FORT SMITH — Jurors within the use-of-force trial towards the Franklin County sheriff have not reached a unanimous verdict on all three prices leveled towards him.
The jury that can determine the result of the federal authorities’s legal case towards Sheriff Anthony Boen, 51, started its deliberation Friday in U.S. District Courtroom.
Nevertheless, after greater than 4 hours of debate, the jury foreperson indicated to U.S. District Decide Timothy L. Brooks that the group reached a verdict on solely one of many three counts. The jury determined that it wish to submit all of its verdicts directly and can proceed deliberating after the courtroom convenes once more at 8:30 a.m. Monday.
This occurred after Boen’s attorneys rested their protection, which started Thursday, and all sides delivered its closing arguments.
Boen pleaded harmless to a few federal prices of deprivation of rights below shade of regulation on Dec. 17, 2019. His indictment accuses him of utilizing unreasonable power towards detainees three separate occasions, leading to “bodily damage” in every occasion.
One of many prices within the indictment acknowledged Boen punched a detainee Justin Phillips of Panama, Okla., “a number of occasions within the head and physique” whereas he and a deputy have been taking Phillips to the Franklin County Jail on Sept. 14, 2017. This happened whereas Phillips was handcuffed and shackled behind a patrol automotive and never resisting, based on the indictment.
The second cost states Boen ordered detainee Brandon English of Ozark taken to the detectives’ workplace on Nov. 21, 2018, after which he pushed English onto the ground and grabbed English’s hair or beard, based on the indictment.
The indictment states that on Dec. 3, 2018, Boen struck one other detainee, Zachery Greene of Ozark, “a number of occasions within the head” whereas Greene was shackled to a bench within the county jail and never resisting. This was the depend on which the jury reached a verdict.
In his directions to the jury, Brooks stated every of the counts had 4 parts that the federal authorities had the burden of proving past an affordable doubt:
• That Boen disadvantaged the victims of the proper of a pretrial detainee to be free from using unreasonable power by a regulation enforcement officer.
• That Boen acted willfully to ignore the regulation.
• That Boen acted below shade of regulation. Each events agreed this had been confirmed.
• That Boen’s conduct resulted in bodily damage.
The federal authorities’s closing argument, delivered by legal professional Michael Songer, emphasised what a number of present and former workers of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Workplace testified all through the week about witnessing the incidents listed within the indictment or listening to Boen speak about them both in individual or over the cellphone. The latter included cellphone calls recorded by the FBI as a part of its investigation into Boen and performed to the jurors as proof.
Songer stated every of the officers got here ahead as a result of Boen had abused his authority. He referred to as Boen a “bully with a badge” who used power towards the victims not as a response to a menace or in self-defense however as one thing he deliberate to do upfront. He concluded his argument by stating it was as much as the jury to carry Boen accountable.
Russell Wooden, one among Boen’s attorneys, stated the case was about credibility. He used his closing argument for example contradictions within the testimonies given by the federal government’s witnesses, saying the federal authorities did not current a cohesive story on all three counts from which an affordable individual may decide what occurred.
The contradictions included variations when these witnesses stated sure occasions associated to the three prices happened, who was current in the course of the occasions and the way they occurred.
One of many extra important variations was one by which Phillips testified Tuesday former chief deputy Mason Berry, who stated he noticed Boen beat Phillips as described within the indictment, really held his his head whereas Boen did so. Berry, when cross-examined by Wooden Tuesday, stated he instructed the FBI in 2019 the allegations weren’t true.
Wooden additionally reminded jurors of data supplied by the witnesses the protection referred to as contradicting testimony from the opposing aspect. He stated along with the numerous conflicting accounts, the federal government introduced little laborious proof. He claimed the recorded cellphone calls the federal government introduced had nothing in them besides what the federal government needed the jury to deduce about Boen.
Songer took to the stand once more to ship a rebuttal to Wooden’s argument, which included discussing different proof the federal government introduced this week. Songer stated whereas there have been contradictions within the witnesses’ testimonies of those incidents, which occurred years in the past, all of them agreed on the basic subject of Boen violating the rights of people that weren’t doing something on the time.
Boen selected to not testify Friday as a part of the protection’s case.
U.S. Structure, 14th Modification, Part 1
“All individuals born or naturalized in the US, and topic to the jurisdiction thereof, are residents of the US and of the State whereby they reside. No State shall make or implement any regulation which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of residents of the US; nor shall any State deprive any individual of life, liberty, or property, with out due strategy of regulation; nor deny to any individual inside its jurisdiction the equal safety of the legal guidelines.”