If you're an alternate juror on a case involving one of Connecticut's most horrifying crimes—the murder and sexual assault of a woman and her two daughters, plus the near fatal beating of the woman's husband, in their home—why pass up to the opportunity to see if the bailiff wants to go out on a date? Even though she's supposed to be considering whether Steven Hayes, who was convicted of killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit, Michaela Petit, and Hayley Petit, deserves the death penalty, an unnamed juror sent this note—written on a napkin—"Sunday 5:00 pm Side Street Grill / Hamden"—meant for the court marshal but intercepted for the judge to see.
According to the Hartford Courant, here's how Judge Jon C. Blue dealt with the juror:
She admitted she was hoping to meet with the marshal.
Blue said: "I'm a romantic at heart, but not here. So I have to ask you some questions."
She said no meetings had taken place.
Blue assured her that the marshal was not in any trouble but the court had to "figure out what to do with you."
"Oh," she said.
Blue asked if her interest impacted her impartiality.
"No, absolutely not," she said.
Blues said the lawyers are going to ask you some questions but they did not want to embarrass her.
She replied, "You think?"
Blue said the note could become an issue.
The juror looked distressed and said, "Oh, my goodness."
Having one alternate puts the case in a precarious position, in case a regular member can no longer serve, Blue said.
"I want to just bury myself," the juror said, at times putting her head in her hands.
Blue told her, "Believe me, if I could spare you embarrassment I would." He thought about excusing her, he said, "but frankly we need you."
The alternate juror said that she remembered the instructions the judge gave but thought as long as she did not discuss the case it would be OK.
Blue, who said that the marshal was reassigned, said the note was very "middle school," adding, "Pardon my French, but this was a god---- dumb thing to do." The juror said, "My intentions were not to jeopardize anything." If the juror were booted, the verdict could be called into question.
Hayes' lawyer, who has been trying to save his client from death by noting alleged sexual abuse, said, "She's obviously not focusing her attention on the case. We are in the middle of a death penalty case and there is a lot at stake for everybody." The trial started with 12 jurors, six alternates, and two substitutes, but this apparently smitten juror is the last alternate standing.