The dismissed juror was allowed to leave Washington after her father's death, but court officials have not been able to get in touch with her since she left town. In an unusual Sunday night session, Sullivan said there was no choice but to appoint an alternate juror, which means deliberations on Stevens' fate will restart from the beginning.
"'I think we've been more than reasonable,' said Sullivan, who said court officials had not spoken with the juror since Friday despite repeated attempts to contact her," the Associated Press reported.
Stevens' lawyers asked Sullivan to delay his ruling on whether to dismiss the juror until Monday, but Sullivan, who has kept the high-profile trial moving at a brisk pace, refused to do so.
The alternate juror had already been interviewed by prosecutors and defense attorneys on Friday, when the trial was suspended, and was cleared to serve on the jury. Four alternate jurors sat in on the monthlong trial to be prepared to substitute for any jurors if needed.
Last week, there were complaints from the jury foreman about another juror who had been unruly, and Sullivan called the entire group in to lecture them on civility and the proper decorum for the proceedings.