Alleged juror misconduct may help Rudy Quinata’s murder conviction appeal

A juror’s alleged misconduct in the Rudy Quinata trial may lead to the overturn of his conviction for the murder of Daniel Sanchez on appeal. The Umatac man, who served a full sentence for another murder in the 1980s, was convicted by a Superior Court of Guam jury on April 14 for the murder of Sanchez. Quinata’s girlfriend, Joyner Scott Sked, also was convicted of the murder. Both await sentencing.

Mr. Quinata’s attorney, Peter Santos, told Kandit one of the jurors in Quinata’s trial reported questionable conduct of a fellow juror.  

“A juror emailed the court and had some serious issues,” Mr. Santos said. “The two issues he brought up is that, one, when he voted guilty, he didn’t think it was the final vote, and he tried to change it, and the jury foreman told him he couldn’t change his vote. That is absolutely not right.”

Mr. Santos went on to say of the juror in question, “He said Rudy was a convicted felon. And he did that on four separate times during the deliberations.”  That tainted the jury, according to the attorney.  

Since this discovery, Santos added, the attorneys in the case met with Judge Vernon Perez, who presided. “We had a special proceeding with the court,” Mr. Santos said, “and the court ultimately decided not to disturb the verdict. He told us we can go ahead and appeal, so that’s what we’re gonna do. I talked to the jury after the verdict. They said they started at 9-3 not guilty. And then it shifted to all of them voting guilty. It started at 9-3, but then when this guy started telling the others (Rudy’s) a convicted felon, then it started the shift.  So, to me, in my mind, that’s not a fair trial. Well, it was a fair trial, but it wasn’t a fair deliberation.” 

The implication, according to Santos, is that had it not been for this information, the jury seemed to be leaning in another direction.  Santos said, “This was definite prejudice against my client. The fact that he was a convicted felon was never brought out at trial. And so, it should have never been part of deliberations.” 

Santos said his client will appeal the decision. “The judge decided not to set aside the verdict,” he said. “He’s going to sentence Rudy. I’m going to appeal, but I cannot appeal technically until after the sentence.”

Sanchez was found in Quinata’s padlocked Umatac shack in April of 2021, bludgeoned to death.  Quinata and Sked were arrested days later and on separate occasions.  The couple was tried separately and are both incarcerated at the Department of Corrections.  

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