Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Three Liberty City 7 jurors dismissed

From the Sun-Sentiel:

U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard ruled after spending hours questioning jurors about a pamphlet on terrorism found in the jury room Monday. Miami police officers handed out the pamphlets last week at Metrorail stations, and the jurors who were dismissed said they had read or skimmed it.

One of the dismissed jurors said he considered it an "interesting coincidence" that he was handed a pamphlet about terrorism at the Government Center Metrorail Station as he made his way to court for a terrorism trial. The man said he brought the flier into the jury room after receiving it.

The pamphlet's cover features a police shield and the word "terrorism" in bold, capital letters. A police representative said the distribution, part of a program to alert the public to terrorist threats, was unrelated to the trial.

All but two of the 12 jurors and six alternates said they had seen a copy in the jury room and noticed it pertained to terrorism. To defense lawyers, that alone was enough to warrant a mistrial.

"To have that in the jury room in this type of trial, I think it's outrageous," said Roderick Vereen, who represents Stanley Phanor, 32.

Other defense lawyers weren't so happy with the jurors being dismissed:

Lawyers for every defendant but Batiste requested a mistrial based on the pamphlet, which includes a watch list of seven "signs of terrorism" and descriptions of deadly materials that could be used by terrorists.

Lenard denied the mistrial motions. However, she excused the three members of the jury panel who said they had read the brochure, explaining she was acting in "an abundance of caution."

Ana Jhones, who represents Batiste, protested Lenard's decision, saying her client had never complained about the pamphlet. "He is now faced with the consequences that he is not going to have the jury he has selected," she said.

Albert Levin, Abraham's attorney, and Joel DeFabio, Lemorin's attorney, also opposed dismissing the jurors.

Ah, the joys of trial. Crazy things always happen, don't they?


South Florida Lawyers said...

Why the heck are Miami police officers handing out pamphlets on terrorism at Government Station?

Your tax dollars at work.

Anonymous said...

Somebody needs to subpoena the officers before the Court to answer who ordered them to do so, then that person, and so on.

It is strange that the police would happen to hand them to jurors on the case --

How many of the jurors take metrorail?

What percentage of those jurors were handed the flyers compared to the percentage of regular metrorail riders?

Was the dismissed juror identified? Does that person believe he was approached by the officers?

May sound like conspiracy theories, but the government has earned that suspicion.