Defendant granted new trial after judge fails to administer proper oath to jury

In a decision that establishes attorneys always need to pay attention to the details, the Michigan Court of Appeals has determined that failing to administer the proper oath is grounds for a new trial. The judge had the panel of potential jurors put under oath before the jury was selected. The panel of jurors promised to answer all questions "truthfully, fully, and honestly."

The Court of appeals, however, held that oath was not a sufficient substitute for the actual juror oath, "The required oath is not a mere ‘formality’ which is required only by tradition. The oath represents a solemn promise on the part of each juror to do his duty according to the dictates of the law to see that justice is done. This duty is not just a final duty to render a verdict in accordance with the law, but the duty to act in accordance with the law at all stages of trial." 

The prosecution has indicated they may appeal to the Supreme Court, because defense counsel never objected to the judge’s failure to administer the oath.

Lawyer Wins New Trial for Client Because Judge Didn’t Put Jury Under Oath | ABA Journal

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