Friday, May 19, 2017

Jury In Shelby Trial: "Shoddy" Prosecution By D.A. Kunsweiler

  The Tulsa Frontier News was able to conduct an interview with one anonymous juror in the trial of police officer, Betty Shelby. Shelby shot an unarmed Tulsa motorist last year. We're posting some amazing quotes from the article. Please read the full account at The Frontier.

The juror said all 12 jurors wrote a letter they intended to be sent to TPD Chief Jordan in which they stated their belief that Shelby should not be a patrol officer.

“There was a range of belief there,” he said. “Some of us thought she would be good behind a desk. She sounded like an excellent diver. I thought she would have made a great EMT.”

He said the letter also outlined the jury’s “extreme displeasure” with the case laid out by prosecutors.

“There were so many holes in their case,” he said. “We really felt like they could have gotten a conviction had they presented it better.”

One of the elements of a successful manslaughter case like the one presented against Shelby is that fear must be “an overriding” factor. He said the jury felt like Shelby was scared — she testified that the encounter with Crutcher was “the most scared she’d ever been” — but that she wasn’t panicking.

I’ll always feel like a coward
He said that while he never came out and said he felt  Shelby was guilty, he will always regret not “hanging the jury.”

“At one point I talked with another juror about just hanging the jury, and making the state try the case again,” he said. “We really agreed that if they did a better job, they could have convicted her. And maybe the right thing to do was just make them do it again, maybe they do something different and a different jury convicts her."

“I’ll always feel like a coward for not doing that.”

He said jurors had no idea how long they would be required to stay in the deliberation room. As tiredness and hunger set it, votes started to trend toward not guilty.

“We took a vote pretty early on and it was six not guilty, two guilty and four undecided,” he said. “We did it again and it was … seven not guilty, three guilty and two undecided. The next time we voted, we kind of went around the table and we all were supposed to explain our position. When it got to me I kind of felt like I should commit one way, and I committed to not guilty.”

“We also didn’t know how long we would have to deliberate,” he said. “We were thinking ‘How long do we have to stay in here before they do a mistrial? I was kind of irritated because I was hungry, I was tired — we all were — and we kind of felt that we needed to just come to a decision.”

He said the jury felt “at least somewhat” that what Shelby did was wrong, but they all agreed it didn’t meet the criteria to convict under first-degree manslaughter.

“We all kind of felt that maybe the law wasn’t that good,” he said.

from Sooner - Editorial

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