STRAIGHT TO ONE PEOPLE'S PROJECT
MISTRIAL! ONE JUROR TWISTS AND TURNS HAL TURNER CASE INTO ONE HUGE MESS
Hal Turner is saying that he is not a white supremacist, and considering he owes his fate to Hispanic and Indian lawyers, and now as we learn an Asian juror, he should never be! A judge declared a mistrial in his case and will be retried, thanks to a juror named Wei Wang, a self-described First Amendment juror who deadlocked the jury with what looks to be his own interpretation of the law and how it should be applied. The prosecution is heated right now. They never liked Wang as a juror, particularly after when he was seated he suggested that he could not be impartial! And we have never seen a judge grant a mistrial, leave the courtroom, and say "I changed my mind!" The only thing quicker than that would more than likely have been the appeal that was filed if Turner was found guilty! But Wang, it turns out, is not the only concern as we head into the retrial on March 1. Truth of the matter is only three jurors found him guilty. If that's the case, the prosecution is going to have a hell of a time trying to change that around, and conventional wisdom says they probably won't. We will find out in a few months, we suppose.
One People's Project
BROOKLYN, NY - The Hal Turner trial was rather uneventful during the two-day proceedings, but one juror has changed all that during deliberations. After the second note from the jury saying they were "hopelessly deadlocked", Judge Don Walter declared a mistrial.
The issues began when a series of notes from juror Wei Wang were sent to the court asking various questions concerning what constituted free speech and if historical Supreme Court decisions be applied to the jury's decision. This prompted calls for Wang's removal by the prosecution, a call that they have made repeatedly during the trial, particularly once they began deliberating. The defense meanwhile called for a mistrial, which Judge Don Walter granted. However, Judge Walter returned to the courtroom seconds later, said "I changed my mind," and said the jury should deliberate through lunch and afterwards if they were still deadlocked, the mistrial will be granted again.
Wang reportedly prompted concerns about him right after the jury was initially seated. Just before they were sworn in, jurors were excused for lunch. Wang returned saying that Hal Turner sounded "vaguely familiar" and that it might have through reading past court documents. Wang, who works for a hedge fund, has no legal training and says he studies the First Amendment as a "hobby". "If this case has something to do with freedom of speech as such, I don't know if I can be an impartial juror," Wang told the court that day, saying he had a strong belief in freedom of speech.
As deliberations went on, Wang's impartiality became an even greater concern with the notes, four of the five of them signed by Wang, not the foreperson. "It is apparent that somebody in there (the deliberating room) is arguing law that I didn't give them," Judge Walter said, sending instructions that the jury cannot interpret law for themselves. Judge Walter also sent instructions that only the foreman can sign letters, the next letter was signed by Wang who had become the foreperson. It was he who, when the jury entered the courtroom declared that the jury could not reach a verdict.
Richard Gardner, a truck driver from Nassau County, was one of the jurors in the case and said only three voted to convict. He said that the biggest problem in the case was that the prosecution bailed out in the case too early. Prosecutor William Hogan chose not to respond to Mr. Gardner's opinion.
Judge Walker is allowing computer access restricted to only Hal Turner's son, the only change to Turner's bail conditions that he changed. The prosecution also called for the "Friends of Hal Turner" blog to be taken down, but the prosecution said that it was a blog operated by the family, not Turner. The judge ruled in favor of the defense, but said he will be monitoring the blog. A gag order was also put on the prosecution and defense.
The retrial will begin on March 1 in the Eastern District of New York.
First, let me give a big thanks to Daryle Lamont Jenkins and OPP for keeping us updated and giving us a first-hand look into the events surrounding this courtroom circus.
While, I understand that the juror in question posed a major problem for this case, I think it is important to note that from everything that I have read and heard about this "trial," it appears that the competence of the presiding judge should certainly be in question.
Additionally, the prosecution definitely blinked. Whether that was intentional or happened out of simple arrogance is a matter for further debate.
The sad thing is that should the trial begin anew in March, nothing much will be gained. There will be no possible precedent setting decisions on First Amendment rights. There will be no definitive findings. All that could possibly be accomplished is another huge waste of taxpayer dollars.
What should occur, in my opinion, is an investigation into the practices of federal law-enforcement and their use of paid informants. Following that, it should be decided that the monies expended by cities and citizens around the country because of their orchestrated entrapments and demonstrations be returned, with interest, to every one of those entities.