The letter that began it all:
THOMAS H. OSTRANDER, ATTORNEY AT LAW
458 12th Street West
Bradenton, FL 34206
November 4, 1997
The Honorable Steven D. Merryday
United States District Judge
611 N. Florida Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33602
Counsel of record: Ronald Smith, Brant David Armstrong, Ann F. Borghetti, Stephen M. Crawford, Dan Daly, and Fred Vollrath
AUSA Ernest F. Peluso
RE: US V. EMILLO L. IPPOLITO
Juror Misconduct Matter
Dear. Judge Merryday and Gentlemen:
As I have advised some of you, I was contacted on October 30, 1997, by attorney Robert Gasken of Pinellas County regarding deposition he had recently taken of a gentleman involved in a dissolution matter. He advised that during the course of the deposition, he learned that the husband of his client had served as a juror in the Ippolito matter. He advised that the husband had confirmed that he had been on the jury as an active participant for the length of the Ippolito trial.
The reason that Mr. Gasken brought this matter to my attention was the fact that the Juror has a number of criminal convictions. My recollection was that he may have had felony convictions; however, my recollection is not totally clear. What was clear was that the gentleman had misrepresented to this court that he had not been convicted of any crimes, and, based upon that, he was allowed to remain in the jury pool and ultimately he was selected for jury service.
Mr. Gasken further advised that the individual may have been on probation during the course of our trial.
Immediately upon contacting Mr. Gasken, I advised him that there was an anonymity order regarding this trial, and I asked him not to provide me with the name of the juror or any other identifying information which might violate the anonymity order. I suggested that it might be useful for him to contact the court directly or that I might follow up with this matter by filing a motion with the court asking that the matter be looked into to allow an explanation of this misconduct without conceding the juror"s anonymity.
I have discussed this with a number of the attorneys, including Mr. Peluso, to confirm that I would take some steps to notify the court of this event.
As of this writing, I have not determined the necessary legal action which is required due to the fact that this gentleman has allegedly misrepresented his status with the Court and with this body of defense counsel and the United States.
I leave it to the Court as to whether any additional steps should be taken and with my colleagues to determine the next appropriate step.
I felt it important to make a record and advise the Court immediately as to the possibility of misconduct. As of this writing, because I am unaware of the identity of this individual, I obviously cannot confirm to the Court that, in fact, any misconduct occurred. However, Mr. Gasken believed very strongly that it in fact had.
I await the Court"s instructions in this regard.
Thomas H. Ostrander, Esq.
cc: Emilio Ippolito
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