Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Joe Cool jury hangs on first degree murder counts

That's a victory for the defense.

The jury did convict on 4 gun counts. The prosecution will be happy with some convictions after it looked like the jury would hang on everything yesterday, especially since the potential sentences on those counts are life.

Food for thought -- should Judge Huck order a new trial on all counts because the jury may have been confused on the gun counts based on its previous note and because it appears that the jurors compromised after the Allen charge? If the case has to be retried anyway, why not try the whole thing? What are your thoughts?


Anonymous said...

Caruso ROCKS!!!!

Anonymous said...

Is the retrial underway tonight, or beginning tomorrow at 7:30 a.m.? I know the government needs time to add the jurors from this trial as co defendants in a new indictment

John Cavicchi said...

It was an inconsistent verdict. Had the judge answered the jury's question instead of allowing the prosecution to pretend the question was too vague for them to understand, Zarabozo most probably would have been acquitted.

Obviously, the jury compromised. The judge should throw out the convictions.

Anonymous said...

Let me understand this the jury came back guilty and this is a win for the defense? Is not this the same thing that happen to the Mets over the weekend when the Marlins knocked them out of the playoffs. Conviction is a conviction, just ask the Mets!

Anonymous said...

This conviction has Supreme Court written all over it, a clear case to challenge the continuing viability of the Allen Charge. Just as the Supremes surprise us every year with new answers to old questions (McMillan, Apprendi, Crawford, Booker), unwriting old case law based on Founding principles, the Allen Charge will soon find itself on the dung heap of discarded precedent. This case will be reduced to a trivia question: Who was the trial judge in Zarabozo v. United States, ___ U.S. ___ (2010) (holding Allen Charge is an impermissible judicial invasion of core jury function)?

Anonymous said...

Uh, dudes, I'm pretty sure the kid is looking at an 85 year statutorily mandated sentence on those gun counts because they run consecutively. If that's a victory David, I'd hate to hear what you consider defeat.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Three jurors in the Joe Cool murder-at-sea trial said Wednesday they felt pressured to convict the 20-year-old defendant on gun charges even though they believed he did not kill anyone or know his companion planned to hijack the boat.

One said she voted to convict, even though she felt the man on trial was innocent. Another seemed to believe he had cast a not-guilty vote, though guilty verdicts in federal court must be unanimous.

After four days of heated deliberations, the 12 jurors voted Tuesday to convict Guillermo Zarabozo of supplying the firearm used to kill Capt. Jake Branam, 27; his wife, Kelley, 30; his half-brother, Scott Gamble, 36; and the first mate, Samuel Kairy, 27.

In interviews with the Sun Sentinel, two women and one man from the panel said they were confused about the gun charges and badgered — even bullied — to vote guilty by fellow jurors.

Complete coverage of the Joe Cool boating mystery "I never believed for a minute that he was guilty of any of the charges, not even the ones we convicted him of," said Venora Gray, 51, a North Miami waitress. "That's something I have to live with."

The Miami jury deadlocked on 12 other counts, including first-degree murder, hijacking and kidnapping, resulting in a mistrial on those charges. The jury's foreman declined comment.

Federal prosecutors accused Zarabozo of murdering the Joe Cool's crew with a second man, Kirby Archer, 36, on Sept. 22, 2007, as part of a plan to seize the 47-foot vessel and flee to Cuba.

The three jurors said they believed Zarabozo's testimony that he took his 9mm Glock aboard without knowing it would be used against the Joe Cool crew. Zarabozo also persuaded them that Archer, an Arkansas fugitive, conned him into bringing the gun by promising him a two-week security job in Bimini, the jurors said.

"He lied to him. The boy was coming to Bimini to do a job. That's the reason he took the gun," said juror Raul Garcia, 48, of Miami.

Garcia seemed confused about the verdict, saying he remained 100 percent sure Zarabozo was innocent.

"The whole thing for me was not guilty," Garcia said.

But other members of the panel argued Zarabozo should have seen the hijacking coming, even if he didn't participate, said a third juror who asked that her name not be used.

That juror, a 60-year-old Presbyterian minister, said one man who favored conviction yelled at her, laughed in her face and pounded the table.

"I was almost ready to change my verdict, not because I had changed my mind but because I couldn't be screamed at anymore," she said.

Finally, the other jurors convinced her to vote guilty on the gun charges, she said. They argued Zarabozo bore some responsibility for the murders because he brought the gun.

Defense lawyers plan to ask U.S. District Judge Paul Huck to overturn Zarabozo's conviction and order a new trial on all counts. Federal prosecutors declined comment on the verdict.

Gray said she felt sick when she learned the jury's verdict could send Zarabozo to prison for the rest of his life.

"If I had known that, I never would have gone along with them," she said.

Anonymous said...

After reading the article above Judge Huck must order a retrial. If not, they should rename the courthourse the wilkie ferguson building of injustice.