Shortly before a mistrial was declared in the federal case against a Needham doctor accused of recklessly prescribing powerful opioids, the lone jury holdout complained that she felt so bullied by the other jurors she wanted to be removed from the panel.
In plain, unvarnished language, the female juror wrote Judge Patti B. Saris that the stress of deliberating against 11 other jurors who wanted to convict the doctor was hurting her health and mental well-being.
“One of the jurors started yelling at me . . . and I left the courthouse thinking that I would rather break a toe than spend another day stuck in a room with the other jurors,” she wrote in a letter dated Aug. 4. “Whenever anyone gets irritated it does seem like I have become the scapegoat.”
The letter, which was sent to Saris three hours before the jury told her they were hopelessly deadlocked, provided an unusual glimpse into the insights of a person rarely heard from — the lone holdout in a high-stakes criminal case.
The deadlock frustrated jurors, who had spent seven days poring over evidence in a case that stretched over five weeks and dismayed the relatives of the six people who prosecutors said died after overdosing on painkillers prescribed by Dr. Joseph Zolot and his nurse practitioner, Lisa Pliner.
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