Judge denies Reagor’s request to interview jurors on “outside influence”
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A U.S. district judge has denied Bart Reagor’s request to interview the jurors who convicted him.
On Tuesday, Reagor’s attorneys filed a federal motion to conduct post-verdict interviews with the jurors in his trial, claiming, “Mr. Reagor’s case raises a serious question as to whether an outside influence was improperly brought to bear on this jury.”
US. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk denied the motion, saying there is “no evidence whatsoever” the jury was prejudiced by external influences or information.
“Here, Defendant offers nothing but speculation and conclusory supposition to facts that are common in jury trials... No jurors have come forward alleging misconduct by other jurors or outside persons,” Kacsmaryk writes in his denial.
Reagor was convicted on one count of making a false statement to a bank and acquitted of the two counts of bank fraud on Oct. 15. His defense team moved for a mistrial after the jury claimed it was deadlocked and no juror would reconsider their vote. The court denied the motion for a mistrial, instead giving the jury a modified Allen charge, encouraging the jury to continue deliberating until it reached a verdict.
Following the Allen charge, the jury reached a unanimous verdict. Reagor’s attorneys claim this is evidence the jury was coerced into returning the guilty verdict. Kacsmaryk writes that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over federal trials in Texas, has consistently held that Allen charges are not coercive to deadlocked juries.
Reagor’s attorneys also argue that if Reagor was guilty of lying to a bank, he would also be guilty of bank fraud. They claim the logic of returning a conviction on the first charge but an acquittal on the second “suggests the possibility of extraneous prejudicial information brought to the jury’s attention, or an outside influence improperly brought to bear on these jurors.”
Kacsmaryk refuted these claims and denied the motion, writing, “the Defendant failed to meet the requisite evidentiary threshold for post-verdict interviews of the jurors.”
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