California Penal Code § 95 PC makes it a felony to attempt to influence a juror or arbitrator to change their verdicts through persuasion, threats, or bribes. Penalties for the unlawful attempt to influence a juror include up to three years behind bars or $10,000 in fines.
The entirety of the law is:
95. Every person who corruptly attempts to influence a juror, or any person summoned or drawn as a juror, or chosen as an arbitrator or umpire, or appointed a referee, in respect to his or her verdict in, or decision of, any cause or proceeding, pending, or about to be brought before him or her, is punishable by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170, if it is by means of any of the following:
(a) Any oral or written communication with him or her except in the regular course of proceedings.
(b) Any book, paper, or instrument exhibited, otherwise than in the regular course of proceedings.
(c) Any threat, intimidation, persuasion, or entreaty.
(d) Any promise, or assurance of any pecuniary or other advantage.
California Penal Code 95 PC makes it a crime to try to influence a juror, arbitrator, or referee by either:
- a promise or assurance of any advantage, financial or otherwise
- written or oral communication outside of the regular legal proceedings
- books, papers, or instruments outside of the regular legal proceedings
It is still a PC 95 violation even if you never succeed in influencing the juror, arbitrator, or referee. Merely attempting to influence is a crime.
Example: Tom is serving as a juror in a murder trial. The defendant’s brother stops Tom in the courthouse parking lot and offers him $10,000 to find the defendant not guilty. Even if Tom refuses, the brother could still be convicted of improper attempt to influence a juror.
Violating PC 95 is a felony. The penalties include:
- 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in jail; or
- $10,000 in fines.
The most common defenses are that you never intended to influence the juror, or that nothing you did rose to the level of unlawful influence.1
- California Penal Code § 95 PC – Improper attempt to influence juror, arbitrator, or referee. People v. Cobb (Cal. Sept. 23, 1955), 45 Cal. 2d 158. People v. Martin (Cal. App. Nov. 19, 1920), 50 Cal. App. 71.