Jury deadlocked in Miami terror case retrial

[TamilNet, Saturday, 12 April 2008, 16:35 GMT]
"Just like the first trial [which resulted in one of seven defendants being acquitted, and a mistrial was declared for the other six in December 2007], a jury is at a complete stalemate in the case against six men accused of scheming to destroy the Sears Tower in Chicago and bomb FBI offices in Miami and elsewhere," the Washington Post reported Saturday. The jury was told to continue deliberating.

The jury of seven men and six women said Friday in a note that they cannot agree on a verdict after 10 days of deliberations.

"We are unable to come to a unanimous decision on any of the counts for all of the defendants," the note read, according to the paper.

U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard ordered the jurors to return again Monday. If the impasse continues, she likely would issue a formal "Allen charge" directive telling jurors they have a duty to reach verdicts if reasonably possible - meaning deliberations may last well into next week, the Post said.

The prospect the second trial would end like the first loomed large as deliberations dragged on, the paper opined, commenting that if there is a mistrial, the Justice Department would have to decide whether to try the men a third time, drop the case entirely - unlikely in any terrorism matter - or file a new indictment against some or all of the men.

Jeffrey Harris, a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney not involved in the case, after the first mistrial commented that a hung jury usually helps defense lawyers, who can prepare to retry the case knowing all the government's evidence.

Defense lawyers had earlier contended that the informant and an overzealous FBI were responsible for pushing the alleged conspiracy along. "This was all written, directed and produced by the FBI,'' defense attorney Albert Levin was quoted as saying by Florida daily, Sun-sentinel in December after the mistrial verdict.


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Wiki: Allen charge


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