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Judge denies motion for new trial for convicted cops

Posted on November 08, 2010 3:00 AM EST

A circuit court judge denied a motion for a new trial submitted by police officers recently convicted by a South Florida jury. The trial received a huge amount of media attention. Each Miami criminal attorney representing the defendants filed the motion based on alleged juror misconduct. One of the jurors was accused or reading articles about the case on the internet while the other juror allegedly contacted his father who is in the legal field in another country. The judge believed the information provided to her, but did not find that the accusations did not rise to the level of misconduct.

The accused police officers were members of the Miami-Dade County crime suppression team and were accused of grand theft, burglary, criminal mischief, aggravated assault and battery. One of the officers was convicted of official misconduct, aggravated assault and criminal mischief. The other officer was convicted of only one count of burglary. Both defendants were acquitted on false imprisonment and grand theft charges. Both defendants are awaiting sentencing pending the completion of their pre-sentence investigation reports. Each defendant was being held in custody, until the judge released one of the defendants for medical reasons.

Under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.600, a judge must grant a new trial if he or she finds that the jurors determined the verdict by lot; the verdict rendered was contrary to the weight of the evidence; or new and material evidence, if introduced at trial, would have probably resulted in a not guilty verdict and the defendant could not have discovered the new and material evidence using reasonable diligence. The judge must also grant a new trial if the defendant's rights were substantially prejudiced by showing the defendant was not present at a material proceeding of the criminal process; the jury received other evidence not admitted by the court; the jurors separated during deliberation without the court's permission; a juror was guilty of misconduct, the prosecutor was guilty of misconduct; the judge failed to read an instruction as required under the law; or for any other reason that did not allow for a fair trial.

Defense counsel argued in their motion for a new trial that the jurors actions must be construed as misconduct thereby allowing for a new trial. The judge after taking testimony found that the juror's actions while inappropriate, but did not amount to misconduct and therefore denied the motions for a new trial. With that being said, the defendant convicted of aggravated assault with a firearm, official misconduct and criminal mischief is facing 15 years in prison with a 3 year minimum mandatory. The other defendant is facing 21 months to 15 years in prison for burglary of an occupied dwelling.

Motion for News Trial Denied in Convicted Cops Case, CBS4.com, November 8, 2010.