Bunkerville Jury Confused by Conspiracy
Even Judge Navarro seemed confused by the jury’s questions.
By Shari Dovale and John Lamb
During the 5th day of deliberations, the jury for the first tier Bunkerville defendants have come back to the courtroom with another question.
Though the specific questions remain sealed, the responses from the court indicate the question pertained to contradictions in the jury instructions on how to determine if there was a conspiracy.
Judge Gloria Navarro responded that the conspiracy could have existed from people who are not in this room. She was referring to future defendants and also those that have not been indicted.
At one point, Judge Navarro attempted a convoluted analogy involving baseball. If there was a conspiracy to play a game of baseball, did these defendants bring the tools (bat, ball, glove) to play the game?
If the jury finds that no conspiracy existed, then several of the charges would automatically be found as not guilty. However, it does not mean that all the charges would have a blanket not guilty. There are several charges that are not tied to the conspiracy charge.
The jury questions also indicated that they are having difficulties on unanimity. There could be a possibility of a hung jury on some of the charges.
The jurors must decide on over 70 charges in this case. There are 15 pages of jury instructions and 11 pages of verdict sheets.
This has become very confusing for everyone today, as even Judge Navarro seemed confused by the jury’s questions. The defense attorneys argued that, with today’s responses, their defendants are being tried for crimes possibly committed by other people.
The jury seems to be needing a break, and they have indicated they would like to leave early today and possibly take tomorrow off as well, returning Monday morning. The jurors are setting their own schedule at this point.
It does seem that if the jurors are have having trouble defining a conspiracy on the 5th day of deliberations, then the verdict pendulum could possibly be swinging away from the government.
In related news, many of the defendants have been incarcerated for over 400 days now. It was determined early on that the second trial would commence 30 days after the first was completed. The third trial would then begin 30 days after the second trial completed.
The prosecution filed a motion to delay the start date of the second tier trial until June 5th. Judge Navarro set the date back to June 26th. Cliven Bundy filed a motion contesting that ruling based on the defendants rights to a speedy trial.
The court has continuously delayed these trials for their own convenience. Judge Navarro has cited her reasons for delay, again, as the logistics of responding to pre-trial motions. This is something that she should have planned for from the beginning.