Court Debates New Trial for Psychiatrist

  • Foad Afshar (center) stands with his supporters outside the New Hampshire Supreme Court on Wednesday, June 27, 2018. The court heard oral arguments on whether two jurors who did not disclose their status as sexual assault survivors affected a sexual assault trial Afshar was convicted in. That conviction was thrown out last year. Caitlin Andrews

  • Supporters of Foad Afshar (foreground) listen to oral arguments at the New Hampshire Supreme Court on Wednesday, June 27, 2018. The court heard arguments on whether two jurors who did not disclose their status as sexual assault survivors affected a sexual assault trial Afshar was convicted in. That conviction was thrown out last year. Concord Monitor — Caitlin Andrews

Concord Monitor
Published: 6/28/2018 12:17:18 AM
Modified: 6/28/2018 12:17:28 AM

Concord — As attorneys debated before the state’s Supreme Court whether a Concord psychologist whose sexual assault conviction was thrown out should get a new trial, they kept returning to a central theme: how bias affects a trial’s outcome.

Lawyer Ted Lothstein, representing Foad Afshar, of Bow, maintained on Wednesday that two jurors who did not disclose their status as childhood sexual assault victims during the jury selection process — but did so during jury deliberations — prevented his client from having a fair trial and should have been excused, regardless of whether their disclosures influenced other jurors’ decisions.

Assistant Attorney General Sean Locke argued the trial court judge was wrong to rule that the jurors were biased based on their previous life experiences, regardless of their demeanor during questioning or actions before or after the trial.

Justices questioned how those jurors’ actions affected the outcome of the trial.

“There wasn’t any testimony from other jurors that (the two jurors’ disclosure) impacted their decision,” Associate Justice James Bassett said. “ ... Shouldn’t that matter to us? Wouldn’t that be useful information?”

Lothstein said only the two jurors were questioned, adding that it would be “problematic” and “inappropriate” to ask other jurors whether the disclosures had an impact.

Further, Lothstein said it didn’t matter whether their conduct affected the deliberations because defendants have a right to an impartial trial.




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