Government Responds To Possible Juror Misconduct - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Government Responds To Possible Juror Misconduct In Karl Thompson Case

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SPOKANE, WASH. - There is an update to a story we have been covering for more than six years, the case of former Spokane Police officer Karl Thompson.

Friday the prosecution will be submitting their response to the defense's motion for a new trial and their hope to dismiss the case entirely. The defense also wants a hearing or interviews on possible juror misconduct.

The defense received word at the beginning of the month that an alternate juror heard two fellow jurors discussing the case prior to deliberations. The defense now wants to interview those jurors, and if that's not possible they want a hearing about the alleged misconduct. In court documents submitted Friday, the government said there is no concrete evidence showing the juror's conversations biased the verdict, and beside that the government believes a conversation between jurors does not warrant a new trial.

After the trial in an e-mail to Defense Attorney Carl Oreskovich, an alternate juror wrote in part, "I was shocked to hear the news. I do not have the same opinion of my fellow jurors. I am sorry."

Fast forward to the beginning of March when a Court Security Officer from Yakima's William Douglas Courthouse said he ran into the same juror who wrote the e-mail after the verdict. The CSO said the alternate juror told him he (alternate juror) heard two female jurors discussing the case prior to deliberations. The defense says this affected Thompson's right to a fair trial. 

But the government responded Friday with eight pages of its own. One part cited the case United States v. Klee saying "jurors cannot be expected to stand mute throughout the course of an entire trial." It went onto say although it is improper for jurors to discuss a case prior to deliberations, this alone does not warrant the granting of a new trial or even an evidentiary hearing.

The government's full response (expected to be more than 45 pages) to the defense's motion for a new a trial or dismissal of the indictment is expected to come later Friday afternoon.

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