Hung Jury in Michael Slager’s Trial

walter-scott

Walter Scott. RIP

Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager was charged with murder or voluntary manslaughter in the killing of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man.  Walter Scott was shot in the back 5 times.

Trial began on November 3, 2016, with closing arguments on November 30, 2016.  We followed the trial on this blog with part 1; part 2; and part 3.

A by-stander’s video was released shortly after the deadly encounter that shows Slager unholstered his weapon and fire as Walter ran away.  Slager’s attorney then withdrew his representation and Slager was terminated from his job and charged with murder.

On Friday, the jury told judge Judge Newman that one juror was holding out for a not-guilty verdict.  Subsequently, the jury told Judge Newman that with further instructions on the law, they might be able to come to a unanimous decision.

After sending questions to the court this morning, and receiving answers to those questions, the jury sent a note saying they were deadlocked.

Judge Newman declared a mistrial.

Michael Slager also faces federal charges, including violation of Walter Scott’s civil rights.  That trial is scheduled for next year.

Source: CBS

 

Posted on 12/05/2016, in Cases, Trial Videos, Walter Scott and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.

  1. The prosecutor said she will re-try this case. She asked the jury to help her understand their decisions in preparation for the next trial.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Liked by 4 people

  3. I just don’t understand. I heard something on the radio where it was said that it had to take into account how terrified the officer was in order to make him shoot – but that is still so wrong. He was running away. Even if he HAD been a threat and we did not see it, even if he HAD been, he no longer was. He was running away – he shot him in the back. If it were some civilian, I would still have a problem, but this was a police officer – someone who is trained. There is NO excuse and for ANYONE to not see that… OMG that video gives me nightmares.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Rachael!
      Since Slager was claiming self-defense, his fear would come into play. But, he was also a law enforcement officer and if his level of fear was over that of undeputized citizens, it should question his qualifications to serve and protect. It appeared that Slager’s testimony that he did not know that Walter no longer had the taser was his winning argument. But, it failed, at least with 11 of the jurors because like you, others and myself, we see that Walter was not facing Slager and was running in the opposite direction when Slager fired his gun.

      Liked by 1 person

      • This juror must have somehow been “planted” on the jury. Stranger things have happened. AND… after just the video alone, anyone who can’t see that Slager was not at all in any danger from Scott needs to be institutionalized – seriously!!! This is such a huge miscarriage of justice. Being shot in the back, video evidence to show that Slager planted evidence on Scott, and eyewitness testimony all lead to…..a conviction (NOT).
        How terribly sad!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Roach,
          It is VERY suspect. There are some folks who have a sincere belief that if Blacks, particularly Black men, do not obey White men, and particularly White men with badges, that it justifies shooting them — even in the back. Those same people with that ideology are silent when White men run from the police. Maybe that hold-out juror is from the Dylan Roof school of ideologies.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Xena,
            You’re so correct. These antiquated thoughts have continued in the hearts and minds of many. It is so sad that we are in 2016 and people not only think this way but this is the way that they try to operate. That is why these young people need to know their history. The fight continues….
            SUBJECT CHANGE: You’ve been nominated for another award!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Roach,
              For more than a handful of years now, I’ve observed that those with such ideologies also demonstrate an abusive nature. Their idea of obedience is rooted in that characteristic. Professionals say that such behavior is learned, which is why those abused as children usually grow up to abuse children. They learn what controls them and use it as adults in effort to control others. What we’ve come to define as racial bigotry or racism, generally derives from children who are told they are not good enough, smart enough, will never be anything in life, losers, etc. Those children grow up looking for others to put down, and it becomes a generalization against a group, whether by race, gender, nationality.

              Once that characteristic is rooted within the justifications they use, there is no room for legislated law, right v. wrong, good v. evil. It’s all based on what they have concluded or want to believe concerning people who are not like them. Two wrongs never make a right. To say it another way, if it was wrong for Walter Scott to run, the punishment is not death. Slager was wrong for shooting Walter. No matter what he might have thought about the taser, Walter was 18 feet away when Slager starting firing his gun.

              Another award! Congratulations.

              Liked by 2 people

            • You say: “What we’ve come to define as racial bigotry or racism, generally derives from children who are told they are not good enough, smart enough, will never be anything in life, losers, etc. Those children grow up looking for others to put down, and it becomes a generalization against a group, whether by race, gender, nationality.”
              I say additionally that: those who are told that they are better than others and live “privileged” lives are also the ones to feel a sense of entitlement and they too become abusers in their own right. Add to that the “copycats” who parade themselves around as privileged and we have this man versus man mentality that crosses over into what we see as xenophobia. This pattern regenerates from generation to generation and here we are like I said before…in 2016 addressing the same age-old issues that our forefathers attended yet not to the same degree. Slager is currently free on a $500,000 bond. How does one kill another person (a black man as in most instances) in cold blood (with video evidence to prove the same) and is allowed bond? I’m perplexed… beyond belief, yet not surprised!

              Liked by 2 people

            • Roach,
              So true.
              Re:

              “This pattern regenerates from generation to generation and here we are like I said before…in 2016 addressing the same age-old issues that our forefathers attended yet not to the same degree.”

              There was a wake-up call in 2008 with the election of Barack Obama, and another wake-up call with the killing of Trayvon Martin. I think a third wake-up call has occurred with the election of Donald Trump. People are beginning to realize that they need to be informed.

              Re:

              “How does one kill another person (a black man as in most instances) in cold blood (with video evidence to prove the same) and is allowed bond? “

              That’s the constitutional right of not being deprived of liberty without due process of law. Of course, some are not able to pay for that liberty while awaiting trial while others, like Slager, are. So, although it’s a constitutional right, it comes with a price.

              Liked by 3 people

    • roderick2012

      ” I heard something on the radio where it was said that it had to take into account how terrified the officer was in order to make him shoot – but that is still so wrong.”

      But some white people are deathly afraid of black people–we have super human strength and black people are faster than the speed of light you know.

      Racism is illogical as is the fear that is associated with it so you shouldn’t be surprised if irrational acts or thoughts follow.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Are these jurors blind how could this ever be a mistrial? I mean it’s a clear case of cold blooded murder caught on tape with the cop planting evidence? This judicial system is messed up! This really makes me have no faith in this broken system!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lady,
      You’re not alone in those thoughts. The prosecution will no doubt treat this as dress rehearsal, and at the retrial, they will focus in on whatever it was that caused that lone juror to decide against voting guilty. I remember after Michael Dunn’s first trial that hung on a conviction for murdering Jordan Davis, that Angela Corey said she assumed the jury would use common sense based on Dunn’s actions after the shooting that included leaving the scene, leaving town, and not calling the police. At retrial, John Guy focused more on what Dunn did after the shooting and why. He got more into how the police were suppose to look for a shotgun or stick when Dunn had left the scene and was the only person who said he saw a shotgun or stick. It ended with a guilty verdict of first degree murder.

      Still, it is amazing how jurors perceive evidence and testimony. Slager was clearly evasive and his selective memory would have caused me to doubt his credibility.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Walter Scott’s Family Speaks After The Judge Declares a Mistrial.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. “Michael Slager also faces federal charges, including violation of Walter Scott’s civil rights. That trial is scheduled for next year.”

    Could this change with Jeffery Beauregard Sessions III at the helm of the AG’s office?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Why is there the slightest object. The picture shows a policeman shooting a defenceless man running for safety. It was murder.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mark O’Mara has written a piece about the one juror possibly being a stealth, and that prosecutors should have checked the social media of potential jurors before seating them.

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-ed-cop-shot-in-back-5-times–120616-20161206-story.html

    Liked by 2 people

  9. “In a well-known case decided in 2016, a federal district judge asked the lawyers for Google and Oracle to agree to a ban on internet research of the jury panel.”

    What case was this?

    Like

      • This is so interesting!

        “No ex parte communications with jurors.

        Of course, we cannot engage in ex parte communications with jurors or prospective jurors. We remember when we were Summer Associates and were told that if we talked to a juror, we would be fired. Kind of a strange threat to make against a bunch of wide-eyed second-year law students who stood a snowball’s chance in hell of actually being in the presence of a jury. (Rumor has it that such an incident actually occurred the prior summer, but we never learned any details.) In any event, ABA Model Rule 3.5 prohibits ex parte contact with jurors, and everyone seems to agree that affirmatively reaching out to a juror on social media—i.e., to “friend,” “connect with,” or “follow” the juror—clearly would violate that rule. Passive viewing of juror’s Internet presence is probably okay, depending on whether the juror receives notice of the surveillance. If a juror received notice of your snooping, for example through an automated message that someone has “viewed your profile,” that is okay under the ABA’s Opinion, but it might be an ex parte communication under some state’s rules, including New York’s. So be careful and tread lightly.

        No deception.

        There are lots of rules that prohibit deception, but we follow the one that a now-retired and much-admired mentor shared with us repeatedly: “You can’t do that.” The ABA Opinion curiously does not mention deception, but the NYC Bar Opinion says flat out, “The attorney must not use deception to gain access to a juror’s website or to obtain information.” So, no, you cannot troll for information on your jurors through a Facebook profile pretending to be a 24-year-old single woman seeking a roommate, or a 54-year-old divorced male who likes waterskiing and long walks on the beach at sunset (unless you happen to be one of those things). If you search your jurors’ social media, either log in truthfully or don’t log in at all.”

        Like

        • Mindyme,
          Thanks for this. It brings about the issue of “privacy.” What is posted on public social media is not considered private. However, if communicating for the purpose of engaging the person or people privately to snoop, and by pretending to me someone else, it can be an invasion of privacy. I remember during voir dire of potential jurors in Zimmerman’s trial, that they were asked about Facebook pages that they clicked like to. What I questioned was why would they not exclude those from the jury pool rather than voir dire them for what appeared to be to embarrass them or pry further into what could be considered protected speech?

          Liked by 1 person

  10. “It is my understanding that there will be, as quickly as possible, a new trial where the Scott family and all of South Carolina will hopefully receive the closure that a verdict brings,” Haley wrote. “Justice is not always immediate, but we must all have faith that it will be served – I certainly do. I urge South Carolinians – in Charleston and across our state – to continue along the path we have walked these last two years: a path of grace, faith, love and understanding. That is who we are, and who I know we will continue to be.”

    http://www.wltx.com/news/local/haley-on-slager-trial-justice-is-not-always-immediate/363476186

    Liked by 1 person

  11. yahtzeebutterfly

    You can listen to the interview of the jury foreman at this link:
    http://www.today.com/news/walter-scott-shooting-jury-foreman-explains-how-michael-slager-case-t105742

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yahtzee,
      Thanks for the link. So, there were 5 undecided and 1 stubborn who could not convict, leaving 6 others who were looking to convict for voluntary manslaughter. With half of the jury going towards conviction, I can see why prosecutors will re-try. That interview also tells prosecutors who they must focus on to get a murder conviction, and what the jury instructions need to include the next time around. For example, when they cross-examine Slager, they might focus on asking why his report about Scott and the taser seemed to match up with his actions of getting the taser, dropping it by Walter’s body, then picking it up, but claiming he did not remember doing that.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. disturbing new information the jury foreman could NOT be on that jury under south carolina LAW…..he had pending felony charges…….also i dont believe one word he said about the deliberations because of his silly claim that slager was NOT malicious……that word means having “ill will” shooting a person to death from the back is the definition of ill will.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill,
      Yes. Disturbing and interesting. Savage, Slager’s defense attorney, said he knew of Dorsey Montgomery’s past, but didn’t object to him being seated on the jury. I guess he was hoping that having bad judgment in retail sales leading to a felony charge would be a bias to Montgomery, leading him to decide that Slager’s judgment was bad but not malicious.

      http://www.postandcourier.com/news/during-michael-slager-trial-prosecutors-dropped-north-charleston-police-charge/article_7474d824-bd47-11e6-adca-fb6eb1c2f525.html

      We’ve observed since the Zimmerman trial that there have been too many arguments between jurors of what the law is. Some of that might be due to claims of self-defense muddying the waters in cases. Like you, I see Slager’s claim of self-defense going out of the window by shooting Walter in the back.

      That one hold-out juror and Montgomery might have done prosecutors a favor. Hopefully they will do a better job the next time around.

      Like

      • i think many citizens think words like “malicious” mean something really horrific, when they really only mean intending to HARM which when you shoot somebody you intend to harm them and the act is clearly “ill will” directed at them……example shooting into the air and having the bullet fall to earth and strike somebody isnt “malicious” but taking aim and firing into their back is clearly malicious.

        Like

        • Bill,
          Absolutely!
          Slager’s testimony that he continued shooting to take-down the threat also indicates malicious intent because the threat was over 20 feet from him when he took the last shot.

          Like

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