- The jury will resume deliberations this morning in the Miami trial of Eric Rivera, accused of the murder of football star Sean Taylor
The jury has been deliberating the fate of Eric Rivera, accused of shooting Sean Taylor, since Wednesday. Rivera gave a videotaped confession to his involvement in the crime, including that he was the one who kicked in the door with his Nike Shox shoes, and fired the shot that killed Taylor. He testified at trial that he did not take part in the crime, and that his confession was coerced. Rivera was only 17 at the time, and was not given access to his parents when police questioned him. The State’s case is based almost entirely on the confession. Clearly the jury is grappling with some issues, as their deliberations have carried over several days.
The deliberations have not been without intrigue, as the jury was accidentally allowed access to a law book that had been left in the courtroom. Both sides had the opportunity to request a mistrial, but declined to do so. Generally, everybody involved in a trial does not want a mistrial, as it means starting the trial over from scratch. Often, the Defense is more likely to request it, as a retrial insures their client will not be going to prison in the near future. However, the extensive deliberations must give the Defense some hope that this jury is sympathetic to their argument. Also, a second trial generally favors the State, who has the burden of proof. A trial run increases the likelihood of success at retrial. As it is, this jury could go either way.
The jury asked some questions on Friday, and one of the questions related to lesser charges. That could indicate what the jury might be considering. There were additional questions related to the Principal Theory, as well.
After the trial, I will do a follow up discussing why I think the jury has grappled so much with a case that had a recorded confession. Hint, it’s not the prosecution’s fault. Could Rivera walk? I doubt it… that would be a bigger upset than Casey Anthony’s acquittal. But even a conviction to a lesser charge would be a huge defense victory. A hung jury also remains a possibility.