A juror took some shoes and it almost caused a mistrial

Caught on video: A juror took some shoes almost causing a mistrial

FORT WORTH -- Spend enough time in a courthouse and lawyers will say they come to expect the unexpected.

But Phil Hall never saw this one coming.

"This was just something out of left field," Hall said.

Last week, while wrapping up a jury trial in a family violence case, Hall says he and other attorneys were shocked when a Tarrant County deputy came into their courtroom and headed straight to the judge.

"They handed her a paper," Hall said. "The judge just looks down and she just look puzzled."

Turns out, one of the jurors had been caught on surveillance video only moments earlier taking a pair of shoes near the security entrance to the courthouse.

WFAA got a look at the footage.

It shows a female attorney switching between "walking" shoes and heels, but forgetting to grab the shoes after she puts on the heels.

A short time later, a man approaches the same area and after looking around for a couple of minutes puts the shoes in this backpack.

"It was all on video," Hall said. "But I couldn't believe it. The judge simply told us there was suspicion of a juror on our jury caught on video taking the shoes."

Hall said he was nervous that a mistrial may be declared but that they were able to push forward with finishing the trial.

"There was a real question for us: What do we do? If we had asked for a mistrial, would the judge grant it?" he wondered.

Once approached about the shoes, the juror handed them over. No charges were filed.

"The shoes were safely returned and no charges were brought, but it was very strange," he said. "The judge has been on the bench at least a couple of decades, and said she'd never had anything like that happen in the history of her being on the bench."

Hall's client was found not guilty.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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