On December 20, Sweeney testified in Tampa. He produced a recording of the interview he had made of their conversation with Wright's consent. The tape confirmed Wright's published quotes regarding research. When the juror took the stand and heard her words played back, she still continued to maintain the research had been done after the proceedings. Banton's attorneys also grilled her on her failure to acknowledge she had served on seven juries. She had even said she would like to be a professional juror.

To settle the issue, Moody ordered Wright to hand over her computer so an expert could comb the hardware for past searches. But a close inspection showed that the equipment Wright submitted to the court hadn't been used at all from May 2010 to June 2011 — a time span that stretched four months after the trial. Banton's defense argued that Wright had submitted a different hard drive to distance herself from charges of wrongdoing. The juror continued to claim she'd done nothing wrong.

Last week, Moody ignored Wright's explanations. He ordered the gun charge thrown out because of the juror's research. He also told the state to prepare a contempt charge against the former juror for deceiving the court about the hard drive. She could face a fine and six-month sentence if convicted.

But Moody also ruled against a defense motion to throw out the drug charges, potentially leaving Banton in jail for the remainder of his ten-year sentence.

According to Markus, now that law libraries, statutes, and case law are a Google search away from anyone, more court cases are hindered by rogue research. "These issues are coming up quite frequently," he explains. "Judges are put in a difficult position today, because every day, jurors are going home to do research."

Banton's legal team says the New Times article about the juror's work "without a doubt" is responsible for the latest development. "That was the basis for our motion for retrial," Alkebu-lan says.

Team Buju is now weighing its options. Moody's decision leaves the whole proceeding in an awkward — and ridiculous — middle ground. By rejecting the gun charge, the judge acknowledged Wright's misconduct tainted the proceedings — but if she tainted one count, how is it possible she didn't poison the whole process?

"I'm not sure you can put those things into separate boxes," Markus says. "Once a juror, especially the foreperson, is doing outside research, it really affects the whole trial. And I think it really applies here. The jury initially voted 10-2 not guilty on all counts. This woman really affected how the jury thought about the case."

That's why, when Banton's attorneys appeal Moody's decision to leave the drug charges in place, it is possible the higher court will clear the deck. The defendant has a 14-day window to appeal Moody's decision to leave the drug charges in place. The prosecution also has the option to retry Banton on the gun charge (the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment about the case for this article), although it's unlikely at this point. For the recording star, that means his hellish run through the criminal justice system might soon be over.

"This decision," Alkebu-lan says, "helps us tremendously."

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2 comments
billylegend.6114
billylegend.6114

Gay run the entertainment because buju Banton did bum by by they send to prison 4 10 years but jah not sleeping.

dion20
dion20

what are waiting on to file this appeal, this man is now way guilty, in my opinion the only thing  he is guilty of was to taste the damn drugs. I know many of us will say why would you taste it if you know nothing about it... but the mind led us to do stupid things at times

 

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