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United States v. Gonzalez

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

April 24, 2018

United States of America
Alfredo Gonzalez

          Donald A. Feith, Esq. Georgiana L. Konesky, Esq. Scott F. Gleason, Esq. Thomas J. Gleason, Esq.


          Paul Barbadoro United States District Judge

         A New Hampshire jury convicted Alfredo Gonzalez of conspiracy to distribute heroin. Although the court was not aware of it at the time, one of the jurors who participated in Gonzalez's trial was not a New Hampshire resident. Gonzalez argues in a motion for new trial that the court's failure to provide him with a jury consisting only of New Hampshire residents violated his rights under both the Jury Selection and Service Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1861, et seq., and the Sixth Amendment.

         I. BACKGROUND [1]

         A. The Juror

         Jonathan Hatch was 26 years old when he was selected to serve as a juror on the Gonzalez case. He grew up in Derry, New Hampshire, where he lived with his parents until he left to attend graduate school in 2013. Thereafter, except for a brief period in 2016, when Hatch moved back in with his parents, he lived at several different addresses in Massachusetts. In 2016, Hatch completed graduate school and took a job working for the Boston School System.

         Hatch's parents sold their home in the summer of 2017. At approximately the same time, Hatch's sister purchased a condominium in Derry. After Hatch's sister purchased her condominium, Hatch shifted his mailing address from his parents' home to his sister's condominium. He continues to receive his mail at that address. Hatch also is registered to vote in New Hampshire, has a New Hampshire driver's license, and registers his car here.

         B. The Jury Selection Process

         The court has adopted a Juror Selection Plan that requires the clerk to prepare a “Qualified Jury Wheel” by randomly selecting names from a “Master Jury Wheel.” Each prospective juror selected from the Master Jury Wheel is instructed to complete a “Juror Selection Questionnaire.” The electronic version of the questionnaire provides a “permanent address” for each juror and asks “[a]re your name and permanent address correct as displayed? If not, please enter any corrections.” Jurors are also asked a series of questions, including “[h]as your primary residence for the past year been in New Hampshire?” and “[h]as your primary residence for the past year been [in the county of the juror's listed permanent address]?” Any juror who answers “no” to either question is instructed to list the “name of the county and/or state of your primary residence during the past year and include dates.”

         Jury panels are randomly drawn from the Qualified Juror Wheel. Jurors selected to participate on a panel are instructed to complete both a “Juror Information Form” and a “Supplemental Attorney Questionnaire.” The Juror Information Form asks each juror to confirm their “permanent address.” Among the additional questions asked are “[h]ow long have you lived in New Hampshire?” and “[h]ow long have you lived in [the county listed by the juror as his permanent address]?”

         The Supplemental Attorney Questionnaire asks each juror: “Please list (a) the city/town and county of your current residence; (b) whether you own or rent; and (c) how long you have lived there in years/months.” Jurors are also asked “[w]here did you live prior to this address? Please list (a) the city/town; (b) the county and state; and (c) [h]ow long you lived at your prior address in years/months.”

         Hatch's name was drawn from the Master Jury Wheel and he was instructed to complete a Qualified Juror Questionnaire in June 2017. The electronic version of the Questionnaire, which Hatch chose to complete, listed Hatch's parents' former home address as his “permanent address, ” but Hatch changed his address to the address of his sister's condominium. Hatch answered “no” to the questions asking if he had been a resident of New Hampshire and Rockingham County for the past year and Hatch responded “Massachusetts, Norfolk County” when prompted to disclose his state and county of residence. Hatch also added “I have been living in Massachusetts for work.” Based on Hatch's answers to these questions, he should have been disqualified from jury service, but, for reasons that are not disclosed in the record, he was deemed qualified and his name was added to the Qualified Juror Wheel.

         Hatch was summoned to serve on the Gonzalez jury panel on November 7, 2017. At that time, he completed both a Juror Information Questionnaire and a Supplemental Attorney Questionnaire. Hatch did not change his “permanent address” on the Juror Information Questionnaire and he stated that he had lived in New Hampshire for 22 years and in Rockingham County for 21 years. When responding to the Supplemental Attorney Questionnaire, Hatch stated that the city and town of his “current residence” was “Jamaica Plain, Boston (3 months).” He answered “Quincy, Massachusetts (1 year)” to the question asking for his prior address. Hatch's responses to the Supplemental Attorney Questionnaire should have disqualified him from jury service.

         Information drawn from jurors' responses to the Juror Information Form and the Supplemental Attorney Questionnaire are used to produce two documents that are provided to counsel to assist them in the jury selection process. The first is a “Jury Selection List.” The Jury Selection List is a summary document that provides each juror's number, name, age, “City & State, ” occupation, marital status, and spouse's occupation. The “City & State” provided for each juror is taken from the “permanent address” listed by the juror on the Juror Information Form. The second document is a printout of each juror's responses to the Supplemental Attorney Questionnaire. As I have explained, Hatch's answers to the ...

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