A recent Utah Supreme Court ruling rejecting a defendant's motion for a new trial because of juror bias and misconduct may play a key role in the anticipated appeal to the state's highest court by convicted child molester Allan B. Hadfield.

Assistant Attorney General Paul Warner said the Supreme Court's denial of Leland Thomas DeMille's appeal of his guilty verdict for second-degree murder is important because the basis for Hadfield's appeal will probably be similar - juror misconduct.Court documents say that after receiving a guilty verdict, DeMille moved for a new trial, submitting a juror's affidavit in support of his motion contending the verdict to be unsound because of juror bias and misconduct. The trial court, however, refused to consider the affidavit and denied the motion for a new trial - triggering DeMille's appeal.

Hadfield's attorneys have also argued jury misconduct in unsuccessful motions to secure a new trial for their client. Among things claimed by Hadfield's attorneys are that one juror changed his vote to guilty because he was coerced by other jurors who wanted a guilty verdict; and that the jury considered extraneous information supplied by one juror.

But those arguments were rejected by 4th District Judge Cullen Y. Christensen, leaving the Supreme Court as Hadfield's likely avenue of appeal.

Warner said the state's chances of Hadfield's conviction being upheld have been bolstered by the Supreme Court's ruling in the DeMille case."They made some good law, as far as the government is concerned."