Juror says FPD excessive force retrial is waste of money

March 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
ABC30 hears from a juror who feels the U.S. attorney is wasting time and money by re-trying four Fresno police officers on charges of excessive force.

The case involves former and current Fresno police officers Chris Coleman, Paul Van Dalen, Sean Plymale, and Michael Manfredi. A hung jury was declared after jurors said they could not reach a unanimous conclusion.

Juror #4 spoke to ABC30 because she feels it will be impossible for federal prosecutors to get 12 people to agree on nine charges against four officers. She says ultimately, taxpayer dollars will be wasted on another lengthy trial where there's no new evidence.

Attorneys representing four officers on trial had hoped a nine to three decision in favor of the officers would send a message to prosecutors, that jurors believed they acted within reason during an arrest in 2005.

But, Monday, to their dismay, they learned the case would be tried a second time. Even some jurors said the decision left them baffled.

Juror #4: "In listening to the testimonies and what the thoughts were of the officers as they were going through the process of taking this man into custody, if you apply the definition and accepted their testimony, then it could not be considered excessive."

Juror #4 said she doesn't see how a separate, new jury, if presented the same evidence will be able to reach another decision.

Juror #4: "It just seems like when you have this lopsided, even of a hung jury, that they would even consider retrying this is crazy."

Attorney Marshall Hodgkins Represents Sean Plymale. He estimates costs for just the defense of all four officers is a half million dollars.

Each attorney, with the exception of Manfredi's counsel are private, hired attorneys.

Hodgkins, "If it turns out that my client is unable to afford a second trial, I will have to either make arrangements with the court, if the court will agree to it or I will have to get out of the case, neither of which I want to do."

One juror said she questioned the seven year time lapse from the time the questionable force took place in 2005 until the case was tried. She felt the government didn't have compelling, strong enough evidence for this venue.

Juror #4: "It should have been dealt with internally, it never should have ended up in the court system."

While the officers figure out how they will pay for another trial, the case has been set over for next month.


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