Aaron Dean’s defense team on Friday asked for an investigation into alleged jury misconduct after a juror reportedly made a social media post about the trial as it was ongoing.
If the attorneys’ claim is found to be true, the alleged action will give Dean the right to another trial.
The attorneys argued that in the social media post, the juror “sought opinions and information from persons outside the jury,” the report stated.
The defense asked for the jurors’ contact information in order to investigate how they decided on the verdict, WFAA reported.
“The need to investigate either or both of these instances of possible jury misconduct constitutes good cause for release of the juror information under art. 35.29.,” the filed motion read.
Judge George Gallagher of the Texas 396th District Court in Tarrant County granted the motion, which will identify the juror who allegedly made the social media post.
Defense attorney Bob Gill was also ordered to destroy any identifying information related to the juror upon conclusion of the investigation.
Dean, a former Fort Worth police officer, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to nearly 12 years in prison for the killing of Atatiana Jefferson in October 2019, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
Dean’s defense rested on the claim that he was acting in self-defense when he shot Jefferson through a window after seeing a gun.
Dean’s attorneys filed for appeal almost immediately after the sentencing.
Toby Shook, a Dallas attorney and legal expert, told WFAA that Dean’s defense attorneys seeking a new trial is not an unexpected development.
“Mr. Gill not only is a very good trial lawyer; he is a very good appellate lawyer. He has written books in the past about criminal procedure. So, he knows what he’s doing,” Shook said.
Dean’s defense team had previously argued that the trial should be moved outside of Tarrant County due to the large amount of media attention it was receiving and the fact that some notable city leaders spoke out against Dean.
Though Dean’s trial did draw unusual media attention, the problem of crime in DFW is much broader. This is especially true in Dallas, where the city council and other political authorities in recent years have not prioritized public safety and law enforcement.