Office of the District Attorney - Maggie Fleming, District Attorney
December 15, 2015
Today the First Appellate District of the State of California, Division One, reversed the Humboldt County Superior Court ruling in People v Timothy Littlefield which granted the defendant a new trial. In 2013 a jury found the defendant guilty of all charges related to his sexual misconduct with a child under 10 years of age.
The defense filed a motion for a new trial based on a declaration by a juror that addressed his mental processes during jury deliberations. The trial court conducted a hearing during which the juror recanted the declaration, stating he had not personally written it nor read it carefully before signing it. Nevertheless, the trial court granted the motion for a new trial.
The appellate court reversed the trial court and found the juror’s declaration irrelevant in assessing the validity of the verdict. The appellate court further stated: “…we think the appropriate remedy is not to affirm the order setting aside the verdict based solely on irrelevant evidence and speculation about what defendant could have proved, but to remand for further proceedings to determine whether relevant and admissible evidence of jury misconduct actually exists.”
The District Attorney’s Office is requesting that the hearing outlined by the Court of Appeals be completed as soon as the trial court is available.