PHILADELPHIA — Jurors here informed a judge Monday morning that they were hung on two charges in the capital murder trial of abortion provider Kermit Gosnell, who is accused of severing the spinal cords of babies born to women during procedures at his clinic.Read the rest here.
It remained unclear which of the many charges he faces had caused the stalemate. When jurors were brought into the courtroom about 11:15 a.m., Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart gave them what is commonly called a Spencer charge, telling them to reexamine the evidence and continue trying to reach a verdict.
“The fact that you are stuck on two counts — it shows you are considering the evidence seriously. It’s an indication of your sincerity and your objectivity,” Minehart said. “It’s a difficult case. We appreciate that.”
Minehart said the gridlock also could represent “confusion” about the details of the charges in the case and the evidence presented. He said he was sending the jurors back to further consider that evidence in hopes of reaching a consensus. But, he added, “no juror should surrender an honest conviction” merely to reach a verdict.
Having had the experience of sitting on a murder jury I sympathize. What is obvious to some may not be to others. In the case I sat on we spent a day and a half debating between First and Second Degree Murder and at one point I thought we were going to be hung. Then we went back and watched the rather long video taped confession and reread transcripts from the police interview and the clear "premeditation" pretty much just leaped out.