The woman, identified only as “juror 12,” was dismissed late Thursday after U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro noticed her falling asleep on several occasions during testimony. The jury includes four alternates, so the case will not be affected by the juror’s dismissal.
“We appreciate so much you being here, and … all the things you had to do to rearrange your life,” Navarro said in dismissing the juror. “I can’t thank you enough for your time.”
The government is in its second week of calling witnesses to testify against six people charged as “gunmen” in the 2014 armed standoff near Bundy’s ranch in Bunkerville.
Most of the witnesses have been federal law enforcement officers who have given similar accounts of the events of April 12, 2014. The trial is expected to last weeks due to the voluminous government evidence and the number of defendants — each of whom have the opportunity, through their attorneys, to cross-examine every witness.
Earlier this week, Navarro called juror 12 into the courtroom and raised concerns that she was “nodding off” too much. The juror assured the judge that she was awake, and said sometimes she was just closing her eyes to take in information or to look at visual evidence displayed on the screen positioned directly in front of her knees.
Before she dismissed juror 12, Navarro questioned two other jurors who had noticed the woman sleeping.
Juror 13, who was seated next to juror 12 for the trial, told the judge, “We all know to wake her up.”
“Sometimes I get tapped by the guys in the back,” he said. He also said sometimes fellow jurors who sit behind him “make some kind of comment, as low as they can.”
When Navarro asked him how many times he saw juror 12 fall asleep, he replied, “More than five.”
“I’m going to go ahead and excuse her,” Navarro said after all jurors had left the courtroom. “I don’t see how I can allow her to stay.”
Navarro ordered juror 12 not to have any conversations about the case until the trial is over, and threatened to slap her with a civil contempt charge if she disobeys that order.