Juror second guesses ‘not guilty’ verdict
Published 12:00 am Friday, May 16, 2003
The jury didn’t deliberate just once in Richard Jermaine Woods’ attempted murder trial. It went back to the jury room for a second round.
Woods, 24, was on trial for the attempted murder of William Calhoun, 24, during a 2002 New Year’s Day shooting incident.
After attorneys concluded their closing arguments Thursday afternoon, jurors left the jury box only to return a little more than an hour later with a verdict.
Standing with verdict in hand, the forewoman said Woods had been found not guilty. Assistant District Attorney Joseph Fitzpatrick, prosecuting attorney, however, requested each juror be polled individually by Fourth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Marvin Wiggins, the presiding magistrate.
Fitzpatrick said attorneys have the option of polling the jury after a verdict is read. Jurors will sometimes change their mind when asked individually by the judge what their verdict is and the polling can show they may have been coerced into a verdict.
However, Fitzpatrick said he had never been involved in a case where a juror did change their verdict when polled. That is, until Thursday.
One juror shook her head when Wiggins asked her if &uot;not guilty&uot; was her verdict.
Wiggins then instructed jurors to return to the jury room until they could reach a unanimous verdict. About 20 minutes later, they did.
This time around all 12 jurors said &uot;not guilty&uot; was their verdict.
In his closing arguments, Jackson said Calhoun couldn’t have known who had taken a shot at him because he was under the influence at the time. Also, Jackson claimed it would have been impossible for Woods to have been the shooter.
Jackson also referenced a 2001 incident in which Calhoun had defended himself with a baseball bat against Woods and his brother after they allegedly attacked him.
Calhoun was found not guilty of that alleged offense by a jury.
Fitzpatrick said the previous case was the reason Woods had been found not guilty, and sympathy for Woods was what delivered the not guilty verdict.
In his closing arguments, Fitzpatrick said Jackson had made a number of promises in his opening statement &045;&045; promises that weren’t kept.