Attorney for Officer in Shooting Case: Don’t Seek Retrial

27 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Attorney for officer in shooting case: Don’t seek retrial.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s attorney general should forgo pursuing a mistrial for a white police officer whose voluntary manslaughter trial in the death of a black man ended with a hung jury, an attorney for the officer said Wednesday. Only days after a judge ordered a mistrial in the voluntary manslaughter case of Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Randall “Wes” Kerrick, his attorneys called on the attorney general’s office not to prosecute their client again. “Charlotte needs time to heal,” attorney George Laughrun said at a Wednesday morning press conference. “We can hope the attorney general looks at that and says, ‘We gave it our best shot.CHARLOTTE—For the first time since a mistrial was declared in the officer Randall ‘Wes’ Kerrick case last Friday, his defense attorneys held a news conference. I want to thank the countless professionals who responded to the scene of this incident on September 14, 2013, and have worked it tirelessly since that night. Race has been at the center of this case for some, Officer Kerrick being white and Jonathan Ferrell being black – but Raffe does not believe that factored into any of the juror’s decision making. “I had the feeling we were able…to just concentrate on the two parties involved,” Raffe said. “I don’t think race was a factor for any one of them.” During deliberations, he said one juror pushing for a guilty verdict, continued to write on a board “What did Jonathan Ferrell DO to deserve death?” “Dash cam video was really the most solid, visible evidence,” Raffe said. “It certainly helped me determine the actions that Jonathan took resulted in where Officer Kerrick thought his life was threatened. “I truly feel for the Ferrell family,” Raffe added. “Looking in Jonathan’s brother’s eyes and his mother’s eyes—its not an easy thing.

They say although a second trial could be looming, Kerrick tried to remain optimistic since eight of the 12 jurors felt he was not guilty in the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell. George Laughrun and Mike Greene said that they and Kerrick were nervous as the jury deliberated, but that it got particularly intense when the jury announced that they were deadlocked 8-4. Without any new “smoking gun” evidence, legal experts say a retrial would likely end the same way. “Usually the ones you retry are where it’s 11-to-1 in favor of guilt, or 10-to-2,” said Steve Ward, a retired Mecklenburg County prosecutor who teaches criminal procedure at Belmont Abbey College. “But when something gets an even split or goes toward acquittal, there’s no reason to believe that on another day it will be different.” “Eight to four bodes against another trial,” agreed another former veteran prosecutor who asked not to be identified to avoid the appearance of interfering. There’s an unspoken nervousness that goes on because you do hold the future of both parties in your hand…you can’t really let that play into your decision on where you find yourself…but to say that you don’t notice the emotions on their faces is not true at all. They said that there was never any question that Kerrick would testify — that he particularly wanted to tell his story after two years of silence, and hearing calls for his conviction. “I think that should be an overwhelming indicator that this is a case where people will be on one side of the fence or the other side of the fence and between probably won’t be able to meet,” he said.

When trophies needed handing out, the chief did it. “Whether the chief is black or white, to see him here shows he’s somebody who actually cares,” Farmer said. “It’s very important for the chief to be out here after that trial so people can feel a sense of confidence that the police department cares about them. The state hasn’t announced whether it will retry Kerrick, and legal experts told Channel 9 that state attorneys will likely go over the transcript of the case and weigh their chances of winning before making a decision — a process that could take weeks, months or longer. Saturday’s event was organized by “Cops and Barbers” founder Shaun “Lucky” Corbett, a Charlotte barber. “This is Cops and Barbers 2.0,” Putney said about his appearance at the event where basketball teams fielded from the police, fire and sheriff’s departments played each other. “It’s about outreach.

The defense also said it stands behind its case that was presented, despite criticism from Ferrell supporters. “We weren’t villainizing Jonathan Ferrell. There’s also speculation that politics could play in the ultimate decision – Attorney General Roy Cooper is running for governor on the Democratic ticket and risks alienating African-American voters if the case isn’t retried. On Monday, she said the Kerrick case remains under “active discussion.” But Talley did not offer a timetable on when a decision on a new trial will be made. The bridge-building, he said, is critical to build trust and defusing tensions. “It’s what we’ve been doing in Charlotte for a long time,” he said. “This is what we’re committed to doing going forward.

Michael Greene, who teamed with Laughrun in defending Kerrick, said he only retried one case in his time as a prosecutor in Mecklenburg County, and that was because a juror knew the defendant in the case. During testimony, the pair routinely referred to Ferrell, a former college football player, as “the suspect” in a breaking and entering not far from where he was shot. He added: “If you’ve given it your best … and you only get one-third of the jurors, then sometimes you look in the mirror and say, ‘We did our best and it’s unlikely that doing our best again will have a different outcome.’” Some protestors thought prosecutors made it difficult to get a unanimous verdict by “overcharging” Kerrick with voluntary manslaughter. But based on the evidence, voluntary manslaughter is the least of three possible charges (the others being first-degree murder and second-degree murder). Before the trial, the defense team subpoenaed any pawn shop records police could find linked to Ferrell, raising the specter that Ferrell was trying to burglarize the home.

Greene said the attorneys’ goal was to challenge the pretrial narrative of an unarmed black man who went for help but instead was “gunned down” by police. ▪ Accused former Police Chief Rodney Monroe and his top commanders of a rush to judgment in arresting Kerrick. During closing arguments, Assistant Attorney General Teresa Postell referred to Little when she said prosecutors had an ethical obligation not to call witnesses who don’t tell the truth. The comment appeared to draw a strong rebuke from the judge when he pulled Postell and Laughrun aside to talk to them privately. ▪ Contended that Kerrick feels remorse for what happened but has not talked directly with Ferrell’s mother, Georgia, and other relatives because the charges against him remain pending. “If he were here right now, he’d probably say he wants to give Georgia Ferrell a hug,” Greene said. Asked about the cost of defending Kerrick over the last two years, Laughrun said he doesn’t know what the final bill will be, adding, “We would represent him for free.”

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