Wednesday, July 7, 2010

No Verdict Wednesday

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Jul 7, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Jurors did not reach a verdict today before adjourning just before noon because one juror had a doctor's appointment, the Chron reports. However, it was revealed this morning that at least one juror submitted a question to the judge on Friday, asking about voluntary manslaughter.

The question sought clarification on what constitutes a "heat of passion" killing as voluntary manslaughter and whether Mehserle might have lost control of his emotions because of the actions by somone other than Oscar Grant. Prosecutor David Stein has argued that fellow BART cop Anthony Pirone escalated the events that led to Grant's death by his over-the-top actions, which included hurling a racial epithet.

Judge Robert Perry agreed with Stein that a "heat of passion" killing could be construed as voluntary manslaughter if Mehserle lost control because of the actions of others — such as Pirone. However, the judge decided not to formally answer the question, because jurors had to restart deliberations today after one juror went on vacation and was replaced by an alternate. The judge said he would answer the question for the jury if it's asked again.

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