Must a Juror Be Able to Hear to Decide

The Ohio Supreme Court has recently decided that generally jurors' senses must be unimpaired to take in the specific evidence in order to be selected for that trial. Regardless of the fact that well intentioned society rules require that we respect and work with all types of persons with physical disabilities, if a physical impairment interferes with a juror's ability to take in the specific type of evidence that is presented in a particular trial, that juror must be excluded from that trial. In the case of State v. Speer,
the Supreme Court of Ohio stated that when the specific evidence in a trial requires that a juror have the senses necessary to take in that evidence, then the trial court must exclude any juror who has a physical impairment that interferes with taking in that evidence. In Speer, the jury had to hear and interpret 911 tapes, and one juror had a hearing disability, and the Supreme Court of Ohio had to reverse the conviction of the defendant because that juror could not properly hear the tapes.