Thief Says Jurors Fell Asleep

If justice is really blind, how well do jurors need to see? A Boone County lawyer is trying to get his client's theft conviction overturned, because he claims more than one juror fell asleep or had their eyes closed during the trial.

Rodney Lee's family says they just want a fair trial for the man, but the Boone County Prosecutor says they're grasping at straws, because they're unhappy with the verdict.

Jurors falling asleep happens more than many people might think. A Vanderbilt University study says 69% of the federal and state judges who responded, say they have encountered a sleeping juror.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Norbert Nadel says he's never seen it in his courtroom, but it can be a major problem especially with lives at stake. "Jurors are triers of the fact," he says, "they determine what happens in the case and obviously if they're not listening or they're sleeping, then they can't determine what happened in the case."

A 2003 obscenity case in Hamilton County was declared a mistrial because one person fell asleep and another looked away while the court played a pornographic tape.