Jurors Back Retrial In Oakland Misconduct Case

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Half of the jury members who deadlocked on most charges in the long-running Oakland police misconduct case would like the three fired officers put on trial again, the San Francisco Chronicls says. Three apologized for not convicting the officers.

“It will be a real tragedy if they don’t bring charges again,” said one juror, a man who moved away during the trial. He was one of six jurors –three women and three men — who called The Chronicle anonymously after a judge declared a mistrial when the jury reached verdicts in only eight of 35 charges. “It’s a strong case,” he said. “We would have come back with convictions if we didn’t have such a bad dynamic in our jury.”

The six jurors came forward because they believed that the foreman and other jurors did not accurately portray in interviews the deep divisions within the 12-member panel. “I feel I need to apologize to the community,” said one distraught juror, a Berkeley woman. “Those defendants were guilty but we failed to convict them. . . . We spent more than a year on this and we failed to provide justice.”

The six urged Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff to refile charges against fired Oakland cops Clarence “Chuck” Mabanag, 38, Jude Siapno, 35, and Matthew Hornung, 31. A fourth accused officer is a fugitive. Orloff will announce his decision Oct. 15.

After deliberating since June, the jury acquitted the three officers of eight charges including felony assault and kidnapping. But the jury deadlocked on the remaining 27 charges, including false arrest, conspiracy and writing bogus information in police reports.

All six who called said the foreman polarized jurors on the first day of deliberations. “He said there was enough reasonable doubt for a not-guilty verdict on every single charge and that nothing was going to change his mind,” said one juror. “That was the first 15 minutes. It was pretty much downhill from there.”

Link: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2003/10/02/MN15140.DTL

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