A 63 year old Moss Bluff woman sits in jail tonight because she said what she thought about the murder case to other prospective jurors. And when Judge David Ritchie found out, he sent the woman to jail.
When you are called for jury duty one of the first things you're told is to not discuss the case with anyone. But Sharon Richard admits she did and now she is in jail for contempt of court.
And Judge Ritchie says she'll stay there until at least Monday and probably longer.
Richard was called as prospective juror in the trial of Robyn Davis and Carol Sissy Saltzman charged with second degree murder of Davis's Husband Brian Davis.
Apparently during a break, when the jurors were out in the hall, Richard talked about the case with several others and another prospective juror informed the judge. When questioned by Ritchie, Richard admitted what she had done. Said Ritchie, "Richard's actions were shockingly unbelievable and selfish." He said, "She chose to do that and she's going to pay for it."
He also issued a stern warning to other prospective jurors telling them a violation of his orders could cause them to go to jail
After resolving whether Richard's comments may have influenced other jurors, eventually they moved ahead to attorneys' questions.
Prosecutor Rick Bryant questioned jurors in detail about whether they could convict someone solely on circumstantial evidence-- that's evidence that requires jurors to draw conclusions from a combination of facts that individually wouldn't prove a crime.
Here's one way of looking at it. If you wake up in the morning and there's snow on the ground, it's reasonable to conclude it snowed--even though you didn't see it snow. So that would be like circumstantial evidence.
Ultimately the idea is to get a jury that can be fair to the state and the defense.
As of 6:25 p.m. the judge and prospective jurors were still in court.