The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday overturned a guilty verdict against a man convicted of using a 13-year-old girl for prostitution after a Utah judge admitted meeting with a juror.
Timothy Scisum appealed his conviction on a charge of transporting a minor across state lines for prostitution, saying U.S. District Judge David Sam's meeting was improper.Scisum was accused of driving from Washington to Utah with a pimp and two prostitutes, including a 13-year-old.
After a two-day trial, the jury began deliberations. The jury sent several notes to the court, including one saying it was unable to reach a verdict on two of the charges.
Sam instructed jurors to return to their deliberations, and they reached a verdict on the one count.
One of the jurors approached the marshal upset and crying. The marshal reported to the judge, and he met with the juror. Nothing was said to the lawyers.
Later, Sam admitted meeting with the juror, and the juror signed a statement that she met with him and that she believed Scisum was innocent. She said without the meeting she would have dissented from the guilty verdict.
She said she told Sam she could not say she agreed with the verdict, and he told her he understood how she felt, so she changed her verdict.
Sam said he didn't believe the comment harmful and let the verdict stand.