A judge may declare a mistrial in a criminal case for several reasons, including lack of jurisdiction and incorrect jury selection. When a mistrial occurs, the proceedings become null and void, however, a new trial may then be heard.
The US legal system allows both the prosecution and defence teams to veto candidates. In selecting 12 primary jurors, Maxwell’s team had 10 challenges and the prosecution six.
Question 48 of 51 on the questionnaire jurors were given was: “Have you or a friend or family member ever been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual assault?,” followed by: “If yes, do you believe that this would affect your ability to serve fairly and impartially as a juror in this case?”
One potential juror was dismissed during the judge’s questioning, known as voir dire, after she told the court she informed her sister’s school of alleged sexual abuse her sister had suffered at the hands of a teacher.
Unlike in the UK, jurors in the US are permitted to speak to the media after they have reached their verdict and they are dismissed.
Juror “Scotty David”, who used his real first and middle name but declined to give his surname, told Lucia Osborne-Crowley of Law360 that he believed Maxwell’s four accusers.
“I know what happened when I was sexually abused. I remember the colour of the carpet, the walls. Some of it can be replayed like a video,” he said. “But I can’t remember all the details, there are some things that run together.”
He told his fellow jury members that, like the victims in the case, he did not speak of his abuse until later. “I didn’t disclose my abuse until I was in high school,” he said.
David said he believes this helped the jury understand the women’s delayed reporting.
In a piece for The Independent, he said: “This verdict is for all the victims. For those who testified, for those who came forward and for those who haven’t come forward. I’m glad that Maxwell has been held accountable.
“This verdict shows that you can be found guilty no matter your status.”
Maxwell, 60, is facing up to 65 years in prison after being found guilty on five of her six charges.
She may be forced to wait several months until sentencing while an independent investigator compiles a report, look into Maxwell’s background, family, education and employment history to determine if any of these should influence the severity or leniency of the sentence.