STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. KALIL GRIFFIN A-3491-15T2The State appeals, on leave granted, a post-trial order to interview alternate jurors following the jury's return of a guilty verdict against defendant Kalil Griffin on charges of felony murder, robbery, and weapons offenses. Defense counsel sought the interviews after one of the alternates telephoned him after the verdict, claiming several jurors routinely met to discuss the case during the trial. The alternate indicated to defense counsel the jurors participating in those discussions decided to vote guilty before summations, and claimed she heard the juror who organized them say he was going to make sure defendant did not "get off" like his co-defendant.
Delineating the obligations of a trial judge confronted with allegations of juror misconduct made after verdict as opposed to at trial, the panel concludes the alternate's allegations, even if substantiated, would not support setting aside the conviction. Because the allegations did not warrant the extraordinary procedure of calling back discharged jurors for questioning, it reverses the order and remands for sentencing and the entry of a judgment of conviction.