On August 5, 1874, Michael Kelly killed Barney Lamb. Nine months later he was tried in Ramsey County District Court for first degree murder.
Meanwhile the editors of the Minneapolis Tribune, who had a cynical view of the way jury trials were conducted in Minnesota, decided to expose this flawed system by assigning a reporter to get selected on the jury in the Kelly-Lamb murder case. To their glee he was chosen. After the conclusion of the case (the jury hung), the reporter-juror wrote several articles describing the "deliberations" and other antics of the jury (a pail Kelly used to bash Lamb over the head was also used to haul whisky up to the jury room on the second floor of the court house).
As a result of these revelations Ramsey County Attorney Christopher D. O'Brien issued contempt of court citations to each juror (except "the Tribune man"), and an evidentiary hearing was held before Judge Orlando Simons. The court room was packed.
Lawyers for two jurors filed demurrers contending that the court could not take notice of the actions of the jurors when they were not in court. Judge Simons overruled them from the bench for reasons trial judges today would admire given that Simons (and other judges) had never faced this question before. The hearing resulted in one juror being found guilty and fined $20, which was remitted on motion of County Attorney O'Brien.