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Allegations of jury misconduct prompts postponement of Rivera sentencing

Attorneys for Jesus Colmenero Rivera will have a chance to interview jurors in the case of the convicted child molester, following a decision by a Merced Superior Court judge Tuesday to disclose the jurors personal contact information.

Judge Ronald Hansen agreed to release the jurors’ contact information to Rivera’s attorneys following allegations made by the defense of jury misconduct in the former Golden Valley High teacher’s controversial case.

Although Rivera was scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday, Hansen agreed to postpone his sentencing until Feb. 15 in order to give the defense ample time to contact and question the jurors. Rivera’s attorneys want to talk to the jurors about allegations that some members of the jury conducted their own research outside of deliberations.

The defense has also alleged that some jurors were biased against Rivera because he is gay and that one of the jurors was unfairly dismissed from the case. If the court finds credible evidence of juror misconduct, Rivera’s attorneys hope their claims will ultimately lead to a new trial.

Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsun-star.com.

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