The Harris County jury returned a guilty verdict after deliberating 45 minutes in a murder case, but the judge realized he had a real problem. Sitting in the jury box were 13 citizens.
Instead of sentencing Charles Mapps to prison in the shooting death of his girlfriend, state District Judge Mark Kent Ellis on Tuesday declared a mistrial. . . . Ellis said a criminal jury must have 12 people on it and can’t have any outside influences. He said the 13th juror would be considered an outside influence, despite the fact that she sat through all of the testimony.
My off the cuff opinion is that this is a textbook case of harmless error. But that’s probably just the prosecutor in me talking . . .