from a judgment of conviction, pursuant to a jury verdict, of
twelve counts of lewdness with a child under the age of 14;
seven counts of child abuse, neglect or endangerment; five
counts of indecent exposure; four counts of attempted
lewdness with a child under the age of 14; and one count each
of first-degree kidnapping and sexual assault of a minor
under 14 years of age. Eighth Judicial District Court, Clark
County; Richard Scotti, Judge.
linlay, Public Defender, P. David Westbrook and Deborah L
Westbrook, Chief Deputy Public Defenders, Clark County. for
D. Ford, Attorney General, Carson City; Steven B. Wolfson,
District Attorney, Krista D. Barrie, Chief Deputy District
Attorney, and Christopher 8. Hamner, Deputy District
Attorney. Clark County. for Respondent.
HARDESTY, STIGLICH and SILVER, JJ.
voir dire in this criminal case, the trial judge threw a book
against the wall, cursed, and berated, yelled at, and
threatened a prospective juror for expressing her belief that
she could not be impartial. We conclude that such behavior
and statements constitute judicial misconduct and may have
discouraged other prospective jurors from answering candidly
about their own biases. Because we cannot be convinced that
an impartial jury was selected under these circumstances
where the judge did nothing to alleviate the intimidating
atmosphere that he created, we reverse and remand for a new
Jose Azucena was charged with multiple sex offenses against
children and other related offenses. His case proceeded to a
jury trial. During the second day of voir dire, a prospective
juror stated that she did not think she could be unbiased
toward Azucena because of her exposure to child abuse in her
work as a nurse. The following colloquy took place between
the trial judge and the prospective juror:
THE COURT: So you didn't say that yesterday. All right.
PROSPECTIVE JUROR NO. 177: Well, I said I had other issues.
THE COURT: No, listen, what-what we're not going to have
in this jury is people coming in overnight and thinking up
shit and try to make shit up now so they can get out of the
jury. That's not going to happen. All right. All right.
Because if I find that someone said something yesterday under
oath and changes it because they're trying to fabricate
something to get out of serving on this jury, there's
going to be repercussions. All right.
PROSPECTIVE JUROR NO. 177:1 did say-
THE COURT: Now, what's going on here?
PROSPECTIVE JUROR NO. 177: I did ...