How Is This Trial Not A Mistrial?
Calling Buju Banton’s fight for freedom tough would be an understatement. His journey has been quite the roller-coaster ride since December 2009 when he was initially remanded on drug trafficking charges. The first trial led to a hung jury. Later he was convicted but his gun possession charges were dismissed. A whole new legal team was then hired and gun charges have been reintroduced. These are just a few of the many ups and downs The Banton has faced. Now, attention is focusing on whether the jury foreman violated the judge’s instructions by doing her own research on the case during the trial. The court has ordered a hearing to look into juror misconduct, inspiring hope for a new trial. Find Out Why After The Jump…
Last October, juror Terri Wright gave an interview where she admitted to researching info about the artist and the case online. “I would get in the car, just write my notes down so I could remember, and I would come home and do the research,” she told reporter Chris Sweeney. Since federal instructions strictly prohibit this by way of any discussions with others and library research, Buju’s lawyers have used it to their advantage and filed motions to conduct hearings for juror misconduct. Now according to the Broward County New Times, a judge has ordered a second hearing to look into possible juror misconduct.
The first hearing was held in December where a second juror admitted that she overheard another juror discuss research she completed throughout the trial. It was also brought to light that Wright backpedaled her statements through a text conversation with said reporter when the story was published. Working on the premise that Buju did not have a fair trial, his attorneys, Chokwe Lumumba and Imhotep Alkebu-lan, were granted a second hearing, scheduled for February 19, for which the judge has subpoenaed nine additional jurors and ordered Wright to turn in her computer to the courts for examination.
Things have never lookied more promising for Buju and his supporters. “If this is the lone juror the court believes conducted outside research, we would argue that would be grounds for a new trial,” says Alkebu-lan. “[Buju’s] eager that justice be done and he be granted a new trial.”
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