Still no verdict in Deedy murder trial

Published On: Dec 23 2013 10:46:46 PM HST   Updated On: Aug 20 2013 09:51:49 PM HST

Mums the word after another full day of deliberations in the murder trial of a federal agent.

Twelve jurors are tasked with deciphering and deciding one of the most high-profile cases the islands have seen in years.

There's been plenty of talk about the possibility of a hung jury in this case, in part, because the eight men and four women on the jury must decide between two extremes: murder or acquittal.

After 20 days of testimony, Thursday afternoon was the first time jurors had a chance to speak as a group. That includes reviewing surveillance video as a group -- that silent, choppy video that each side says is the proof that supports their case.

KITV4 talked with former city prosecutor Don Paccaro on Tuesday, who was involved in a 2001 ruling that's had a major impact on similar cases ever since.

In State vs. Ha'anio, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled on so-called "all or nothing cases," stating that those situations are "...detrimental to the criminal justice system," and that trial courts must offer jurors the option of lesser offenses if there's "...a rational basis in the evidence, for a verdict acquitting the defendant of the charged offense and convicting the defendant of (a lesser) offense."

Paccaro said the alternative can lead to longer deliberations.

"That's just the process, because we have 12 people in the community who have to make a unanimous decision. They're instructed to keep an open mind, and wait for the court to instruct them on what the law is. If it's a hung jury, then the court will declare a mistrial, and the process starts all over again," said Paccaro.

If that happens, Paccaro said attorneys have the benefit and the burden of using transcripts from the previous trial.

Jurors must also keep in mind that attorneys play a part in how jury instructions are written, for example, how "self-defense" or "reasonable doubt" is defined.

That mean those definitions can change.

Deliberations resume Wednesday morning.


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