1st day of LASD jail brutality case ends after 5 jurors step forward with undisclosed information

EMBED </>More Videos

Five jurors stepped forward with previously undisclosed information on the first day of trial for deputies Joey Aguiar and Mariano Ramirez on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016.

It's either just a wrinkle in the federal prosecutor's jail brutality case against two deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department or it's spiraling into a mistrial.

On Wednesday - the first full day of testimony - the witnesses, the defendants and the jury all were sent home early in the trial of Joey Aguiar and Mariano Ramirez.

Aguiar and Ramirez are accused of conspiring to beat Brett Phillips, an inmate, then falsifying reports and, with others at the jail, engaging in a cover-up, prosecutors allege.

A time out was called after a succession of jurors, five of them, stepped forward to tell the judge information they had not disclosed during jury selection.

"Where we are now is really a judge and prosecutor's worst nightmare," said former U.S. attorney Miriam Krinsky said.

The first fallout began before opening statements on Tuesday. An alternate juror with mental health issues was dismissed after telling the court she heard voices and couldn't focus.

On Wednesday, the judge excused a second juror, a young woman, who said her sympathies weighed in favor of the deputies because her father was a retired New York probation officer.

"It would be hard to wipe that personal connection out of my mind. I feel honestly more biased today than I was yesterday," she said after speaking to her father Tuesday night.

A third juror who expressed fear of making a wrong decision was allowed to proceed. So was one who disclosed that her brother had been jailed twice.

But the fifth juror, a financial manager, had concerns that derailed the day. With the stock market plunging, his clients clamoring, his attention to the testimony of an FBI agent on the stand was "not 100 percent," he said.

"You cannot lose more than one more juror. We can go to 11 and in unusual cases a judge can allow 11 jurors to deliberate, but you cannot go below that," explained Krinsky.

The judge's decision was to give the financial manager a chance to remedy his job responsibilities and have a co-worker handle his client.

He was ordered to return on Thursday with the hope that he can give the case his undivided attention.

"If you keep jurors who shouldn't deliberate, the conviction may need to be overturned. But if you dismiss more than one more, you may have to start the trial over again," Krinsky said.
Related Topics:
hometrialcourtlos angeles county sheriff's departmentpolice brutalityLos AngelesLos Angeles County
(Copyright ©2018 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)