PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Jury deliberations in the trial of Leon Ford, who was paralyzed during a November 2012 traffic stop in the city’s East End, will continue Monday after starting all over again today.
This morning, a juror was excused and replaced with an alternate. No explanation was given for why the juror was excused.
Attorney Pat Thomassey, who is not affiliated with this case, says a recent change in the rules permits this.
“Well, they changed the rule a number of years ago where now you’re permitted to bring back an alternate under certain circumstances, which in this case, works out very well,” said Thomassey. “Keep in mind that a few years ago, before they changed the rule, they would have had an automatic mistrial unless the lawyers agreed to go with 11 or 10.”
As a result, deliberations started over again.
The juror who was replaced asked the judge in open court to see the dash cam video a second time.
This afternoon, with a new juror on the panel, the jury asked to see the video once again.
Thomassey says you can’t bank on the five unresolved charges from Wednesday because this is a new jury.
“That’s the problem though, they’ll have to start deliberating all over and who knows what the split is in there now, but I wouldn’t think there would be a very quick verdict just because of what happened now,” said Thomassey.
Just before 5:30 p.m., the jury adjourned for the weekend. Deliberations will get back underway Monday morning.
On Wednesday, the jury asked to see the dash cam video once again in slow motion. The video was played in real time, and then frame by frame. They also asked to hear again the definition of reasonable doubt.
Earlier, the jury sent a message to Judge Donald Machen which read, “We cannot reach consensus on five of the charges. What do we do now?”
The judge then asked them to try again, as is the usual practice when a jury first tells the judge they are deadlocked.
The jury did not specify which charges are at issue.
Ford faces charges including aggravated assault, three counts of recklessly endangering another person, resisting arrest and escape.
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