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After Three Hung Juries, Yolo D.A. Seeks Fourth Trial Of Brothers

Publication Date: 
December 14, 2010
Source: 
The Sacramento Bee
Author: 
Hudson Sangree

The Sacramento Bee's Hudson Sangree features Professor Robert Weisberg in an article on a Yolo County case which is headed to trial for the fourth time:

Three times, Yolo County prosecutors have asked separate juries to convict two West Sacramento brothers charged with fighting police and resisting arrest in an incident five years ago.

Three times, juries have deadlocked on the charges, most recently Friday, resulting in mistrials.

Now prosecutors are gearing up for a fourth trial on the same charges. A new trial date has been set for February.

Legal experts and lawyers familiar with the case say they have never heard of a district attorney's office seeking a fourth trial after three hung juries. Stanford Law School professor Robert Weisberg called it "unbelievably unusual" but said there is little to prevent prosecutors from trying defendants over and over after mistrials.

"There is no constitutional limit on it whatsoever," Weisberg said. The only legal relief the brothers might have is for a judge to put a halt to the process based on general principles of fairness and equity, he said.

...

But Weisberg said multiple trials often work against prosecutors. "The chances of getting a conviction diminish rapidly as a statistical matter," he said. "Four times is not the charm."

...

Weisberg agreed: "The cops have to maintain an aggressive and confident posture on the criminal charges so as not to lend any credence to the civil rights suit."