Thursday, April 30, 2009

Another mistrial?

The Liberty City 6 case looks like it's on the way to another mistrial...

UPDATE -- 4PM -- Judge Lenard dismissed the sick juror. She is hearing arguments about replacing that juror with an alternate. Here's the Herald article.

Original post from this morning addressing the problem:

Here's the Herald article:

Jury deliberations in the third terrorism trial of a group of inner-city Miami men accused of collaborating with al Qaeda were delayed Thursday because a juror has fallen ill and cannot return until next week.
Prosecutors argued that the remaining 11 members of the jury should continue to deliberate without the 12th juror, but defense lawyers opposed that recommendation. Instead, they argued that the judge replace the 12th member with an alternate juror, stressing that the panel had only started its deliberations on Monday.

Why would the government want to proceed with 11? Read on...

Defense lawyers seemed especially concerned about the potential loss of the one juror because he is a black man who they believe might be sympathetic to the six defendants, who are also mostly black. They even asked the judge to suspend the deliberations until the 12th juror, whose illness was not disclosed, could return next Wednesday, as recommended by his doctor. ''He's a black juror,'' defense attorney Louis Casuso said. ``He's one of the very few that has no problems.''
U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard rejected suspending deliberations, saying they must continue because of the length of the trial. ''It's really not an issue of race; it's an issue of illness,'' she told the defense team.

What about adding the alternate:

Lenard told both sides to return later Thursday to argue further over adding an alternate as the 12th juror for deliberations, instead of going forward with the 11 existing members. If the judge decides to add an alternate juror, it would be an Hispanic woman.
The judge would then tell the jury to begin its deliberations anew.
The racially mixed, 12-member jury started deliberations on Monday after a two-month trial, but the one juror fell ill early on Wednesday.
They are deciding whether the defendants, dubbed the Liberty City 6, are guilty of conspiring with the global terrorist group, al Qaeda, to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago along with major federal buildings in Miami and other cities.
The first two trials ended with hung juries and the acquittal of one defendant, a lawful U.S. resident named Lyglenson Lemorin who is facing deportation to his native Haiti.
Prosecutors tried to portray the group's ringleader, Narseal Batiste, as a militant figure who used his Moorish religious organization to recruit followers to destroy the United States. They accused Batiste and his followers of taking an oath to al Qaeda and shooting photographs of target sites in Miami to prepare for their destructive mission.
Defense attorneys attacked the prosecution's case as a setup led by an FBI informant who posed as an al Qaeda representative to lure the men into a fictitious terrorism conspiracy. They said that the men were struggling construction workers trying to help their poor community by establishing the religious group in a Liberty City warehouse.
Awaiting verdicts again on four terror-related conspiracy counts are: Batiste, 35; Patrick Abraham, 29; Stanley Grant Phanor, 33; Rotschild Augustine, 25; Burson Augustin, 24; and Naudimar Herrera, 25. The first two defendants are being held at the Federal Detention Center. The latter four were released on bond after the second mistrial last year.
If convicted on all four charges, including conspiring to provide material support for al Qaeda, each defendant could face up to 70 years in prison.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why have alternates if your not going to use them?