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Case 4:04-cr-00025 Document 1148 Filed in TXSD on 10/23/06 Page 1 of 3

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS

HOUSTON DIVISION

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JEFFREY K. SKILLING

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CRIMINAL NUMBER H-04-025

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Defendant, Jeffrey K. Skilling, has filed a Motion to Request
Interviews with Members of the Jury (Docket Entry No. 1053), to
which the United States has filed an Opposition (Docket Entry
No. 1054), and Skilling has filed a Reply (Docket Entry No. 1057).
When discharging the jury the court instructed the jury
members that they were not to speak with attorneys or
representatives of any party without prior permission from the
court. For the reasons explained in Haeberle v. Texas
International Airlines, 739 F.2d 1019, 1021 (5th Cir. 1984), courts
frequently prohibit attorneys from conducting post-verdict
interviews with jurors.

Federal courts have generally disfavored post-
verdict interviewing of jurors. We have repeatedly
refused to “denigrate jury trials by afterwards
ransacking the jurors in search of some new ground, not
previously supported by evidence for a new trial.”
United States v. Riley, 544 F.2d 237, 242 (5th Cir.
1976), cert. denied, 430 U.S. 932, 97 S. Ct. 1554,
51 L. Ed.2d 777 (1977). Prohibiting post-verdict
interviews protects the jury from an effort to find
grounds for post-verdict charges of misconduct, reduces
the “chances and temptations” for tampering with the
jury, increases the certainty of civil trials, and

Case 4:04-cr-00025 Document 1148 Filed in TXSD on 10/23/06 Page 2 of 3

spares the district courts time-consuming and futile
proceedings.

Local Criminal Rule 24.1 states:

Juror Contact. Except with leave of Court, no
attorney, party, nor agent of either of them may
communicate with a former juror to obtain evidence of
misconduct in the jury's deliberations.
Although Skilling argues that the purpose of his motion to
interview the jurors is not to obtain evidence of misconduct, the
court is not persuaded by this argument for a number of reasons.
First, Skilling's Reply anticipates that questions about alleged
misconduct may arise during juror interviews since the Reply
suggests a procedure to follow in that situation. Likewise,
Skilling's recently filed Motion for Bail Pending Appeal (Docket
Entry No. 1120) states that he will argue jury misconduct and jury
bias on appeal. Notwithstanding Skilling's statements to the
contrary, the court is persuaded that the main purpose of seeking
to interview jurors is to attempt to obtain alleged evidence of
jury misconduct. Given the rhetorical skills of Skilling's
attorneys and the lack of familiarity of jurors with questioning
techniques, the court can easily anticipate scenarios in which,
through the use of benign, oblique questions by his attorneys,
Skilling may obtain comments from the members of the jury which,
when argued out of context, may be used as alleged evidence of bias
or misconduct.

Because the court concludes that any legitimate interest that
Skilling may have in interviewing jurors is outweighed by the

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Case 4:04-cr-00025 Document 1148 Filed in TXSD on 10/23/06 Page 3 of 3

jurors' interest in privacy and by the “public's interest in well-
administered justice”, Haeberle, 739 F.2d at 1022, and that the
primary purpose of the Motion to Request Interviews with Members of
the Jury is to attempt to obtain evidence of jury misconduct, the
motion is DENIED.

SIGNED at Houston, Texas, on this 23rd day of October, 2006.

____________________________
SIM LAKE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

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