Argued: January 13, 2016
A. Foster, attorney general (Colleen Laffin, attorney, and
Stephen D. Fuller, senior assistant attorney general, on the
brief, and Mr. Fuller orally), for the State.
Christopher M. Johnson, chief appellate defender, of Concord,
on the brief and orally, for the defendant.
defendant, Paul Bedell, appeals his convictions on two counts
of aggravated felonious sexual assault. See RSA
632-A:2, I(l) (2007). The defendant argues that the Superior
Court (Bornstein, J.) erred when, on the second day
of trial, it dismissed a juror after it erroneously concluded
that the juror could no longer be impartial. We affirm
because we conclude that, although error, the juror's
dismissal was not prejudicial because an impartial jury
ultimately rendered the verdict in the defendant's case.
record supports the following facts. During jury selection
for the defendant's trial, the trial court asked
prospective jurors the following question: "Have you or
a close family member ever been accused of [sexual
assault]?" The following exchange occurred between one
of the prospective jurors and the trial court:
[JUROR]: You mentioned being directly connected with somebody
that has been accused or convicted. . . . [M]y cousin's
son [has] also been accused and is preparing to go to trial.
I don't know [if] it will affect or not.
. . . .
THE COURT: So, would any of those experiences have any effect
on your ability to be fair and impartial in deciding this
[JUROR]: No. Each one is an individual and you got to go by
the evidence. I learned that a long time ago.
THE COURT: Okay. So you can be fair and impartial and decide
the case based solely on the evidence presented and the law
as I instruct you on it?
THE COURT: Yes?
State then further ...