UPDATE: Government Responds To Defenses Motion For New Trial In Karl Thompson Case
by Alex Rozier, KHQ Local News Reporter - bio | email
SPOKANE, WASH. - The government has now responded to the defenses motion for a new trial or dismissal in the case of Karl Thompson. The defenses motion for a new trial largely centers around the prosecutions expert video witness Grant Fredericks. Fredericks says that Thompson's actions the night of the Otto Zehm encounter could have been a lot of things other than a baton swinging motion, but the defense says that's not what they were told.
The defense says they first learned of Fredericks belief that Thompson may not have struck Zehm with a baton when the witness himself (Fredericks) came forward with concerns quote "about whether his expert opinions and forensic video evidence were properly disclosed to the defense counsel." Fredericks feared "a miscarriage of justice occurred."
Shortly after four today, the government submitted their response. In a 37 page court document they suggested they acted in good faith, going on to say that Fredericks never said that baton strikes did not occur, but consistently said quote "a swinging motion of a baton is an entirely logical and appropriate interpretation of the video evidence."
The defense has until April 9th to respond to the prosecution and then it will eventually go back to Judge Fred Van Sickle to schedule a hearing. Thompson was originally supposed to be sentence on January 27th following his two convictions on November 2nd of last year for the use of excessive force and lying to investigators for his role in the death of Otto Zehm.
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.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 12:27 AM EDT2013-05-22 04:27:35 GMT
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