Rumor of juror misconduct stalls sentencing
Judge allows delay in case of Colusa County robbery defendant
A report of possible juror misconduct stalled the sentencing of a College City man convicted of a series of robberies in Colusa County.
Haurilio Silva-Valencia, 21, was convicted Aug. 14 of three felony counts of second-degree burglary, two felony counts of second-degree robbery and one felony count of attempted second-degree robbery.
The convictions stem from a crime spree that investigators say Silva committed in Colusa County last winter.
Jesse Ortiz, Valencia's Sacramento-based attorney, asked Judge S. William Abel to postpone sentencing for one week, while his office investigates an allegation that jurors were pressured to convict.
"If there was any jury misconduct, then the defendant has the right to a new trial," Ortiz said.
Ortiz said he received a phone call 10 days ago from the neighbor of a juror in the case.
"She said (the juror) told her that she and another female juror felt (Valencia) was not guilty, but were forced to change their positions," Ortiz said.
Ortiz said juror names are sealed and not publicly available.
Colusa County District Attorney John Poyner said that the request was based on hearsay.
"A neighbor called; the juror did not call (the defense attorney) herself," Poyner said.
Ortiz plans to request a statement from the juror; however, she is not legally required to cooperate, he said,
"If she doesn't want to talk or if she ignores us or if she says she just changed her mind, then we're back here next week," Ortiz said.
The judge granted the request after calling it illogical.
"I don't understand a lot of things about your request," Abel said, "but you have a week."
Sentencing was rescheduled for Sept. 22.
Contact reporter Rob Parsons at 934-6800 or rparsons@ tcnpress.com