- NEW TRIAL? Goldberg Could Get New Hearing After Judge Determines There Was Jury Misconduct During Original Murder Trial
- GUILTY: Jon Goldberg Convicted of Second-Degree Murder in 2016 Fortuna Slaying of Firefighter Tim Smith
Jurors who convicted Jon David Goldberg of murder will receive subpoenas ordering them to a hearing on whether one or more of them committed misconduct serious enough to warrant a mistrial.
Today visiting Judge Graham Cribbs asked Court Executive Officer Kim Bartleson to send out subpoenas by certified mail to the 12 jurors and six alternates who served during Goldberg’s weeks-long trial. They will be ordered to appear in court Oct. 17 for an evidentiary hearing on alleged jury misconduct, which if egregious enough could mean granting Goldberg a new trial.
Cribbs also approved Deputy Public Defender Casey Russo’s motion to unseal the jury’s personal information so jurors can be contacted by Russo and Deputy District Attorney Luke Bernthal, who prosecuted the case. But Cribbs strongly warned the attorneys the data is private.
“This is privileged information,” the judge said, “and at this point in time it’s for your eyes only, period. For your eyes only.”
Lawyers can share the information with their investigators and with Deputy District Attorney Trent Timm, who served as Bernthal’s co-counsel during the trial.
Goldberg, who shot his wife’s boyfriend Timothy Smith to death outside Smith’s Fortuna home in September 2016, was convicted in March of second-degree murder and personal use of a firearm. He faces a maximum penalty of two life terms in state prison.
This morning Bartleson, who also is the county’s jury commissioner and clerk of the court, reported to Cribbs that on June 27 she sent out letters to the 18 jurors, asking if they were willing to have their contact information given to attorneys. She received just four written responses, with two people saying they were willing and two saying they were not. A fifth person called her office but did not follow up with a letter.
Of the two jurors who agreed to having their information released to attorneys, one said they didn’t want the details to go any further. Another said he or she was willing for “the necessary parties to communicate with me,” but had some concerns about being publicly identified as a juror, given that he or she lives in the same town as some people involved with the case.
One panelist who opposed having the information made available was worried their personal data “might get into the hands of Mr. Goldberg and his family or friends and could be used against me.”
That juror went on to express “no regrets about the final verdict.”
The alleged jury misconduct came to light when defense attorney Russo filed a motion for new trial. After reading the motion, which included a sworn affidavit by one of the jurors, Cribbs said the defense “has established to the court’s satisfaction that jury misconduct took place.”
A status hearing is scheduled for Oct. 15, two days before the jury is summoned to appear.
This morning the 37-year-old Goldberg wore the standard orange jumpsuit and a full beard. During the trial he appeared in court clean-shaven and wearing a suit and tie.