Judge Shuts Down Amber Heard's Request for Mistrial to Nullify Her Courtroom Defeat


Amber Heard’s effort to have a mistrial declared in her defamation court case involving ex-husband Johnny Depp has been sunk.

Fairfax County, Virginia, Circuit Judge Penney Azcarate issued a three-page ruling ruled Wednesday against a wide-ranging request from Heard’s attorneys to have the verdict set aside, according to The Washington Post.

Among arguments was the claim that one juror who served during her trial – identified to as “Juror 15” – was not the actual person summoned for the jury pool.

According to Fox News, the question of jury’s identity was one of seven items cited by Heard’s attorneys as grounds for a mistrial, including the claim that the $10.35 million compensatory damage award she is supposed to pay Depp is “excessive.”

“While Ms. Heard slings an exceptional amount of mud at the wall in the hope that something might stick, the jury’s verdict on damages was perfectly reasonable and supported by the evidence and testimony in this case,” Depp’s team said in a legal filing responding to the claims, according to Fox.

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Azcarate’s ruling denied six of Heard’s items out of hand, but went into detail about the claim of the switched juror.

The ruling stated there was no birth date on the jury summons. That cut the legs out from under Heard’s argument that a 77-year-old man living at a certain address had been selected while a 52-year-old man who lives at that same address was, in fact, the one who served as a juror during the trial. The two individuals have the same name, according to The Washington Post.

The judge further elaborated about the voir dire process, a legal term for examining potential jurors.

“Juror Fifteen was vetted by the Court on the record and met the statutory requirements for service. The parties also questioned the jury panel for a full day and informed the Court that the jury panel was acceptable,” she wrote.

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“Therefore, Due Process was guaranteed and provided to all parties in this litigation. Voir dire was conducted in a fair and impartial manner, with the Court and both parties examining the potential jurors. There is no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing,” she wrote.

Azcarate noted that there was lots of time for any such mistake, had one actually occurred, to have been brought to the court’s attention. Nothing was until after the verdict went against Heard.

“Further, the Defendant was provided the jury list five days prior to the commencement of trial and knew or should have known about the mistake at any time during the seven-week pendency of this trial. She had every opportunity to object to or to voir dire on the issue,” Azcarate wrote.

“Parties generally must make objections at the time a ruling or order is made to put the Court on notice that an issue is meant to be preserved,” she wrote.

The judge wrote that Heard never proved she suffered from the juror’s presence.

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“Defendant does not allege Juror Fifteen’s inclusion on the jury prejudiced her in any way. The juror was vetted, sat for the entire jury, deliberated, and reached a verdict. The only evidence before this Court is that this juror and all jurors followed their oaths, the Court’s instructions, and orders. This Court is bound by the competent decision of the jury,” the judge wrote.

Depp, through attorney Benjamin Chew, said he was “most gratified by the Court’s rulings,” according to USA Today.

Both the Post and USA Today reported reaching out to Heard’s attorneys for comment without success.

The juror question was separate from Heard’s effort to appeal the jury’s decision, USA Today reported.

Heard has previously said she will appeal the jury’s decision. While that appeal is pending, she is required to put up a bond for the $10.35 million she owes Depp, plus 6 percent interest, according to USA Today.

In a separate order, according to The Associated Press, Azcarate ruled that many court documents must be unsealed, including motions that wanted to force independent medical examinations of Depp and Heard. The documents Azcarate ordered sealed contain either personal contact information or personal medical information.

“In this matter, both litigants sued one another, thereby opening themselves up to the public forum of a jury trial. Court records are public information,” she wrote, according to the AP.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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