An Appeal Claim…Clears Hurdle

The claims of juror bias by an Ohio death row inmate…who killed two girls in a robbery…can be further explored, a divided federal appeals court rules. At issue before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is an appeal by Jeronique Cunningham, sentenced to die for the killing of two girls, ages 3 and 17, during a 2002 drug-related robbery in Lima. His brother also was convicted and sentenced to death. Attorneys for the 49-year-old, Cunningham have long argued that a juror reportedly felt pressured to convict him…because the jury forewoman said she knew the victims’ families. By a 2-1 vote, an appeals court panel said this week that a lower court judge can conduct a hearing to weigh two juror bias claims. The first is that the jury foreperson’s colleagues at the county’s children-services agency improperly relayed external information about Cunningham, to her…and the second…is that this juror’s relationship with the victims’ families affected the jury’s impartiality.

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