The case had the entire world mesmerized for weeks. Movie star Johnny Depp was suing his ex-wife, movie star Amber Heard, for defamation. She sued him back. They had other famous people as witnesses. The allegations Amber made against Johnny were scandalous and terrible if deemed true. Only the jury didn’t. But now, Amber Heard is asking the court for a mistrial and another chance.
Amber Heard’s attorneys have filed a five-page motion in the Circuit Court of Fairfax County, Virginia, asking the court to grant a mistrial and a new trial in the case. They “claim the information on the jury panel list sent to counsel ahead of trial does not appear to match the demographics of one of the jurors,” reports CNN.
It seems, according to Heard’s lawyers, that the person that was summoned, and the person that appeared and became juror number 15 were not the same, but had the same last name and the same address. The one that was summoned was born in 1945 and the one that appeared and became juror number 15 was born in 1970.
Specifically, the filing states “Juror No. 15 was not the individual summoned for jury duty on April 11, 2022 and therefore was not part of the jury panel and could not have properly served on the jury at this trial. “Therefore, a mistrial should be declared and a new trial ordered.”
Heard’s attorneys additionally state in the motion, “As the Court no doubt agrees, it is deeply troubling for an individual not summoned for jury duty nonetheless to appear for jury duty and serve on a jury, especially in a case such as this.” They say that because of the swap, their client’s “due process was therefore compromised” and “a mistrial should be declared, and a new trial ordered.”
Heard’s attorneys initially brought up the issue of the juror in post-trial motions, saying “one of the jurors may not have been properly vetted by the court.” Johnny Depp’s attorneys have not yet responded to the new motion.
Just like the initial trial, this new motion has garnered a lot of attention on Twitter. Here are just a few comments:
“I may dislike her but I’ve heard other people say this and there may be fire to this smoke. The wrong person being there is a serious problem. But also, 2 people with the same exact name living at the same address? That sounds a bit fishy…”
“Insufficient to warrant a mistrial. Pay the man what you owe.”
Issues with jurors can sometimes rise to the level of requiring a mistrial. Examples might be if it is discovered that an attorney or a party had tampered or otherwise communicated with a juror. What happened in this case seems unusual, but do you think it affected the jury’s verdict?