Last month two jurors signed an affidavit declaring the verdict for count six against Tracie Hunter “was not their true verdict” and just recently a third juror signed an affidavit declaring her true verdict “was not guilty for count six.” Judge Hunter’s attorney Clyde Bennett III filed a motion for a new trial that will be heard November 13th, 2014, in Judge Norbert Nadel’s Courtroom.
On October 14th, the verdicts for all 9 counts were revealed and when attorney Clyde Bennett III requested to have the jury polled Judge Nadel denied the request. His claims were that he had already polled the jury on October 10th when the jury provided the sealed verdict. However, there are two problems with Judge Nadel’s polling on October 10th.
The first is that it is suppose to be done after the verdict is read in open court. Jurors have the right to change their verdict because of possible acts of intimidation, and or peer pressure that can influence an unwanted response. Polling of the Jury in open court provides the juror, if necessary, a final attempt to change their verdict or to stand by their verdict. It also allows the accused to know the standing of each juror who had a decision in deciding his or her fate.
Secondly, the poll conducted by Judge Nadel was not a proper poll according to the law. It made no sense to try to conduct a poll when all the counts were not concluded. The same rational used to wait on the reveal of any verdict until all the counts were decided should have applied instead of Judge Nadel’s rushed attempt to poll the jury. Instead of waiting until it was retuned to open court, Nadel conducted a jury poll behind close doors without knowing the standing of each juror regarding count six. “Supposedly the verdict was sealed and unknown until October 14th. Unless he did know, which would explain the prior look of glee after weeks of bitter beer expressions, and the very prepared reprimand speech toward Judge Hunter.
This is what the law state:
The Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 31, Verdict, describes the verdict process.
Section (A) Return: The verdict shall be unanimous. It shall be in writing, signed by all jurors concurring therein, and returned by the jury to the judge in open court.
Section (D) states, Poll of jury: When a verdict is returned and before it is accepted the jury shall be polled at the request of any party or upon the court’s own motion. If upon the poll there is not unanimous concurrence, the jury may be directed to retire for further deliberation or maybe discharged.
Will Judge Nadel follow the law or ignore it? Will the petty charade trial continue at taxpayer’s expense or eventually come to an end with unbiased justice prevailing? The special prosecutors Merlyn Shiverdecker and R. Scott Croswell have already declared that if the verdict does not stick on count 6 they will retry the remaining counts. Therefore, taxpayers be prepared to fork out a little more for this internal political saga orchestrated by self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives.
If retried, can Judge Hunter get a change of venue? If people thought a fair trial was possible for Tracie Hunter in Hamilton County, after witnessing this case, do you still believe that?
What are your thoughts?