) .
I n December 2010, dur i ng an i nt er vi ew conduct ed by Fel l ’ s
post - convi ct i on counsel , J ur or 143 r eveal ed t hat i n t he mi dst of
t r i al he dr ove t o Rut l and and vi ewed t he house and nei ghbor hood
wher e Debr a Fel l and Char l es Conway wer e mur der ed. He al so
obser ved t he Pr i ce Chopper gr ocer y st or e wher e Ter esca Ki ng was
ki dnapped. Af t er t he i nt er vi ew, J ur or 143 si gned a handwr i t t en,
t hi r t een- par agr aph swor n decl ar at i on ( t he “swor n decl ar at i on”)
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conf i r mi ng hi s i nt er vi ew st at ement s. The swor n decl ar at i on
det ai l ed some of J ur or 143' s obser vat i ons whi l e i n Rut l and and
hi s subsequent comment s t o f el l ow j ur or s:
We di scussed t he evi dence, l i ke t he r ock, t he shot gun,
t he phot os of Mr s. Ki ng, and t he t r i p t o Rut l and dur i ng
t he t r i al when I l ooked at t he mot her ’ s house on
Robbi ns St r eet and t he Pr i ce Chopper . The mot her ’ s
nei ghbor hood wasn’ t gr eat , but i t was okay. The house
was decent . She was j ust t r yi ng t o l i ve her l i f e. I
t ol d t hemabout t he St ewar t ’ s dumpst er next t o Pr i ce
Chopper wher e I t hi nk Fel l t hr ew t he kni f e i nt o t he
dumpst er i n t he par ki ng l ot . . . . The l i ght i ng at
t he Pr i ce Chopper i n Rut l and was weak. At t he t i me I
wor ked at t he Pr i ce Chopper i n Bar r e- Ber l i n and t he
par ki ng l ot was al so unsaf e because i t was poor l y l i t .

Fel l Hr ’ g Ex. 1, ¶ 5.
13

J ur or 143 was subsequent l y cal l ed t o t est i f y i n t hi s post -
convi ct i on pr oceedi ng. Pr i or t o hi s August 2013 t est i mony, an
FBI agent pr ovi ded J ur or 143 wi t h a copy of t he swor n decl ar at i on
and spoke wi t h t he j ur or about hi s st at ement s. Ther e was al so
pr ess cover age concer ni ng J ur or 143' s al l eged mi sconduct .
14
When
Fel l ’ s at t or neys t r i ed t o speak wi t h J ur or 143 at hi s home
13
The gover nment has obj ect ed t o t he admi ssi on of t he swor n
decl ar at i on, ci t i ng Fed. R. Evi d. 606. Rul e 606( b) ( 1) pr ovi des t hat
“a j ur or may not t est i f y about any st at ement made or i nci dent t hat
occur r ed dur i ng t he j ur y’ s del i ber at i ons; t he ef f ect of anyt hi ng on
t hat j ur or ’ s or anot her j ur or ’ s vot e; or any j ur or ’ s ment al pr ocesses
concer ni ng t he ver di ct or i ndi ct ment . ” Fed. R. Ci v. P. 606( b) ( 1) .
Under Rul e 606( b) ( 2) , however , a j ur or may t est i f y about whet her
“ext r aneous pr ej udi ci al i nf or mat i on was i mpr oper l y br ought t o t he
j ur y’ s at t ent i on. ” Fed. R. Evi d. 606( b) ( 2) . Accor di ngl y, Rul e 606
al l ows t he Cour t t o consi der whet her ext r a- r ecor d i nf or mat i on was
br ought t o t he Fel l j ur y’ s at t ent i on, and t he Cour t wi l l consi der
J ur or 143' s swor n st at ement f or t hat pur pose.
14
Br ent Cur t i s, Fell Appeals Murder Conviction Again, Rut l and
Her al d, Febr uar y 18, 2013.
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shor t l y bef or e t he hear i ng, he r ef used t o speak wi t h t hem.
I n hi s t est i mony bef or e t he Cour t , J ur or 143 di savowed t he
swor n decl ar at i on and st at ed unequi vocal l y t hat he “di d not go t o
Rut l and or any pl ace of concer n f or t hi s case dur i ng t r i al . ”
Aug. 15, 2013 Hr ’ g Tr . at 44. When quer i ed about hi s st at ement
t hat Debr a Fel l ’ s nei ghbor hood “wasn’ t gr eat but i t was okay, ”
J ur or 143 expl ai ned t hat “[ t ] hi s was based on my vi si t back i n
2010, pr obabl y Sept ember - i sh. I was on my mot or cycl e. ” Id. at
51. Ref er ences i n t he swor n decl ar at i on t o t he l i ght i ng at t he
Pr i ce Chopper wer e, he cont ended, based upon t est i mony pr esent ed
at Fel l ’ s t r i al i n 2005.
J ur or 143 t est i f i ed t hat when t he t wo Fel l at t or neys came t o
hi s home t o speak wi t h hi mi n December 2010, he was under t he
i mpr essi on t hat t hey wer e r epr esent at i ves of t he Cour t . Whi l e
t her e i s no evi dence t hat t he j ur or was mi sl ed i n t hi s r egar d,
t hi s f act adds t o t he cr edi bi l i t y of hi s st at ement s dur i ng t he
i nt er vi ew. The j ur or al so t est i f i ed t hat he had been dr i nki ng “a
f ew beer s” and was on a “bender , ” but acknowl edged t hat he met
wi t h t he at t or neys vol unt ar i l y and spoke wi t h t hemat l engt h.
When t he at t or neys r et ur ned t he f ol l owi ng day wi t h a dr af t
of t he swor n decl ar at i on, J ur or 143 was gi ven an oppor t uni t y t o
r evi ew i t , i ni t i al each par agr aph as r ead, and make necessar y
cor r ect i ons pr i or t o si gni ng. I n f act , changes and addi t i ons
wer e made at t he j ur or ’ s r equest . J ur or 143 t est i f i ed t hat he
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r evi ewed t he decl ar at i on onl y br i ef l y, and t hat he f el t pr essur ed
as he di d so. Id. at 83.
J ur or 143' s t est i mony i n August 2013, and par t i cul ar l y hi s
deni al of a mi d- t r i al cr i me scene vi si t , was di r ect l y
cont r adi ct ed by mul t i pl e subsequent wi t nesses. On Mar ch 18,
2014, t he Cour t f i r st hear d t est i mony f r omJ ur or 143' s f or mer
gi r l f r i end, Kaul ene Kel sey. Ms. Kel sey t est i f i ed t hat she gr ew
up wi t h J ur or 143, dat ed hi mi n t he ear l y 1980s, and st ar t i ng
dat i ng hi magai n i n 2002. I n t he summer of 2002, she moved f r om
Connect i cut t o Ver mont t o l i ve wi t h hi m. She and J ur or 143 wer e
i n a r el at i onshi p and l i vi ng t oget her t hr oughout t he dur at i on of
t he Fel l t r i al .
Ms. Kel sey t est i f i ed t hat whi l e J ur or 143 was ser vi ng as a
Fel l j ur or , she accompani ed hi mon a t r i p t o Rut l and t o vi ew t he
cr i me scenes. The t r i p or i gi nat ed at J ur or 143' s home i n
Nor t hf i el d, Ver mont , and t oget her t hey dr ove “[ p] r obabl y an hour
t o an hour and a hal f ” t o Rut l and. Mar . 18, 2014 Hr ’ g Tr . at 24.
Ms. Kel sey t est i f i ed t hat “[ i ] t was [ J ur or 143' s] i dea” t o t ake
t he t r i p because “[ h] e want ed t o go t o Rut l and t o see f or
hi msel f , vi si t t he cr i me scenes and vi si t t he ar ea hi msel f . ” Id.
at 23.
Accor di ng t o her t est i mony, Ms. Kel sey and J ur or 143 f i r st
vi ewed t he home wher e Debr a Fel l and Char l es Conway wer e
mur der ed, as wel l as t he sur r oundi ng nei ghbor hood. Ms. Kel sey
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knew t hat t hese ar eas wer e r el evant t o t he t r i al because J ur or
143 t ol d her whi ch bui l di ng was Debr a Fel l ’ s home. J ur or 143
al so t ol d her t hat t he nei ghbor hood was not what he was
expect i ng, based upon t he evi dence pr esent ed at t r i al .
COUNSEL: Di d J ur or 143 make any comment s t o you about t he
nei ghbor hood sur r oundi ng t he house?
KELSEY: He di d.
COUNSEL: What di d he say?
. . .
KELSEY: He sai d he made not e t hat t he house di d not l ook
as he expect ed i t t o be; t hat he bel i eved t hat
Donal d gr ew up i n l ess of a nei ghbor hood, a l ess
–-
COURT: I ’ msor r y, I coul dn’ t qui t e hear you.
KELSEY: He bel i eved t hat –- t hat t he house we wer e l ooki ng
at was mor e of a mi ddl e cl ass- t ype house, and
t hat ’ s not how he per cei ved Donal d Fel l ’ s
upbr i ngi ng t o be.
COUNSEL: Di d he say why he –- why he was expect i ng
somet hi ng di f f er ent ?
KELSEY: He sai d t hat –- yes, he sai d t hat he expect ed t o
j ust see l ess of a house t han Donal d por t r ayed
t hat he was br ought up i n wi t hout par ent s and
wi t hout super vi si on and wi t h dr ugs and al cohol .
COUNSEL: What , i f anyt hi ng, when he was maki ng t hi s comment
t o you, di d he say about evi dence t hat was
i nt r oduced at Donal d Fel l ’ s t r i al ?
KELSEY: Um, not speci f i cal l y. J ust t hat t hat was t he
i mpr essi on he had, t hat he was sur pr i sed t o see
t hat t he house was i n a hal f way decent
nei ghbor hood.
Id. at 28- 29.
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Ms. Kel sey t est i f i ed t hat she and J ur or 143 t hen pr oceeded
t o t he Pr i ce Chopper wher e Ter esca Ki ng was ki dnapped. When t hey
ar r i ved at t he Pr i ce Chopper , “[ i ] t was get t i ng dar k, j ust about
dar k, ” and J ur or 143 not ed t hat i t was not wel l l i t . Id. at 31.
COUNSEL: When you wer e at t he Pr i ce Chopper , di d J ur or 143
make any comment s t o you at t hat poi nt ?
KELSEY: Yes.
COUNSEL: What di d he say?
KELSEY: He f i r st not ed t hat i t di dn’ t l ook ver y wel l l i t
i n t he par ki ng l ot , and he t hen act - - was showi ng
me t he ar ea t hat he t hought t hat –- wher e t he
cr i me scene was and how t hi ngs t ook pl ace i n t he
par ki ng l ot .
COUNSEL: Di d he say anyt hi ng el se t o you about t hat ?
KELSEY: He –- j ust how –- agai n, how t hi ngs mi ght have
happened, how t he –- t hey mi ght have appr oached
t he car wher e Ter r y was abduct ed.
Id. at 31.
Counsel asked Ms. Kel sey whet her she had any opi ni on at t he
t i me about “whet her i t was okay f or [ J ur or 143] t o be t her e. ”
Id. at 32- 33. She r esponded t hat she asked J ur or 143
“speci f i cal l y shoul d he be her e, t hat I di dn’ t –- i t di dn’ t seem
t o me l i ke t hi s i s somet hi ng t hat he shoul d be doi ng. ” Id. at
33. J ur or 143 r epor t edl y r esponded “t hat he want ed t o see t hi ngs
f or hi msel f , and t hat nobody knows he i s t her e so i t di dn’ t make
any di f f er ence. ” Id.
On cr oss- exami nat i on by t he gover nment , Ms. Kel sey conf i r med
her bel i ef t hat t he t r i p was dur i ng t he Fel l t r i al , and t hat
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bei ng t her e wi t h J ur or 143 “di dn’ t f eel r i ght . ” Id. at 40. She
al so r ei t er at ed t hat , when she asked J ur or 143 about t he
pr opr i et y of t he t r i p, “hi s r esponse was, I can do what I want t o
do. I need t o see t hi s f or mysel f . ” Id. at 43.
The Cour t f ol l owed up wi t h i t s own quest i oni ng about t he
t i mi ng of t he t r i p:
COURT: J ust i n your own wor ds, t el l me how you know t hat
t hi s t r i p was dur i ng t he t r i al .
KELSEY: Agai n, I di dn’ t f eel r i ght about bei ng t her e
because I knew –- I j ust asked –- I r emember
aski ng hi m, l i ke, you shoul dn’ t –- Shoul d we be
her e? Ar e you supposed t o be her e whi l e you ar e a
j ur or on a case? And he sai d, Nobody –- nobody’ s
her e. Nobody can see us. I need t o see t hi s f or
mysel f .
Id. at 44- 45. Ms. Kel sey al so t est i f i ed t hat her r el at i onshi p
wi t h J ur or 143 ended acr i moni ousl y shor t l y af t er t he Fel l t r i al ,
id. at 40- 41, as evi denced i n par t by a Sept ember 2005 abuse
pr event i on or der ser ved upon J ur or 143. Fel l Hr ’ g Ex. 37.
The Cour t next hear d t est i mony f r omJ ani ce DeGoosh. Ms.
DeGoosh met J ur or 143 i n Mar ch of 2005, and t he r el at i onshi p
became r omant i c i n mi d- t o- l at e August of t hat year . Ms. DeGoosh
t est i f i ed t hat i n t he summer of 2005, J ur or 143 i nf or med her t hat
he was goi ng “t o go on a f i el d t r i p t o do some i nvest i gat i ng of
hi s own. ” Id. 50. Ms. DeGoosh r epor t edl y had concer ns about
t he t r i p, as i t seemed t o her “unet hi cal ” t o “go on hi s own t o
check out t he scene. ” Id. at 51- 52. As she expl ai ned i n her
t est i mony, i t was her under st andi ng t hat as a j ur or , “you ar e not
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supposed t o cl oud your t hought s wi t h out si de i nf or mat i on, and t o
me t hat f eel s l i ke out si de i nf or mat i on. ” Id. at 55. Al t hough
Ms. DeGoosh was i ni t i al l y uncer t ai n i n her t est i mony about t he
pr eci se t i mi ng of J ur or 143' s t r i p, she event ual l y concl uded t hat
t he t r i p must have t aken pl ace i n t he mi dst of t he Fel l t r i al
based upon her di scomf or t wi t h J ur or 143 “t r yi ng t o obt ai n
i nf or mat i on t hat was not gi ven i n t he cour t . ” Id.
Fel l ’ s counsel al so cal l ed as a wi t ness At t or ney Zl oczower ,
one of t he at t or neys who i nt er vi ewed J ur or 143 at hi s home and
subsequent l y dr af t ed t he j ur or ’ s swor n decl ar at i on. At t or ney
Zl oczower , f or mer l y an associ at e wi t h Cl ear y Got t l i eb St een &
Hami l t on ( “Cl ear y Got t l i eb”) – t he l aw f i r mr epr esent i ng Fel l i n
t hi s pr oceedi ng – i s cur r ent l y empl oyed at a not - f or - pr of i t
or gani zat i on i n New Yor k Ci t y. Not wi t hst andi ng her past i nt er est
i n t he out come of Fel l ’ s post - convi ct i on pr oceedi ng, t he Cour t
f ound t hi s wi t ness t o be hi ghl y cr edi bl e.
At t or ney Zl oczower t est i f i ed t hat when she and her col l eague
f r omCl ear y Got t l i eb f i r st met J ur or 143 at hi s home, she
expl ai ned t o t he j ur or t hat t hey wer e at t or neys appoi nt ed by t he
Cour t t o r epr esent Mr . Fel l . J ur or 143 agr eed t o speak wi t h
t hem, and t he i nt er vi ew t ook bet ween t wo and t hr ee hour s. I n t he
cour se of t he i nt er vi ew, t he at t or neys asked J ur or 143 what he
had consi der ed when maki ng hi s det er mi nat i ons at t r i al . I t was
i n r esponse t o t hi s quest i on t hat he r eveal ed hi s t r i p t o
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Rut l and.
COUNSEL: And what di d he t el l you, i f anyt hi ng, about t hi s
dr i ve t o t he scene i n Rut l and?
WI TNESS: He dr ove t her e and sai d t hat he went t her e f or t he
speci f i c r eason of l ooki ng at t he nei ghbor hood and
t he st r eet t hat Mi ss Fel l l i ved i n. He want ed t o
know whet her i t was r eal l y t hat bad. He al so
want ed t o t ake a l ook at t he Pr i ce Chopper .
Id. at 62.
I n r esponse t o J ur or 143' s t est i mony t hat he had been
dr i nki ng pr i or t o t he i nt er vi ew, At t or ney Zl oczower t est i f i ed
t hat he was not dr unk, but t hat he di d have a scent of al cohol on
hi s br eat h. Id. at 64, 107. At t he concl usi on of t he i nt er vi ew,
she asked i f he woul d be wi l l i ng t o si gn a st at ement , t o whi ch
J ur or 143 r epl i ed t hat he was get t i ng t i r ed and r equest ed t hat
she and her col l eague r et ur n t he f ol l owi ng day.
That next day, a Sunday, J ur or 143 r et ur ned f r omchur ch and
l ef t a message f or At t or ney Zl oczower at her wor k phone number ,
aski ng t hat t he at t or neys come t o hi s home soon so t hat he coul d
t hen at t end hi s gr andmot her ’ s bi r t hday par t y. When t he at t or neys
ar r i ved, t hey engaged i n smal l t al k and of f er ed J ur or 143 t he
decl ar at i on f or hi s r evi ew. At t or ney Zl oczower deni ed t hat she
or her col l eague appl i ed any pr essur e, t est i f yi ng t hat t hey sat
appr oxi mat el y seven f eet away f r omt he j ur or and f ocused
pr i mar i l y on a t el evi sed f oot bal l game whi l e t he j ur or r evi ewed
hi s decl ar at i on. She al so t est i f i ed t hat i t was t he j ur or ’ s i dea
t o pl ace hi s i ni t i al s next t o each par agr aph, and t hat she di d
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not smel l any al cohol on hi mat t hat t i me.
Wi t h r espect t o par agr aph f i ve of t he swor n decl ar at i on,
cont ai ni ng t he st at ement s about t he mi d- t r i al t r i p t o Rut l and and
J ur or 143' s subsequent di scussi ons wi t h hi s f el l ow j ur or s,
At t or ney Zl oczower t est i f i ed t hat t he j ur or had no r eser vat i ons
about t hi s par agr aph pr i or t o si gni ng t he decl ar at i on.
15
She
al so conf i r med t hat J ur or 143 speci f i cal l y t ol d her he had
di scussed hi s t r i p t o Rut l and wi t h hi s f el l ow j ur or s dur i ng j ur y
del i ber at i ons. Id. at 74.
I n r esponse t o Fel l ’ s wi t nesses, t he gover nment cal l ed as a
wi t ness Speci al Agent Mi chel l e Del pha of t he FBI . Agent Del pha
has been wor ki ng on t he Fel l case si nce 2000, when Ki ng’ s car was
f i r st l ocat ed i n Ar kansas. Not wi t hst andi ng her r ol e i n t he
gover nment ’ s case, t he Cour t al so f ound Agent Del pha’ s t est i mony
t o be cr edi bl e.
Agent Del pha i nt er vi ewed Kaul ene Kel sey t wi ce, on November
25, 2013 i n per son, and on Mar ch 4, 2014 vi a t el ephone. Ms.
Kel sey r epor t edl y t ol d Agent Del pha t hat her t r i p t o Rut l and wi t h
J ur or 143 was not i ni t i al l y i nt ended t o be i nvest i gat or y, but
r at her t hat she and t he j ur or wer e mer el y “out f or a r i de, and
15
The j ur or di d have r eser vat i ons about some por t i ons of t he
swor n decl ar at i on, and expr essed hi s concer ns t o At t or ney Zl oczower .
Speci f i cal l y, and as di scussed mor e f ul l y bel ow, J ur or 143 was
uncer t ai n about hi s st at ement t hat a gun had been br ought i nt o t he
j ur y r oom. The j ur or ’ s hesi t at i on about t he f act of a gun i ndi cat es
t hat he was maki ng an ef f or t t o be t r ut hf ul i n hi s st at ement s.
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t hey ended up i n Rut l and and t hat t hey –- t hey went t o t wo cr i me
scenes: t o t he Pr i ce Chopper , t hr ough t he par ki ng l ot , and t hen
al so t o a r esi dence. ” Mar . 19, 2014 Hr ’ g Tr . at 212. Ms. Kel sey
al so t ol d Agent Del pha t hat she was f ami l i ar wi t h t he l ocat i ons
of t he cr i mes “‘ because of t he medi a r epor t i ng dur i ng t r i al . ’ ”
Id. at 222.
16
These st at ement s, bot h as t o t he pur pose of t he
t r i p t o Rut l and and Ms. Kel sey’ s awar eness of medi a cover age at
t he t i me of t r i al , wer e i nconsi st ent wi t h Ms. Kel sey’ s hear i ng
t est i mony.
On cr oss- exami nat i on, Agent Del pha t est i f i ed t hat she asked
Ms. Kel sey r epeat edl y whet her t he t r i p t o Rut l and t ook pl ace
dur i ng t he Fel l t r i al . Ms. Kel sey r epor t edl y conf i r med t hat t he
t r i p di d occur dur i ng t r i al , and t hat once i n Rut l and, i t was
J ur or 143' s i dea t o vi si t t he cr i me scenes.
COUNSEL: And [ Ms. Kel sey] sai d i t t o you, t hat she was
cer t ai n [ t he t r i p t ook pl ace dur i ng t r i al ] because
she had t he gut r eact i on t hat t he j ur or shoul dn’ t
be doi ng t hi s at t he t i me t hey wer e l ooki ng at t he
si t es, cor r ect ?
DELPHA: Cor r ect .
COUNSEL: And she f ur t her t ol d you t hat when t hey wer e goi ng
t o t he cr i me scene dur i ng t he t i me of t r i al , t hat
t he j ur or sai d t o –- t hat she asked t he j ur or why
t hey wer e l ooki ng at t he si t es, cor r ect ?
DELPHA: Cor r ect .
16
At t or ney Zl oczower t est i f i ed “yes” when asked whet her J ur or
143 had t ol d her i n 2005 t hat “hi s gi r l f r i end wi t h whomhe l i ved
dur i ng t he t r i al col l ect ed news cl i ppi ngs and t aped t el evi sed cover age
of t he t r i al [ . ] ” Mar . 18, 2014 Hr ’ g Tr . at 109.
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COUNSEL: And when she asked t he j ur or why t hey wer e l ooki ng
at t he si t es, t he j ur or t ol d her –- and dur i ng
t hi s t r i p at t he t i me of t r i al –- t hat he j ust
want ed t o check t hi ngs out , cor r ect ?
DELPHA: Cor r ect .
Id. at 229.
Based upon t he t est i mony of t hese sever al wi t nesses, t he
Cour t f i nds t hat J ur or 143' s deni al of hi s mi d- t r i al
i nvest i gat i on was not cr edi bl e. See Gray v. Hutto, 648 F. 2d 210,
211 ( 4t h Ci r . 1981) ( “Wi t h t he mani f est l y st r ong pr essur es on t he
j ur or t o excul pat e her sel f f r oma qui t e unt enabl e posi t i on, her
sel f - ser vi ng st at ement s shoul d not count f or much. ”) . Ms. Kel sey
and Ms. DeGoosh each t est i f i ed t hat J ur or 143 vi ewed t he cr i me
scenes i n Rut l and dur i ng t r i al i n 2005. Whi l e Ms. Kel sey’ s
account was count er ed i n some r espect s by Agent Del pha’ s
t est i mony, her t est i mony about t he f act of t he t r i p, and J ur or
143' s i nt ent t o vi ew t he cr i me scenes, was uncont r over t ed. Ms.
DeGoosh conf i r med t hat J ur or 143 pl anned t o vi si t t he cr i me
scenes dur i ng t r i al f or t he pur pose of i nvest i gat i on. Ms.
Kel sey’ s t est i mony about J ur or 143' s obser vat i ons was al so
uncont est ed, and was consi st ent wi t h t he j ur or ’ s swor n
decl ar at i on.
The Cour t al so f i nds t hat J ur or 143' s st at ement s i n hi s
swor n decl ar at i on wi t h r espect t o hi s t r i p t o Rut l and, and hi s
subsequent di scl osur es t o ot her j ur or s, wer e t r ut hf ul . The
evi dence suggest s t hat , t hr ough no wr ongdoi ng by t he Cl ear y
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Got t l i eb at t or neys, J ur or 143 may have mi sunder st ood wi t h whomhe
was speaki ng at t he t i me of t he i nt er vi ew, and was t hus wi l l i ng
t o speak t r ut hf ul l y. Mor eover , t he decl ar at i on was not onl y
si gned and swor n, but t he j ur or i ndependent l y i ni t i al ed each
par agr aph as r ead. At t or ney Zl oczower t est i f i ed t hat she
accur at el y r ecor ded hi s st at ement s, and t hat when J ur or 143 r ead
t hr ough and si gned t he decl ar at i on, t her e was no evi dence of
al cohol or ot her i mpai r ment . Fur t her mor e, t he swor n decl ar at i on
conf or ms gener al l y wi t h Ms. Kel sey’ s t est i mony about t he j ur or ’ s
r eact i ons when he t our ed bot h t he Robbi ns St r eet nei ghbor hood and
t he Pr i ce Chopper . The Cour t t her ef or e f i nds t hat J ur or 143 was
not cr edi bl e when he deni ed hi s 2005 t r i p t o Rut l and, t hat t he
j ur or di d, i n f act , conduct hi s own i nvest i gat i on dur i ng t r i al ,
and t hat t he ext r a- r ecor d i nf or mat i on gai ned f r omt hat
i nvest i gat i on was, i n t he vi ew of t hi s j ur or , not consi st ent wi t h
t he evi dence i nt r oduced at t r i al .
17

The gover nment ’ s post - hear i ng memor andumdoes not ser i ousl y
cont est whet her J ur or 143' s i nvest i gat i on t ook pl ace,
char act er i zi ng hi s f al se t est i mony i n August 2013 as i ndi cat i ve
of “r egr et and embar r assment ” af t er an “abr upt [ ] r eal i z[ at i on]
17
The Cour t not es t hat whi l e dr i vi ng t hr ough Rut l and J ur or 143
spoke wi t h Ms. Kel sey about t he case. Ms. Kel sey her sel f had
r epor t edl y col l ect ed pr ess cl i ppi ngs and vi deot aped news r epor t s of
t he Fel l t r i al , none of whi ch shoul d have been di scl osed t o a member
of t he j ur y. Gi ven t hei r conver sat i ons whi l e t our i ng t he cr i me
scenes, Ms. Kel sey may have been an addi t i onal sour ce of ext r a- r ecor d
i nf or mat i on.
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t hat hi s f ool i sh excur si on had been i dent i f i ed as an embar r assi ng
t r ansgr essi on. ” ECF No. 508 at 20, 25. The gover nment al so
concedes t hat i f J ur or 143 l i ed i n hi s t est i mony, such decei t
woul d be “t r oubl i ng. ” Id. at 20. The gover nment ar gues,
however , t hat “i t i s hi ghl y i mpr obabl e t hat anyt hi ng [ J ur or 143]
saw [ dur i ng hi s i nvest i gat i on] pr ej udi ced t he ver di ct . . . . ”
Id. at 29.
I t i s undi sput ed t hat “t he l aw pr esumes pr ej udi ce f r oma
j ur y’ s exposur e t o ext r a- r ecor d i nf or mat i on. ” United States v.
Farhane, 634 F. 3d 127, 168 ( 2d Ci r . 2011) ( ci t i ng Remmer v.
United States, 347 U. S. 227, 229 ( 1954) ) ; see Greer, 285 F. 3d at
173; Bibbins v. Dalsheim, 21 F. 3d 13, 16 ( 2d Ci r . 1994) ; United
States v. Wiley, 846 F. 2d 150, 157 ( 2d Ci r . 1988) . “[ T] hat
pr esumpt i on may be r ebut t ed by a ‘ showi ng t hat t he ext r a- r ecor d
i nf or mat i on was har ml ess. ’ ” Farhane, 634 F. 3d at 168 ( quot i ng
Bibbins, 21 F. 3d at 16) ; see also United States v. Schwarz, 283
F. 3d 76, 99 ( 2d Ci r . 2002) . I f t he pr esumpt i on i s not r ebut t ed,
t he def endant i s ent i t l ed t o a new t r i al . See Remmer, 347 U. S.
at 230; United States ex rel. Owen v. McMann, 435 F. 2d 813, 821
( 2d Ci r . 1970) .
Wher e a j ur or has been exposed t o an “‘ ext r aneous i nf l uence
. . . t he cour t must appl y an obj ect i ve t est , assessi ng f or
i t sel f t he l i kel i hood t hat t he i nf l uence woul d af f ect a t ypi cal
j ur or . ’ ” Greer, 285 F. 3d at 173 ( quot i ng Bibbins, 21 F. 3d at
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17) ; see also Farhane, 634 F. 3d at 169 ( st at i ng t hat t he i nqui r y
“f ocuses on . . . t he nat ur e of t he i nf or mat i on or cont act at
i ssue, and i t s pr obabl e ef f ect on a hypot het i cal aver age j ur y”) .
Al t hough “[ t ] he cour t may not i nqui r e i nt o ‘ t he degr ee upon whi ch
t he ext r a- r ecor d i nf or mat i on was used i n del i ber at i ons and t he
i mpr essi on whi ch j ur or s act ual l y had about i t , ’ ” Greer, 285 F. 3d
at 173 ( quot i ng United States v. Calbas, 821 F. 2d 887, 897 ( 2d
Ci r . 1987) ) , i t “‘ may appr opr i at el y consi der t he ci r cumst ances
sur r oundi ng t he i nt r oduct i on of [ t he] i nf or mat i on i n maki ng [ i t s]
det er mi nat i on. ’ ” Id. ( quot i ng Calbas, 821 F. 2d at 896 n. 9)
( al t er at i on i n or i gi nal ) . The t r i al cour t shoul d “assess t he
‘ possi bi l i t y of pr ej udi ce’ by r evi ewi ng t he ent i r e r ecor d,
anal yzi ng t he subst ance of t he ext r i nsi c evi dence, and compar i ng
i t t o t hat i nf or mat i on of whi ch t he j ur or s wer e pr oper l y awar e. ”
United States v. Weiss, 752 F. 2d 777, 783 ( 2d Ci r . 1985) ( quot i ng
Sher v. Stoughton, 666 F. 2d 791, 794 ( 2d Ci r . 1981) ) .
J ur or 143' s i nvest i gat i on exposed hi mt o i nf or mat i on about
t he physi cal envi r onment i n whi ch Debr a Fel l was l i vi ng and t he
cr i me scenes gener al l y. By t r avel i ng bet ween Robbi ns St r eet and
t he Pr i ce Chopper , J ur or 143 al so vi ewed t he ar ea wher e Fel l and
Lee wal ked pr i or t o abduct i ng Mr s. Ki ng. As di scussed bel ow,
t hat pr eci se r out e was hi ghl i ght ed by t he gover nment as
i ndi cat i ve of Fel l ’ s del i ber at eness and st at e of mi nd. The
evi dence bef or e t he Cour t i ndi cat es t hat what J ur or 143 saw i n
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Rut l and was i n sever al r espect s i nconsi st ent wi t h t he evi dence
pr esent ed at t r i al , and i n al l r espect s f avor abl e t o t he
gover nment ’ s case.
J ur or 143' s obser vat i ons whi l e i n Rut l and per t ai ned t o t he
gover nment ’ s t hr eshol d cul pabi l i t y f act or s ( each of whi ch
r equi r ed pr oof of i nt ent ) , i t s non- st at ut or y aggr avat i ng f act or s,
and t he def ense t eam’ s mi t i gat i ng f act or s. When a deat h penal t y
j ur y i s pr esent ed wi t h bot h aggr avat i ng and mi t i gat i ng f act or s,
i t s t ask i s t o wei gh t hose f act or s and det er mi ne whet her a
sent ence of deat h i s war r ant ed. See 18 U. S. C. § 3593( c) ( j ur y
must deci de whet her “al l t he aggr avat i ng f act or or f act or s f ound
t o exi st suf f i ci ent l y out wei gh al l t he mi t i gat i ng f act or or
f act or s f ound t o exi st t o j ust i f y a sent ence of deat h”) . Even i n
t he absence of mi t i gat i ng f act or s, t he j ur y must det er mi ne
“whet her t he aggr avat i ng f act or or f act or s al one ar e suf f i ci ent
t o j ust i f y a sent ence of deat h. ” Id.
The gover nment ’ s non- st at ut or y aggr avat i ng f act or s r el i ed
upon a showi ng of pr emedi t at i on and i nt ent . The f i r st such
aggr avat i ng f act or asked t he j ur y t o f i nd t hat Fel l abduct ed Mr s.
Ki ng i n or der t o f aci l i t at e hi s escape f r omt he ar ea. The
gover nment al so asked t he j ur y t o concl ude t hat Fel l engaged i n
“subst ant i al pr emedi t at i on t o commi t t he cr i me of car j acki ng. ”
The Cour t def i ned pr emedi t at i on f or t he j ur y as “t hi nki ng or
del i ber at i ng about somet hi ng and deci di ng whet her t o do i t
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bef or ehand. ” Tr i al Tr . Vol . XI I at 150.
The gover nment ’ s evi dence of i nt ent i onal conduct and
pr emedi t at i on f ocused i n par t upon t he r out e t hat Fel l and Lee
f ol l owed af t er t hey l ef t Debr a Fel l ’ s Robbi ns St r eet home. The
gover nment por t r ayed t he r out e as par t of a pr e- concei ved pl an,
descr i bi ng Fel l ’ s pat h as “a ni ce r out e down t hr ough t he pl aza
wher e t he Wal mar t and t he Pr i ce Chopper wer e. ” Tr i al Tr . I V- 1 at
61. The gover nment f ur t her not ed t hat upon hi s ar r est , Fel l was
abl e t o r ecal l t he exact r out e he t ook t o t he dar k Pr i ce Chopper
par ki ng l ot . Id. at 63. The t r i al evi dence pl ot t ed Fel l ’ s r out e
on an aer i al phot ogr aph of downt own Rut l and, and al t hough some
t est i mony was pr esent ed about r esi dent i al and commer ci al ar eas,
t he i mmedi at e physi cal sur r oundi ngs of t he r out e wer e not
document ed i n det ai l .
Fel l ’ s def ense t eamdi sput ed whet her t he gover nment coul d
pr ove beyond a r easonabl e doubt t hat Fel l ’ s act i ons wer e
i nt ent i onal . The def ense ar gued t hat t he “conf usi on and l evel of
dr i nki ng” t hat ni ght r esul t ed i n “bad deci si ons” t hat wer e not
“pl anned and scr i pt ed. ” Tr i al Tr . Vol . I - 1 at 56; Tr i al Tr . Vol .
I V- 1 at 72- 73. I ndeed, ar gued t he def ense, Fel l was
subst ant i al l y i mpai r ed, t r avel ed an i r r at i onal r out e, and
t oget her wi t h Lee, made a ser i es of unpl anned deci si ons. Those
deci si ons i ncl uded wal ki ng “wher e anyone coul d see t hem” and
conduct i ng a ki dnappi ng i n “a par ki ng l ot t hat was l i t . ” Id. at
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75.
Under Remmer and Farhane, t he Cour t must f i r st assume t hat
J ur or 143' s obser vat i ons of t he ar ea wher e Fel l and Lee wal ked
wer e pr ej udi ci al . The gover nment may r ebut t hi s pr esumpt i on by
demonst r at i ng t hat a t ypi cal j ur or woul d not have been i nf l uenced
by t hi s ext r a- r ecor d i nf or mat i on. See Bibbins, 21 F. 3d at 16.
I n ot her wor ds, t he gover nment i s obl i gat ed t o “pr ov[ e] t he
negat i ve. ” United States v. Morrison, 984 F. Supp. 2d 125, 133
( E. D. N. Y. 2013) . Whi l e pr ovi ng a negat i ve i s i nher ent l y
di f f i cul t , t he gover nment ’ s t ask i s f ur t her hi nder ed by J ur or
143' s r ef usal t o admi t t hat he t r avel ed t o t he cr i me scenes
dur i ng t r i al . Because J ur or 143 chose t o l i e under oat h about
hi s act i ons, t he par t i es and t he Cour t cannot ask hi mabout wher e
he went , what he saw, or any of “t he ci r cumst ances sur r oundi ng
t he i nt r oduct i on of [ ext r a- r ecor d i nf or mat i on] . ” Calbas, 821
F. 2d at 896 n. 9; see also Smith, 455 U. S. at 217 n. 7
( “det er mi nat i ons made i n Remmer- t ype hear i ngs wi l l f r equent l y
t ur n upon t est i mony of t he j ur or i n quest i on”) .
Ms. Kel sey’ s t est i mony about J ur or 143' s pat h f r omRobbi ns
St r eet t o t he Pr i ce Chopper was i nconcl usi ve, as she t est i f i ed
onl y t hat i t was “possi bl e” t hey “dr ove down an al l ey near t he
house, ” “dr ove al ong t he f r ont si de of t he shoppi ng cent er t o
r each t he Pr i ce Chopper , ” or “dr ove ar ound t he back al l ey of a
shoppi ng cent er t o r each t he Pr i ce Chopper . ” Mar . 18, 2014 Hr ’ g
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Tr . at 30- 31.
18
Because J ur or 143 has chosen t o deny hi s act i ons
ent i r el y, t he gover nment cannot pr ove t hat he di d not f ol l ow
Fel l ’ s pat h, and cor r espondi ngl y, t hat hi s ext r a- r ecor d
obser vat i ons of t he ar ea wer e har ml ess. See United States v.
Vasquez–Ruiz, 502 F. 3d 700, 705 ( 7t h Ci r . 2007) ( not i ng t hat
under Remmer “i t i s t he pr osecut i on” t hat “bear s t he r i sk of
uncer t ai nt y”) .
Even i f t he gover nment di d not have t he bur den of r ebut t i ng
t he pr esumpt i on of pr ej udi ce, Fel l ’ s evi dence shows t hat J ur or
143' s i nvest i gat i on was not har ml ess. Fel l has i nt r oduced vi deo
evi dence
19
t o show t hat anyone f ol l owi ng hi s wal ki ng r out e woul d
have obt ai ned i nf or mat i on r el evant t o t he gover nment ’ s
aggr avat i ng f act or s. That evi dence shows t hat af t er Fel l and Lee
l ef t t he Robbi ns St r eet home, t hey wal ked t hr ough a r esi dent i al
nei ghbor hood wher e ot her act i vi t y at such an ear l y hour was
unl i kel y. Fel l t hen pr oceeded t hr ough por t i ons of commer ci al
18
When quest i oned about hi s act i ons at t he August 2013 hear i ng,
J ur or 143 di d r ef er ence f ol l owi ng Fel l ’ s r out e on a mot or cycl e, but
t he t i mi ng of t hat event i s not cl ear as t he j ur or i nsi st ed t hat hi s
mot or cycl e t r i p occur r ed i n 2010. Ms. Kel sey t est i f i ed t hat her t r i p
t o Rut l and wi t h t he j ur or was not on a mot or cycl e.
19
The Cour t pr evi ousl y admi t t ed t he vi deo evi dence wi t h t he
pr ovi si on t hat Fel l ’ s br i ef i ng woul d est abl i sh i t s r el evance. The
Cour t now deems t he evi dence r el evant t o Fel l ’ s pr ej udi ce ar gument ,
and Exhi bi t s 38- 41 ar e admi t t ed. The Cour t al so admi t s r el at ed
r ecor ds f r omt he Di st r i ct 1 Envi r onment al Commi ssi on, Exhi bi t s 54- 64,
as r el evant t o t he quest i on of whet her t her e wer e any per mi t t ed
changes t o t he ar ea, i ncl udi ng t he l i ght i ng out si de t he Pr i ce Chopper ,
bet ween 2000 and 2014. The evi dence does not i ndi cat e any mat er i al
changes. Fi nal l y, t he Cour t admi t s Fel l ’ s summar y of t he vi deo
evi dence pr esent ed i n Exhi bi t 65.
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ar eas wher e, because of t hei r pr eci se r out e, he and Rober t Lee
wer e agai n l ess l i kel y t o be seen. A j ur or vi ewi ng t hose ar eas
woul d t her ef or e have been exposed t o i nf or mat i on beyond t hat
pr esent ed at t r i al , and suppor t i ve of t he gover nment ’ s posi t i on.
The post - convi ct i on r ecor d shows t hat , at a mi ni mum, J ur or
143 t r avel ed bet ween Robbi ns St r eet and t he Pr i ce Chopper i n
Rut l and. Whi l e hi s pr eci se r out e i s unknown, i t i s pl ai n t hat he
vi ewed t he Robbi ns St r eet nei ghbor hood and t he ar ea of Rut l and
l yi ng bet ween Robbi ns St r eet and t he Pr i ce Chopper . Even t hose
l i mi t ed vi ewi ngs of t he r el evant r esi dent i al and commer ci al ar eas
woul d have i nf or med a t ypi cal j ur or about t he nat ur e of Fel l ’ s
r out e beyond t he evi dence pr esent ed at t r i al and pr ovi ded i nsi ght
i nt o Fel l ’ s abi l i t y t o act i n an i nt ent i onal and pr emedi t at ed
f ashi on.
Fur t her mor e, J ur or 143 made obser vat i ons of t he l i ght i ng at
t he Pr i ce Chopper wher e Ter esca Ki ng was ki dnapped. Those
obser vat i ons t oo wer e r el evant t o t he gover nment ’ s non- st at ut or y
aggr avat i ng f act or s, par t i cul ar l y as t o pr emedi t at i on pr i or t o
t he car j acki ng. At t r i al , t he gover nment ar gued t hat Fel l l ai d
“i n wai t i ng i n t he dar kness . . . f or someone j ust l i ke Ter r y
Ki ng. ” Tr i al Tr . Vol . I - 1 at 18, 19. Dur i ng t he penal t y phase,
t he gover nment asked t he j ur y t o bel i eve t hat Fel l was
i nt ent i onal l y “wai t i ng i n t he dar kness, i n t he shadows . . .
[ and] car ef ul l y sel ect ed Ter r y Ki ng as t he per f ect vi ct i m. ”
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Tr i al Tr . Vol . XI I at 13. As di scussed pr evi ousl y, t he def ense
count er ed t hat Fel l and Lee wer e t oo i mpai r ed t o engage i n
pl anned act s, and t hat t hey commi t t ed t he ki dnappi ng i n a l i t
par ki ng l ot .
The l i ght i ng evi dence pr esent ed at t r i al i ncl uded dayt i me
phot ogr aphs of t he Pr i ce Chopper ’ s ext er i or , see Gov’ t Tr i al Ex.
12( a) ( 1) - 12( a) ( 3) , and del i ver y man J oseph Tr apasso’ s t est i mony
t hat on t he mor ni ng of t he ki dnappi ng i t was possi bl e t o “see
pr et t y good out t her e. ” Tr i al Tr . Vol . I - 1 at 118. Accor di ng t o
Ms. Kel sey, J ur or 143 obser ved t he par ki ng l ot j ust bef or e dar k,
at whi ch t i me he woul d have been abl e t o ascer t ai n whet her t he
l i ght i ng was adequat e. The j ur or concl uded t hat t he l i ght i ng was
poor , and Fel l ’ s vi deo evi dence conf i r ms t hat concl usi on.
I f , as t he gover nment cl ai med, Fel l i nt ent i onal l y sear ched
f or a poor l y- l i t si t e and “l ur ked” i n t he shadows bef or e
commi t t i ng t he ki dnappi ng, t he l evel of l i ght i ng at t he Pr i ce
Chopper was r el evant t o pr emedi t at i on. Pr ej udi ce i s agai n
pr esumed, as t he gover nment cannot show a l ack of har mf r omJ ur or
143' s i nspect i on of t he par ki ng l ot . Mor eover , J ur or 143' s
per sonal obser vat i ons of t he l i ght i ng wer e har mf ul t o t he
def ense’ s t heor y of t he case, and a t ypi cal , hypot het i cal j ur or
woul d have been si mi l ar l y af f ect ed by such ext r a- r ecor d evi dence.
As Ms. Kel sey’ s t est i mony made cl ear , J ur or 143' s mi d- t r i al
i nvest i gat i on al so count er ed Fel l ’ s mi t i gat i on ar gument s. Those
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ar gument s f ocused heavi l y upon Fel l ’ s upbr i ngi ng i n what t he
def ense descr i bed as an envi r onment of f i l t h, subst ance abuse,
physi cal and sexual abuse, and abandonment .
20
I n suppor t of
t hese mi t i gat i ng f act or s, Fel l ’ s si st er t est i f i ed t hat she and
Donal d gr ew up i n a “vi ol ent . . . messy, [ and] di r t y” physi cal
envi r onment . Tr i al Tr . Vol . VI I at 87. Of f i cer Chr i st opher
Pur cel l l i kewi se t est i f i ed t hat t he Fel l s’ house i n Pennsyl vani a
was “di shevel ed, ” wi t h “gar bage pi l ed ar ound” t he out si de of t he
home and t he i nsi de l i t t er ed wi t h beer cans. Tr i al Tr . Vol . VI I
at 39- 40.
Def ense counsel ar gued at t r i al t hat t he Robbi ns St r eet home
i n Rut l and was si mi l ar l y “chaot i c” wi t h “cans and cans of beer ,
empt y cases of beer . ” Tr i al Tr . Vol . I V- 1 at 73. Law
enf or cement t est i mony about Robbi ns St r eet conf i r med t hat t he
home was st r ewn wi t h beer cans and di r t y cl ot hes. Tr i al Tr . Vol .
I - 2 at 62, 67, 72. Def ense counsel al so ur ged t he j ur y t o
consi der Debr a Fel l ’ s “dai l y i nt oxi cat i on” and her “cor r upt i ve”
i nf l uence on her son. Tr i al Tr . Vol . XI I at 86. Physi cal
evi dence of t he Robbi ns St r eet nei ghbor hood was l i mi t ed t o
pr i mar i l y aer i al phot ogr aphs.
20
Speci f i c mi t i gat i ng f act or s on t he Speci al Ver di ct For m
i ncl uded: Donal d Fel l was sexual l y and physi cal l y abused as a chi l d;
Donal d Fel l ’ s par ent s wer e vi ol ent al cohol i cs who abandoned hi mas a
chi l d; Donal d Fel l began r egul ar l y abusi ng al cohol and dr ugs as a
chi l d; as a chi l d, Donal d Fel l was f or ced t o wi t ness f ami l y vi ol ence,
i ncl udi ng seei ng hi s par ent s st ab each ot her ; and Donal d Fel l was
r ai sed wi t hout posi t i ve r ol e model s. ECF No. 200 at 13- 14.
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J ur or 143 endeavor ed t o vi ew t he nei ghbor hood hi msel f , and
saw t hat Robbi ns St r eet was not consi st ent wi t h t he evi dence
pr esent ed at t r i al . Speci f i cal l y, t he j ur or not ed t hat Robbi ns
St r eet was a mi ddl e cl ass nei ghbor hood, and not t he sor t of
squal or depi ct ed by t he def ense’ s pr esent at i on. J ur or 143 al so
l i nked what he saw at Robbi ns St r eet t o Donal d Fel l ’ s f ami l y
hi st or y. As r epor t ed by Ms. Kel sey, t he j ur or expl ai ned t hat t he
home was “not how he per cei ved Donal d Fel l ’ s upbr i ngi ng t o be . .
. . [ H] e sai d t hat he expect ed t o j ust see l ess of a house t han
Donal d por t r ayed t hat he was br ought up i n wi t hout par ent s and
wi t hout super vi si on and wi t h dr ugs and al cohol . ” Mar . 18, 2014
Hr ’ g Tr . at 28- 30.
J ur or 143' s concl usi ons wer e i n l i ne wi t h t he gover nment ’ s
posi t i on t hat Debr a Fel l was a car i ng mot her who sought t o
pr ot ect and pr ovi de “a saf e . . . envi r onment f or her chi l dr en. ”
Tr i al Tr . Vol . I X- 1 at 97. Consequent l y, t he j ur or ’ s obser vat i on
cast doubt upon speci f i c def ense mi t i gat or s such as t he f ami l y
hi st or y of vi ol ence, Fel l ’ s abuse as a chi l d, hi s al l eged
abandonment , and t he l ack of posi t i ve r ol e model s. I ndeed, J ur or
143 concl uded af t er hi s i nvest i gat i on t hat Debr a Fel l was
mur der ed whi l e “j ust t r yi ng t o l i ve her l i f e. ”
Tur ni ng t o t he hypot het i cal j ur or , pr ej udi ce i s agai n
assumed and t he gover nment has an oppor t uni t y t o r ebut t he
pr esumpt i on. See Farhane, 634 F. 3d at 168. Because J ur or 143
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has deni ed hi s act i ons, t he gover nment i s at a si gni f i cant
di sadvant age. I ndeed, t he gover nment i s t asked wi t h pr ovi ng
har ml essness when t he f ul l ext ent of J ur or 143' s exposur e t o
ext r a- r ecor d i nf or mat i on about Debr a Fel l ’ s r esi dence – and t he
cor r espondi ng ext ent of pr ej udi ce – i s unknown.
I f t he Cour t does not pr esume pr ej udi ce, t he har mt o Fel l ’ s
mi t i gat i on case i s nonet hel ess r eadi l y appar ent . Fel l ’ s
at t or neys f ocused heavi l y upon hi s upbr i ngi ng, t he negl ect by hi s
par ent s, and t he r el at ed physi cal char act er i st i cs of hi s
chi l dhood home. J ur or 143' s obser vat i ons caused hi mt o di smi ss
some of t hose ar gument s as over st at ed, and he may have shar ed hi s
concl usi ons wi t h t he j ur y. J ur or 143' s concl usi ons ar e r el evant
t o t he pr ej udi ce i nqui r y. See United States v. Lawson, 677 F. 3d
629, 649 ( 4t h Ci r . 2012) ( “t he i mpact t hat t he ext r i nsi c
i nf or mat i on had on t he j ur or who obt ai ned t he i nf or mat i on i s
i mpor t ant i n and of i t sel f ”) .
A t ypi cal j ur or vi si t i ng t he Robbi ns St r eet nei ghbor hood
woul d have been si mi l ar l y i nf l uenced by t he cont r ast bet ween, as
Ms. Kel sey descr i bed, a “mi ddl e cl ass” nei ghbor hood of most l y
si ngl e- f ami l y homes, and t he evi dence of dr unkenness, dr ugs, and
abandonment pr esent ed by Fel l ’ s def ense t eam. J ur or 143
devel oped a r evi sed opi ni on of Donal d Fel l ’ s home l i f e based upon
hi s obser vat i ons, and a t ypi cal j ur or woul d l i kewi se have been
t ai nt ed when r evi ewi ng such evi dence out si de t he conf i nes and
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pr ot ect i ons of t r i al . See, e.g., Owen, 435 F. 2d at 818 ( j ur or s’
consi der at i on of ext r a- r ecor d f act s about def endant ’ s t r oubl ed
backgr ound deni ed def endant due pr ocess) .
The pr ej udi ce f r omJ ur or 143' s mi sconduct may have car r i ed
not j ust t o one hypot het i cal j ur or , but per haps t o t he whol e
panel , as J ur or 143 r epor t edl y shar ed hi s obser vat i ons dur i ng
del i ber at i ons. “[ I ] f even a si ngl e j ur or ’ s i mpar t i al i t y i s
over come by an i mpr oper ext r aneous i nf l uence, t he accused has
been depr i ved of t he r i ght t o an i mpar t i al j ur y. ” See Fullwood
v. Lee, 290 F. 3d 663, 678 ( 4t h Ci r . 2002) ( ci t i ng Parker, 385
U. S. at 366) . Her e, t he ent i r e j ur y r oommay have been af f ect ed.
Whi l e t he j ur or s i n t hi s case endor sed many of t he def ense
t eam’ s ar gument s wi t h r espect t o mi t i gat i ng f act or s, t hei r
ver di ct f or ms do not r eveal t he wei ght assi gned t o t hose var i ous
f act or s.
21
The wei ghi ng of such f act or s i s a f undament al par t of
deci di ng whet her a deat h sent ence i s war r ant ed, and J ur or 143' s
access t o ext r a- r ecor d i nf or mat i on undoubt edl y al t er ed t hat
21
The def ense pr esent ed ni net een mi t i gat i ng f act or s t o t he
j ur y, and t he Speci al Ver di ct For mal l owed j ur or s t o wr i t e i n
addi t i onal f act or s as appr opr i at e. Havi ng hear d not onl y t he evi dence
f r omt r i al , but al so about J ur or 143' s obser vat i ons, t en of t wel ve
j ur or s f ound t hat Fel l was r ai sed wi t hout posi t i ve r ol e model s, whi l e
ei ght bel i eved t hat as a chi l d he wi t nessed f ami l y vi ol ence. Ten
j ur or s al so hi ghl i ght ed Fel l ’ s “t ot al l i f e exper i ence” and t he f ai l ur e
of st at e suppor t syst ems t o i nt er vene. ECF No. 200 at 12- 14. Onl y
one j ur or bel i eved t hat Fel l di d not pl an t o ki l l Mr s. Ki ng when she
was ki dnapped, and none of t he j ur or s f ound t hat hi s capaci t y t o
appr eci at e hi s conduct was si gni f i cant l y i mpai r ed. The j ur or s wer e
unani mous as t o Fel l ’ s exper i ences of sexual and physi cal abuse as a
chi l d, hi s abandonment by al cohol i c par ent s, and hi s own abuse of
dr ugs and al cohol .
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cal cul us. I ndeed, J ur or 143' s comment s t o Ms. Kel sey i ndi cat ed
t hat he was l ess i ncl i ned t o gi ve wei ght t o t he def ense’ s
mi t i gat i on evi dence, and “a hypot het i cal aver age” j ur or woul d
have been si mi l ar l y i mpact ed. Farhane, 634 F. 3d at 169.
Mi t i gat i on was a cr i t i cal par t of Fel l ’ s ef f or t t o avoi d t he
deat h penal t y. As t he Supr eme Cour t has not ed, “consi der at i on of
t he char act er and r ecor d of t he i ndi vi dual of f ender and t he
ci r cumst ances of t he par t i cul ar of f ense [ i s] a const i t ut i onal l y
i ndi spensabl e par t of t he pr ocess of i nf l i ct i ng t he penal t y of
deat h. ” Woodson, 428 U. S. at 304. Accor di ngl y, a capi t al
def endant i s ent i t l ed t o pr esent any r el evant mi t i gat i ng evi dence
i n suppor t of a sent ence l ess t han deat h. Payne v. Tennessee,
501 U. S. 808, 822 ( 1991) . The i mpor t ance of mi t i gat i on evi dence
i s hi ghl i ght ed by t he FDPA, whi ch encour ages t he def endant t o
l i st each mi t i gat i ng f act or separ at el y f or t he j ur y’ s
consi der at i on, and r equi r es j ur or s t o make an i ndi vi dual f i ndi ng
r egar di ng each mi t i gat i ng f act or pr oposed by t he def ense, based
upon t he evi dence pr esent ed at t r i al . See 18 U. S. C. § 3593( c) ,
( d) .
Fur t her mor e, t he Supr eme Cour t has l ong hel d t hat “[ t ] he
r equi r ement t hat a j ur y’ s ver di ct ‘ must be based upon t he
evi dence devel oped at t he t r i al ’ goes t o t he f undament al
i nt egr i t y of al l t hat i s embr aced i n t he const i t ut i onal concept
of t r i al by j ur y, ” and t hat t he Const i t ut i on r equi r es “at t he
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ver y l east t hat t he ‘ evi dence devel oped’ agai nst a def endant
shal l come f r omt he wi t ness st and i n a publ i c cour t r oomwher e
t her e i s f ul l j udi ci al pr ot ect i on of t he def endant ’ s r i ght of
conf r ont at i on, of cr oss- exami nat i on, and of counsel . ” Turner v.
Louisiana, 379 U. S. 466, 472- 73 ( 1965) ; see also Pointer v.
Texas, 380 U. S. 400, 405 ( 1965) ( “Ther e ar e f ew subj ect s,
per haps, upon whi ch t hi s Cour t and ot her cour t s have been mor e
near l y unani mous t han i n t hei r expr essi ons of bel i ef t hat t he
r i ght of conf r ont at i on and cr oss- exami nat i on i s an essent i al and
f undament al r equi r ement f or t he ki nd of f ai r t r i al whi ch i s t hi s
count r y’ s const i t ut i onal goal . ”) . Consequent l y, “i t i s
i nappr opr i at e f or a j ur or t o vi ew a cr i me scene wi t hout cour t
per mi ssi on or br i ng ext r aneous mat er i al s t o t he j ur y’ s
del i ber at i ons. ” Helmig v. Kemna, 461 F. 3d 960, 962 ( 8t h Ci r .
2006) .
Her e, J ur or 143 vi ol at ed t he “f undament al i nt egr i t y” of
Fel l ’ s t r i al by under t aki ng hi s own i nvest i gat i on. For Fel l , t he
i nt egr i t y of hi s t r i al was a mat t er of l i f e and deat h. As t he
Cour t not ed pr evi ousl y, t he j udi ci ar y i n t hi s count r y has l ong
r ecogni zed t hat deat h cases ar e “di f f er ent . ” Gardner, 430 U. S.
at 357. The Cour t t her ef or e needs t o ensur e t hat t he ver di ct
agai nst Fel l , as t o bot h gui l t and hi s ul t i mat e penal t y, was
r el i abl e and i ssued by an i mpar t i al j ur y. The Cour t must al so
ensur e t hat mi t i gat i ng f act or s wer e f ai r l y and appr opr i at el y
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consi der ed, as t hose f act or s ar e “const i t ut i onal l y i ndi spensabl e”
when “i nf l i ct i ng t he penal t y of deat h. ” Woodson, 428 U. S. at
304. Gi ven t he r evel at i ons about J ur or 143' s exposur e t o ext r a-
r ecor d i nf or mat i on, t he r el evance of t hat exposur e t o t he
aggr avat i ng and mi t i gat i ng f act or s pr esent ed by t he par t i es, and
t he Cour t ’ s concl usi ons as t o bot h pr esumed and act ual har m, t he
Cour t f i nds t hat Fel l di d not r ecei ve a f ai r and r el i abl e t r i al .
2. Juror Bias
The Cour t ’ s anal ysi s r egar di ng J ur or 143 does not end t her e,
however . The j ur or ’ s mi sconduct al so compel s r el i ef on an
addi t i onal gr ound: t he bi as i mpl i ci t i n hi s i nt ent i onal ef f or t s
t o seek out ext r a- r ecor d i nf or mat i on, hi s def i ance of t he Cour t ’ s
i nst r uct i ons, and hi s r epeat ed f al se st at ement s t o t he Cour t .
I ndeed, J ur or 143’ s br azen di sobedi ence, di shonest y, and
unwi l l i ngness t o deci de t he case based upon t he evi dence
pr esent ed at t r i al demonst r at e a par t i al i t y t hat woul d have
r esul t ed i n hi s evi ct i on f r omt he panel dur i ng t r i al , and now
i nval i dat es Fel l ’ s convi ct i on.
The McDonough r ul i ng det er mi ned t hat when a j ur or i s f ound
t o have been di shonest dur i ng voi r di r e, and an honest r esponse
woul d have pr ovi ded gr ounds f or a val i d cause chal l enge, t he
seat i ng of t hat di shonest j ur or j ust i f i es gr ant i ng a new t r i al .
Her e, a j ur or was di shonest during t r i al and r emai ned on t he j ur y
panel t hr ough del i ber at i ons and, ul t i mat el y, t he i ssuance of a
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deat h sent ence. I t has al so been r eveal ed t hat t he j ur or engaged
i n mi sconduct t hat woul d have pr ovi ded cause f or hi s r emoval .
See United States v. Thomas, 116 F. 3d 606, 613 ( 2d Ci r . 1997)
( expl ai ni ng t hat a j ur or may be di smi ssed dur i ng t r i al “wher e t he
t r i al cour t f [ i nds] t hat a j ur or [ i ] s no l onger capabl e of
r ender i ng an i mpar t i al ver di ct ”) . I t i s t her ef or e appr opr i at e t o
exami ne J ur or 143’ s non- di scl osur es and omi ssi ons under t he
McDonough f r amewor k t o det er mi ne whet her j ur or bi as pr ovi des an
addi t i onal basi s f or r el i ef . See Morrison, 984 F. Supp. 2d at
133, 135- 36 ( appl yi ng McDonough anal ysi s i n di scussi on of j ur or
nondi scl osur e dur i ng cour se of t r i al ) .
The Supr eme Cour t hel d i n McDonough t hat a par t y movi ng f or
a new t r i al based on j ur or non- di scl osur e must sat i sf y a t wo- par t
t est : f i r st , t he par t y must show t hat “a j ur or f ai l ed t o answer
honest l y a mat er i al quest i on” and second, t hat “a cor r ect
r esponse woul d have pr ovi ded a val i d basi s f or a chal l enge f or
cause. ” 464 U. S. at 556; Greer, 285 F. 3d at 170. Her e, t he
Cour t has f ound t hat J ur or 143 di d i n f act vi si t t he cr i me scenes
dur i ng t r i al , i n di r ect cont r avent i on of t he Cour t ’ s expl i ci t
or der s. I t f ol l ows t hat he was t her eaf t er di shonest wi t h t he
Cour t , as t he Cour t asked t he j ur or s each day of t r i al whet her
t hey had been exposed t o any ext r a- r ecor d i nf or mat i on. The Cour t
t hus f i nds t hat J ur or 143 f ai l ed t o answer honest l y a mat er i al
quest i on, sat i sf yi ng t he f i r st pr ong of McDonough.
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The Cour t must t hen det er mi ne whet her , i f t he j ur or had
pr ovi ded honest answer s at t he t i me, t hi s woul d have pr ovi ded
j ust i f i cat i on f or di smi ssal f r omj ur y ser vi ce. I n ot her wor ds,
t he Cour t must det er mi ne whet her t he i nf or mat i on J ur or 143 f ai l ed
t o di scl ose and t he r easons behi nd hi s non- di scl osur e demonst r at e
bi as. Torres, 128 F. 3d at 43 ( f i ndi ng t hat a j ur or may be
di smi ssed f or cause on t he basi s of act ual , i mpl i ed, or i nf er r ed
bi as) . “The out come of t hi s i nqui r y depends on whet her a
r easonabl e j udge, ar med wi t h t he i nf or mat i on t hat t he di shonest
j ur or f ai l ed t o di scl ose and t he r eason behi nd t he j ur or ’ s
di shonest y, woul d concl ude under t he t ot al i t y of t he
ci r cumst ances t hat t he j ur or l acked t he capaci t y and t he wi l l t o
deci de t he case based on t he evi dence. ” Sampson II, 724 F. 3d at
165- 66 ( ci t i ng McDonough, 464 U. S. at 554) .
J ur or 143’ s mi d- t r i al i nvest i gat i on and subsequent non-
di scl osur es ar e bot h pr of ound i ndi cat or s of act ual bi as, or “bi as
i n f act . ” Torres, 128 F. 3d at 43- 44 ( “[ A] f i ndi ng of act ual bi as
i s based upon det er mi nat i ons of demeanor and cr edi bi l i t y t hat ar e
pecul i ar l y wi t hi n a t r i al j udge’ s pr ovi nce. ”) ( i nt er nal quot at i on
mar ks omi t t ed) . That J ur or 143 del i ber at el y di sobeyed t he
Cour t ’ s i nst r uct i ons, i n par t i cul ar i nst r uct i ons r egar di ng ext r a-
r ecor d evi dence, st r ongl y i ndi cat es t hat he was “unwi l l i ng or
unabl e ‘ t o appl y t he l aw as i nst r uct ed by t he cour t t o t he
evi dence pr esent ed by t he par t i es’ and t her ef or e, suggest [ s]
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par t i al i t y. ” Daugerdas, 867 F. Supp. 2d at 473 ( quot i ng Thomas,
116 F. 3d at 617) ; see also Sampson II, 724 F. 3d at 169 ( “J ur or s
who do not t ake t hei r oat hs ser i ousl y t hr eat en t he ver y i nt egr i t y
of t he j udi ci al pr ocess. ”) .
J ur or 143' s di shonest y i t sel f i s al so a “power f ul i ndi cat or
of bi as. ” Id. at 167 ( ci t i ng Colombo, 869 F. 2d at 151;
McDonough, 464 U. S. at 556 ( Bl ackmun, J . , concur r i ng) ( “[ I ] n most
cases, t he honest y or di shonest y of a j ur or ’ s r esponse i s t he
best i ni t i al i ndi cat or of whet her t he j ur or i n f act was
i mpar t i al ”) ; see also Colombo, 869 F. 2d at 149 ( f i ndi ng t hat a
j ur or ’ s “wi l l i ngness t o l i e . . . exhi bi t [ s] an i nt er est st r ongl y
suggest i ng par t i al i t y”) . Thi s i s because “[ f ] ew, i f any,
pr ospect i ve j ur or s woul d wi l l f ul l y vi ol at e t hei r oat h, and
knowi ngl y subj ect t hemsel ves t o pr osecut i on f or per j ur y, wi t hout
a st r ong per sonal i nt er est i n t he out come of t he case. ”
Daugerdas, 867 F. Supp. 2d at 473 ( ci t i ng Colombo, 869 F. 2d at
151) ; see also Morrison, 984 F. Supp. 2d at 134 ( “Sur el y [ t he
j ur or ] r ecogni zed t hat hi s wi l l f ul f ai l ur e t o abi de by hi s oat h
exposed hi mt o some t ype of si gni f i cant sanct i on shoul d hi s
abhor r ent conduct l at er be uncover ed. ”) .
I n Colombo, t he Second Ci r cui t f ound bi as wher e t he j ur or i n
quest i on f ai l ed t o honest l y answer a quest i on because she
bel i eved i t mi ght “l ead t o her di smi ssal f r omt he case” and t hus
her “wi l l i ngness t o l i e about i t exhi bi t ed an i nt er est st r ongl y
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suggest i ng par t i al i t y. ” Colombo, 869 F. 2d at 151- 52. Her e,
J ur or 143 br ashl y i gnor ed t he Cour t ’ s di r ect i ves, t el l i ng Ms.
Kel sey: “I can do what I want t o do. I need t o see t hi s f or
mysel f . ” Mar . 18, 2014 Hr ’ g Tr . at 43. When asked by Ms. Kel sey
about t he pr opr i et y of hi s i ndependent i nvest i gat i on, J ur or 143
di d not pr ovi de any sor t of l egi t i mat e j ust i f i cat i on f or t he
t r i p, i nst ead r espondi ng, “[ n] obody’ s her e. Nobody can see us. ”
Id. at 44- 45. These st at ement s i ndi cat e t hat J ur or 143 knew hi s
act i ons wer e not al l owed, and t hat he r i sked di smi ssal f r omt he
j ur y i f he r eveal ed hi s conduct t o t he Cour t . Ther eaf t er , J ur or
143 l i ed t o t he Cour t speci f i cal l y i n or der t o st ay on t he j ur y,
t her eby evi denci ng t he same par t i al i t y t hat t he Second Ci r cui t
f ound so pr obl emat i c i n Colombo.
Thi s does not mean t hat ever y t i me a j ur or br eaks hi s or her
oat h, t hat j ur or i s necessar i l y bi ased. The Cour t concl udes t hat
bi as i s est abl i shed her e, however , due t o t he ext ent of J ur or
143’ s mi sconduct and t he cont ext i n whi ch i t occur r ed. J ur or
143’ s di sobedi ence was not onl y pr ol onged and si gni f i cant , but i t
occur r ed under uni quel y ser i ous ci r cumst ances. Thi s j ur or
di sr egar ded t he Cour t ’ s i nst r uct i ons, obt ai ned ext r a- r ecor d
evi dence, and shar ed hi s f i ndi ngs wi t h hi s f el l ow j ur or s. Hi s
mi sconduct was cl ear , del i ber at e, and i n pl ai n vi ol at i on of hi s
j ur or oat h. Fur t her mor e, t he j ur y i n t hi s case was t asked wi t h
deci di ng whet her Fel l woul d l i ve or di e. Whi l e “t her e ar e no
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per f ect t r i al s, ” McDonough, 464 U. S. at 553, t he Cour t agai n
not es t hat i n a t r i al wher e t he def endant ’ s l i f e i s at st ake,
par t i cul ar scr ut i ny i s r equi r ed. See Woodson, 428 U. S. at 305
( f i ndi ng t hat t he deat h penal t y cr eat es a hei ght ened “need f or
r el i abi l i t y” i n sent enci ng) . The Cour t was t hus especi al l y
sensi t i ve t o el i mi nat i ng bi as f r omFel l ’ s j ur y; i ndeed, t he Cour t
gave r epeat ed i nst r uct i ons and sat f our al t er nat e j ur or s f or t hi s
ver y r eason. The Cour t necessar i l y concl udes t hat onl y a t r ul y
bi ased j ur or woul d engage i n such del i ber at e mi sconduct under
t hese ci r cumst ances.
Donal d Fel l had a const i t ut i onal r i ght t o a f ai r t r i al . As
t he Supr eme Cour t made cl ear i n McDonough, a f ai r t r i al r equi r es
a j ur y t hat i s “‘ capabl e and wi l l i ng t o deci de t he case sol el y on
t he evi dence bef or e i t . ’ ” McDonough, 464 U. S. at 554 ( quot i ng
Smith, 455 U. S. at 217) . McDonough det er mi ned t he pr oper r emedy
when, af t er t r i al , i t i s di scover ed t hat j ur or di shonest y
vi ol at ed t hat basi c r i ght , and est abl i shed t he t est f or j ur or
di shonest y dur i ng voi r di r e. I n t hi s case, J ur or 143' s
mi sconduct and di shonest y occur r ed dur i ng t r i al . Nonet hel ess,
t he f undament al pr i nci pl es under l yi ng McDonough appl y, and Fel l
i s ent i t l ed t o an appr opr i at e r emedy. I ndeed, i t i s wel l
est abl i shed t hat due pr ocess r equi r es a new t r i al wher e act ual
j ur or bi as has been shown. See Smith, 455 U. S. at 217. Whi l e
such cases ar e deci dedl y r ar e, J ur or 143' s ext r aor di nar y def i ance
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of t he Cour t ’ s i nst r uct i ons, hi s subsequent f ai l ur e t o di scl ose
hi s mi sbehavi or , and hi s cont i nued di shonest y bef or e t he Cour t
r ender t hi s such a case. The mot i on f or habeas cor pus r el i ef on
t he basi s of J ur or 143' s col l ect i on of ext r a- r ecor d i nf or mat i on
and r el at ed mi sconduct i s t her ef or e GRANTED.
3. Juror Coercion
Fel l al so al l eges t he J ur or 143 coer ced anot her j ur or by
poi nt i ng a weapon at her head. The cl ai mar i ses out of J ur or
143' s swor n decl ar at i on, i n whi ch he st at ed t hat a f emal e j ur or
“poi nt ed out t he f act t hat Fel l ’ s shot gun was not l oaded. ” A
member of t he Uni t ed St at es Mar shal s Ser vi ce al l egedl y br ought
t he gun i nt o t he j ur y r oom, wher eupon J ur or 143 “made sur e t hat
t he gun was unl oaded . . . cocked and poi nt ed i t a[ t ] her and she
squi r med. I sai d, ‘ That ’ s what t hey di d, you wer e scar ed even
t hough you knew i t wasn’ t l oaded. ’ ” Fel l Hr ’ g Ex. 1, ¶ 8. Fel l
bel i eves t hat t hi s demonst r at i on per suaded t he j ur or t o change
her vot e t o deat h.
The Si xt h Amendment pr ovi des t hat “‘ [ a] ny cr i mi nal def endant
. . . bei ng t r i ed by a j ur y i s ent i t l ed t o t he uncoer ced ver di ct
of t hat body. ’ ” Anderson v. Miller, 346 F. 3d 315, 326 ( 2d Ci r .
2003) ( quot i ng Lowenfield v. Phelps, 484 U. S. 231, 241 ( 1988) .
[ Q] uest i ons of j ur y coer ci on ‘ st r i ke[ ] at t he r oot of
t he r i ght t o a t r i al by j ur y. No per son may l awf ul l y
be convi ct ed by a j ur y unl ess ever y j ur or act ual l y
agr ees t hat upon t he evi dence and t he l aw of t he case
t hat per son i s gui l t y. I f a ver di ct of gui l t y i s
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r et ur ned f or any ot her r eason, i t i s a per ver si on of
t he const i t ut i onal guar ant y t o a j ur y t r i al . ’
Anderson, 346 F. 3d at 326 ( quot i ng United States v. Pleva, 66
F. 2d 529, 532 ( 2d Ci r . 1933) ) .
Her e, t he evi dence of j ur or coer ci on i s weak. At t he August
15, 2013 j ur or i nqui r y, t he Cour t asked J ur or 143 about hi s
r ef er ence t o a shot gun i n t he swor n decl ar at i on. The j ur or
r esponded: “Ther e was no gun poi nt ed at anybody. Dur i ng t he
del i ber at i ons, we di dn’ t have any f i r ear mi n t her e. When t her e
was a di scussi on over t hi ngs, somebody had ment i oned t hat i t
wasn’ t even l oaded, and I si mul at ed, si mul at ed poi nt i ng a gun at
somebody. ” Aug. 15, 2013 Hr ’ g Tr . at 28. Fel l ’ s counsel al so
conf r ont ed J ur or 143 about t he shot gun, and J ur or 143 agai n
deni ed t he accur acy of t he swor n decl ar at i on, st at i ng: “I don’ t
know what I was t hi nki ng at t he t i me, but I know I t hi nk i t ’ s
wr ong r i ght now . . . . I don’ t t hi nk i t ’ s wr ong. I know i t ’ s
wr ong. ”
COUNSEL: And t hen you go on t o say, “I cocked and poi nt ed
i t at her and she squi r med. ” That was a –
J UROR: Fal se.
COUNSEL: – t r ut hf ul st at ement , si r , wasn’ t i t ?
J UROR: No.
COUNSEL: That ’ s what –-
J UROR: I have never ai med a f i r ear mat anybody, not i n
t hi s cour t , not out of t hi s cour t . I si mul at ed
poi nt i ng a f i r ear m. Ther e was no f i r ear ml ef t i n
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t he j ur y r oom.
COUNSEL: You pi cked up t he gun and you poi nt ed i t at t he
j ur or .
J UROR: No.
COUNSEL: You sayi ng you di dn’ t do t hat ?
J UROR: That ’ s what I ’ msayi ng. Ther e was no f i r ear mi n
t he j ur y r oompoi nt ed at anybody.
COUNSEL: You j ust happen t o be mi st aken.
J UROR: That ’ s r i ght .
Id. at 54- 55.
Gi ven J ur or 143' s l ack of cr edi bi l i t y, t he Cour t must
consi der ot her r el evant t est i mony bef or e deci di ng whet her t he
coer ci on cl ai mi s adequat el y suppor t ed. As not ed above, t he
swor n decl ar at i on was dr af t ed af t er J ur or 143' s i nt er vi ew wi t h
At t or ney Zl oczower and her col l eague f r omCl ear y Got t l i eb. On
di r ect exami nat i on at t he Mar ch 18, 2014 hear i ng, At t or ney
Zl oczower t est i f i ed t hat when J ur or 143 r evi ewed t he wr i t t en
decl ar at i on, he was not ent i r el y sur e about t he pr esence of t he
shot gun i n t he j ur y r oom: “He sai d t hat now t hat he’ s l ooki ng at
t hi s, he wasn’ t sur e whet her or not he i n f act poi nt ed t he act ual
shot gun at t he –- at hi s f el l ow j ur or or whet her he used hi s ar m
and hi s hand t o symbol i ze t he shot gun. ” Mar . 18, 2014 Hr ’ g Tr .
at 72. At t or ney Zl oczower asked hi mt o “put down what he
r emember s best , ” wher eupon J ur or 143 “l ooked at i t agai n and
sai d, No, I t hi nk t hat ’ s okay [ as wr i t t en] . ” Id. Accor di ngl y,
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even at t he t i me t he decl ar at i on was si gned, J ur or 143 was
equi vocal about t he accur acy of t hi s st at ement .
At t he August 15, 2013 hear i ng, J ur or 162 was asked whet her
she r emember ed a f i r ear mi n t he j ur y r oom. She r esponded: “I
never saw a f i r ear mi n t he j ur y r oom, no. ” Aug. 15, 2013 Hr ’ g
Tr . at 198. When asked mor e speci f i cal l y whet her she saw a
shot gun i n t he j ur y r oom, t he j ur or answer ed: “I don’ t r ecal l
t hat . ” Id. Thi s j ur or ’ s t est i mony, i n conj unct i on wi t h At t or ney
Zl ocwozer ’ s r ecol l ect i on of her conver sat i ons wi t h J ur or 143 and
J ur or 143' s out r i ght deni al , each wei gh agai nst a f i ndi ng of
coer ci on by means of an act ual weapon.
The gover nment cont ends t hat t he cl ai mof j ur or i nt i mi dat i on
or coer ci on i s specul at i ve. The gover nment al so cont ends t hat
J ur or 143' s st at ement s about what occur r ed i n t he j ur y r oomar e
i nadmi ssi bl e under Feder al Rul e of Evi dence 606( b) . Gi ven t he
st at e of t he evi dence, t he Cour t need not r esol ve t hese
quest i ons. Wher e “a j ur or ’ s saf et y was t hr eat ened by f el l ow
j ur or s, ” t he t hr eat “r ai se[ s] ser i ous const i t ut i onal concer ns
wi t h r espect t o a def endant ’ s r i ght t o a f ai r t r i al . ” Anderson
v. Miller, 346 F. Supp. 2d 352, 360 ( E. D. N. Y. 2002) . The
evi dence does not suppor t f i ndi ng such a t hr eat i n t hi s case, and
t he Cour t t hus decl i nes t o gr ant r el i ef on t hi s basi s.
22
22
Fel l f ur t her cont ends t hat J ur or 143 f al sel y r epr esent ed
dur i ng voi r di r e t hat he had never been accused of a cr i me. Thi s
al l egat i on ar i ses out of an i nci dent i n whi ch J ur or 143 was accused of
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C. Juror 26
Fi nal l y, Fel l al l eges t hat J ur or 26 f ai l ed t o di scl ose
mat er i al i nf or mat i on dur i ng voi r di r e, and was exposed t o
pr ej udi ci al ext r a- r ecor d i nf or mat i on pr i or t o t r i al .
1. Non-disclosures
When asked on t he j ur or quest i onnai r e, “Have you or has a
f ami l y member or cl ose f r i end ever been char ged wi t h a cr i me, ”
J ur or 26 answer ed “No. ” Fel l has est abl i shed t hat J ur or 26 was
convi ct ed i n Apr i l 1996 of unl awf ul mi schi ef , a mi sdemeanor , f or
whi ch he r ecei ved a f i ne of $100. I n J anuar y 1995, he was
convi ct ed i n New Hampshi r e f or dr i vi ng under t he i nf l uence.
J ur or 26 was al so char ged i n 1992 wi t h a mi sdemeanor f or f ai l i ng
t o pay one of hi s wor ker s. Fel l f ur t her cl ai ms t hat J ur or 26
f ai l ed t o r eveal hi s son’ s pr i or cr i mi nal hi st or y, f ai l ed t o
ment i on f ami l y i nvol vement i n var i ous ci vi l sui t s, and wi t hhel d
t he f act t hat hi s f at her ser ved i n l ocal gover nment .
At t he j ur or i nqui r y i n Sept ember 2013, t he Cour t quest i oned
J ur or 26 about hi s own cr i mi nal hi st or y. The j ur or r esponded:
r emovi ng a pi cni c t abl e f r oma publ i c r ecr eat i on ar ea. The
compl ai nant st at ed t hat he f ol l owed J ur or 143 and t r i ed t o over t ake
hi mi n hi s vehi cl e at a hi gh r at e of speed, but depar t ed when J ur or
143 di spl ayed a handgun. The pol i ce det er mi ned t hat t he pi cni c t abl e
i n t he back of J ur or 143' s t r uck was not t he st ol en i t em, and no
char ges wer e f i l ed. The Cour t f i nds t hat when r espondi ng t o t he j ur or
quest i onnai r e, t hi s j ur or may not have per cei ved quest i oni ng by l aw
enf or cement as t he equi val ent of a cr i mi nal accusat i on. Accor di ngl y,
Fel l i s not ent i t l ed t o r el i ef on t he basi s of t hi s cl ai m.
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I t hi nk i t – i t was a l ong t i me ago, but I t hi nk you’ r e
r i ght , yes. I di dn’ t . . . . I – I di dn’ t t hi nk t hat
I had – wel l , I di dn’ t t hi nk t hey wer e ser i ous enough
t o be l i ke – I di dn’ t t hi nk of i t as any mor e t han a
speedi ng t i cket or , you know . . . .
Sept . 27, 2013 Hr ’ g Tr . at 4- 5. J ur or 26 al so expl ai ned t hat t he
unl awf ul mi schi ef char ge occur r ed af t er he cut a phone l i ne t hat
he hi msel f had i nst al l ed. Hi s wi f e f i l ed t he compl ai nt , and
accor di ng t o J ur or 26, he was i ssued a ci t at i on and t he mat t er
was t her eaf t er di smi ssed. Hi s wi f e subsequent l y f i l ed a second
compl ai nt , and J ur or 26 pai d a $100 f i ne.
When t he Cour t asked J ur or 26 about hi s f ai l ur e t o di scl ose
t he DWI convi ct i on, J ur or 26 r esponded: “No, I r eal l y di dn’ t
t hi nk about i t at t he t i me. ” Id. at 12. Wi t h r espect t he wage
payment mat t er , J ur or 26 t est i f i ed t hat he ul t i mat el y pai d t he
wor ker , and bel i eved t hat once payment was made t he char ge woul d
not be r ef l ect ed on hi s cr i mi nal r ecor d. Id. at 32. He al so
st at ed t hat he di d not ment i on t he i nci dent because he di d not
t hi nk i t was i mpor t ant . Id. at 33.
Based upon J ur or 26' s t est i mony, t her e i s i nsuf f i ci ent
evi dence t hat t hi s j ur or i nt ent i onal l y wi t hhel d i nf or mat i on, or
t hat hi s r esponses wer e evi dence of bi as. See McDonough, 464
U. S. at 556. Wi t h r espect t o hi s cr i mi nal vi ol at i ons, t he j ur or
l i kened t hemt o “a speedi ng t i cket , ” and i n some i nst ances
bel i eved t hat t he of f enses had been r emoved f r omhi s r ecor d.
Not hi ng i n t hese r esponses demonst r at es di shonest y. See, e.g.,
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Green v. Vacco, 961 F. Supp. 46, 50 ( W. D. N. Y. 1997) ( f i ndi ng no
mi sconduct wher e j ur or f ai l ed t o di scl ose past cr i mi nal
convi ct i on based upon i nf or mat i on pr ovi ded by her at t or ney) . The
same i s t r ue of t he j ur or ’ s ot her non- di scl osur es i nvol vi ng ci vi l
sui t s and hi s son’ s cr i mi nal hi st or y. See, e.g., Stewart, 433
F. 3d at 305–06 ( di st r i ct cour t di d not er r i n decl i ni ng t o hol d
hear i ng wher e j ur or f ai l ed t o di scl ose r ecent $11, 000 adver se
j udgment and i nf or mat i on about son’ s cr i mi nal r ecor d) .
Accor di ngl y, no r el i ef i s war r ant ed on t he basi s of J ur or 26' s
non- di scl osur es dur i ng voi r di r e.
2. Extra-Record Information
Fel l al so cl ai ms t hat hi s t r i al was t ai nt ed by J ur or 26’ s
exposur e t o ext r a- r ecor d i nf or mat i on. I n a post - t r i al i nt er vi ew
wi t h Fel l ’ s habeas counsel , J ur or 26 r eveal ed t hat at t he t i me of
t r i al , he was awar e of Rober t Lee’ s deat h, and was under t he
i mpr essi on f r oma news r epor t t hat Lee had commi t t ed sui ci de.
Fel l cl ai ms t hat t hi s exposur e was pr ej udi ci al , not i ng t hat Lee’ s
name was used mul t i pl e t i mes t hr oughout t r i al and t he Cour t
gr ant ed a def ense mot i on t o excl ude any evi dence r el at i ng t o
Lee’ s deat h. See Op. & Or der 8, May 25, 2005, ECF No. 131.
On t he l ast day of t he penal t y phase, t he gover nment r ead
t he f ol l owi ng st i pul at i on i nt o t he r ecor d:
I t i s st i pul at ed and agr eed by and bet ween t he
under si gned par t i es t hat on Febr uar y 1st , Rober t Lee
and Donal d Fel l wer e char ged by gr and j ur y i ndi ct ment
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wi t h t he same cr i mes. On Sept ember 20, 2001, Lee di ed
i n hi s cel l at t he Nor t hwest Cor r ect i onal Faci l i t y i n
St . Al bans, Ver mont . Hi s deat h was det er mi ned t o be
acci dent al . At t he t i me of hi s deat h, Lee f aced t he
same char ges as Fel l .
Tr i al Tr . Vol . XI at 93. Asi de f r om“acci dent al , ” t her e was no
ment i on i n t he st i pul at i on, or el sewher e at t r i al , of t he cause
of Lee’ s deat h.
Unl i ke J ur or 143, J ur or 26 has admi t t ed t o hi s knowl edge of
ext r a- r ecor d i nf or mat i on dur i ng t r i al . I n hi s t est i mony bef or e
t he Cour t dur i ng t he post - t r i al hear i ngs, J ur or 26 st at ed t hat
when Lee’ s name was ment i oned at t r i al , he r emember ed t hat he
“had hear d i t on t he news t hat [ Lee] had commi t t ed sui ci de. ”
Sept . 27, 2013 Hr ’ g Tr . at 28. He al so t est i f i ed t hat he hear d
t hi s news r epor t “qui t e a whi l e bef or e [ t r i al ] . ” Id. at 14.
When asked by t he Cour t whet her he t hought t hat memor y was
r el evant , J ur or 26 st at ed: “I never t hought t hat i t was t hat
r el evant ot her t han – because he wasn’ t on t r i al , and he was
act ual l y passed away. ” Id. at 16. Af t er a br i ef r ecess, t he
Cour t agai n asked J ur or 26 whet her he t hought hi s knowl edge of
Lee’ s deat h was i mpor t ant , t o whi ch t he j ur or r esponded, “No, I
di dn’ t at t he t i me t hi nk i t was i mpor t ant t o anyt hi ng. ” Id. at
28.
Fel l has t hus est abl i shed t hat J ur or 26 was exposed t o
ext r a- r ecor d i nf or mat i on. The l aw pr esumes pr ej udi ce f r om
exposur e t o such i nf or mat i on unl ess t he gover nment can show t hat
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“‘ t he ext r a- r ecor d i nf or mat i on was har ml ess. ’ ” Farhane, 624 F. 3d
at 168 ( quot i ng Bibbins, 21 F. 3d at 16) . As set f or t h above, i n
maki ng t hi s det er mi nat i on t he Cour t must appl y an obj ect i ve t est
t o det er mi ne whet her t he ext r aneous i nf or mat i on woul d af f ect a
hypot het i cal j ur or . See Greer, 285 F. 3d at 173.
Her e, t he Cour t f i nds t hat t he gover nment has met i t s bur den
t o show har ml essness. The evi dence i ndi cat es t hat J ur or 26 was
exposed t o a news r epor t r egar di ng Lee’ s sui ci de l ong bef or e
t r i al . He was t hen i nf or med at t r i al t hat t he par t i es had
st i pul at ed Lee’ s deat h was “det er mi ned t o be acci dent al . ” A
t ypi cal j ur or woul d not have di sr egar ded t he st i pul at i on i n f avor
of a hal f - f or got t en news r epor t , par t i cul ar l y gi ven t he Cour t ’ s
r epeat ed i nst r uct i ons t o t he j ur y t hat t hey wer e t o r ender a
deci si on sol el y on t he evi dence hear d at t r i al . Mor eover , unl i ke
J ur or 143’ s ext r a- r ecor d exposur e, whi ch was pl ai nl y har mf ul t o
t he def ense’ s case and hel pf ul t o t he gover nment ’ s, t he
ext r aneous i nf or mat i on her e was i nconsi st ent wi t h a st i pul at i on.
I ndeed, as t he Cour t r ecogni zed at voi r di r e, bot h par t i es
ar guabl y had an i nt er est i n keepi ng t he f act of t he sui ci de f r om
t he j ur y. See J ur or Voi r Di r e 1 at 77 ( obser vi ng t hat knowl edge
of sui ci de af f ect s t he “f ai r ness t o t hi s def endant , as wel l as
t he gover nment ”) .
Fel l ar gues t hat pr ej udi ce can nonet hel ess be est abl i shed by
t he f act t hat anot her pr ospect i ve j ur or was excused bef or e t r i al
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i n par t because he knew about t he det ai l s of Lee’ s deat h. I n
excusi ng t he j ur or , t he Cour t st at ed:
Second, he has got some i nf or mat i on about t hi s case
whi ch no one el se has, and t hat i s t hat Mr . Lee
commi t t ed sui ci de. And i f he i s al l owed t o si t on a
j ur y, t hat means t he ent i r e j ur y get s t o know t hat Mr .
Lee commi t t ed sui ci de. And t hat i s of gr ave concer n t o
me, i n t er ms of f ai r ness t o t hi s def endant , as wel l as
t he gover nment , f or t hat mat t er . . . .
Id. Based on t he Cour t ’ s st at ement s, Fel l submi t s t hat J ur or
26’ s knowl edge of Lee’ s f at e was pr ej udi ci al . However , t he f act
t hat a j ur or was excused on t hi s basi s does not est abl i sh t hat
J ur or 26' s ext r a- r ecor d exposur e woul d pr ej udi ce t he hypot het i cal
j ur or . Thi s i s because, unl i ke t he di smi ssed j ur or , t he act ual
j ur y was ul t i mat el y i nf or med at t r i al t hat t he par t i es had
st i pul at ed t o Lee’ s cause of deat h. The st i pul at i on mi ni mi zes
any r i sk of pr ej udi ce.
The Second Ci r cui t has war ned t hat “[ a] di st r i ct cour t must
be car ef ul t hat i t does not i t sel f ‘ cr eat e pr ej udi ce by
exagger at i ng t he i mpor t ance and i mpact ’ of ext r a- r ecor d
i nf or mat i on. ” Farhane, 634 F. 3d at 169 ( quot i ng United States v.
Abrams, 137 F. 3d 704, 708 ( 2d Ci r . 1998) ) . Her e, i n cont r ast
wi t h t he ci r cumst ances r egar di ng J ur or 143, t he l ow r i sk of
pr ej udi ce t o t he hypot het i cal j ur or does not j ust i f y a new t r i al .
The Cour t t her ef or e f i nds no gr ounds f or gr ant i ng r el i ef on t he
basi s of J ur or 26' s ext r a- r ecor d knowl edge.
IV. Conclusion
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The Uni t ed St at es Const i t ut i on pr ovi des t hat ever y def endant
i s ent i t l ed t o a f ai r t r i al bef or e an i mpar t i al j ur y. A f ai r
t r i al r equi r es a j ur y t hat i s “‘ capabl e and wi l l i ng t o deci de t he
case sol el y on t he evi dence bef or e i t . ’ ” McDonough, 464 U. S. at
554 ( quot i ng Smith, 455 U. S. at 217) . Thi s r equi r ement “goes t o
t he f undament al i nt egr i t y of al l t hat i s embr aced i n t he
const i t ut i onal concept of t r i al by j ur y, ” ensur i ng t hat “at t he
ver y l east t he ‘ evi dence devel oped’ agai nst a def endant shal l
come f r omt he wi t ness st and i n a publ i c cour t r oomwher e t her e i s
f ul l j udi ci al pr ot ect i on of t he def endant ’ s r i ght [ s] . ” Turner,
379 U. S. at 472- 73. The r i ght t o a f ai r t r i al al so guar ant ees a
j ur y f r ee of bi as. See Morgan, 504 U. S. at 729 ( “I f even one
[ par t i al ] j ur or i s empanel ed” and t he deat h sent ence i s i mposed,
“t he [ gover nment ] i s di sent i t l ed t o execut e t he sent ence. ”) .
J ur or 143 vi ol at ed t he f undament al i nt egr i t y of Fel l ’ s t r i al
by del i ber at el y under t aki ng an i ndependent i nvest i gat i on. Thi s
i s def i ni t i vel y est abl i shed by J ur or 143' s own swor n decl ar at i on,
t he t est i mony of hi s domest i c par t ner who t r avel ed wi t h hi mt o
t he cr i me scenes, and a l at er par t ner wi t h whomhe shar ed hi s
pl ans. The j ur or t r avel ed over t wo hour s t o vi ew t he cr i me
scenes i n knowi ng vi ol at i on of t he Cour t ’ s or der s. Whi l e t her e,
he vi ewed ext r a- r ecor d i nf or mat i on t hat was hi ghl y r el evant t o
t he aggr avat i ng and mi t i gat i ng f act or s pr esent ed at t r i al . Af t er
br eachi ng hi s oat h as a j ur or , he r et ur ned t o t he cour t r oomwher e
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he pur posef ul l y negl ect ed t o i nf or mt he Cour t of hi s
t r ansgr essi ons. And year s l at er , dur i ng a post - t r i al pr oceedi ng
convened speci f i cal l y t o assess t he f ai r ness of Fel l ’ s t r i al ,
J ur or 143 openl y l i ed t o t he Cour t about whet her he had commi t t ed
t hese act s.
Whet her J ur or 143’ s f al sehoods wer e dr i ven by hi s “r egr et
and embar r assment , ” as pr of f er ed by t he gover nment , or wer e a
r esul t of i nt ent i onal and f l agr ant di sr egar d of t he j udi ci al
pr ocess, t her e i s no quest i on t hat J ur or 143 was exposed t o
pr ej udi ci al i nf or mat i on t hat was never i nt r oduced at t r i al nor
subj ect ed t o t he j udi ci al saf eguar ds of cr oss- exami nat i on,
conf r ont at i on, and counsel . Thi s i nf or mat i on i mpl i cat ed t he
aggr avat i ng and mi t i gat i ng f act or s t hat wer e cent r al t o t he
j ur y’ s deat h penal t y det er mi nat i on, and t hus woul d have i mpact ed
a hypot het i cal j ur or ’ s sent enci ng del i ber at i ons. J ur or 143’ s
ext r aor di nar y and cont i nuous def i ance of t he Cour t ’ s di r ect i ves
al so evi dences a par t i al i t y t hat t ai nt ed t he i nt egr i t y of Fel l ’ s
t r i al and vi ol at ed hi s const i t ut i onal r i ght t o an unbi ased j ur y.
Because of J ur or 143’ s del i ber at e mi sconduct , Fel l had a
j ur y t hat was not capabl e, nor wi l l i ng, t o deci de hi s case sol el y
on t he evi dence bef or e i t . He was t her ef or e deni ed a f ai r t r i al ,
and hi s convi ct i on and sent ence must be vacat ed. Whi l e t he Cour t
i s r el uct ant t o t ur n back t he cl ock on a mat t er t hat has r equi r ed
such si gni f i cant r esour ces i n t er ms of t i me, ef f or t , and, f or
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some, emot i on, i t sees no al t er nat i ve gi ven J ur or 143’ s act i ons.
I n par t i cul ar , t he Cour t i s mi ndf ul of t he i mpact upon Mr s.
Ki ng’ s f ami l y, whi ch has suf f er ed f or so l ong as a r esul t of t hi s
t r agedy.
Fel l ’ s amended Sect i on 2255 mot i on on t he basi s of j ur or
mi sconduct i s GRANTED, and Fel l i s ent i t l ed t o a new t r i al . The
Cour t not es, however , t hat t her e ar e r emai ni ng cl ai ms i n Fel l ’ s
amended mot i on. The par t i es shal l conf er and i nf or mt he Cour t
t hr ough br i ef i ng of t hei r r espect i ve posi t i ons as t o how t hi s
mat t er shoul d pr oceed. Such br i ef i ng shal l be f i l ed on or bef or e
Sept ember 30, 2014.
DATED at Bur l i ngt on, i n t he Di st r i ct of Ver mont , t hi s 24
t h

day of J ul y, 2014.
/ s/ Wi l l i amK. Sessi ons I I I
Wi l l i amK. Sessi ons I I I
Uni t ed St at es Di st r i ct J udge
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