香港六和开奖历史记录

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"Not guilty."

That was the verdict read aloud to聽Bridgette Digerolamo, the former Broadmoor Elementary School teacher who was caught on video bashing a car with a baseball bat and brandishing a gun聽at its occupants on a flooded street near her home.

Digerolamo had already watched the jury find her guilty once,聽only for the judge to reverse the verdict on procedural grounds and send jurors back to continue deliberations, court records show. But now the trial had been declared over, the courtroom cleared out, and she was set free.

It didn't last long.

Thirteen minutes after the acquittal, Judge Eboni Johnson Rose聽summoned Digerolamo and her attorneys back to the courtroom, records show. She told them she'd talked to jury members, who said they had not intended to fully acquit her 鈥 only to reduce the severity of the charges from felonies to misdemeanors.聽

So the verdict changed: guilty.

In the ensuing legal battle, a聽separate judge heard defense objections and declared a mistrial, a ruling upheld by an appeals court earlier this month. That means Judge Johnson Rose, for now, has to hear the whole case over again.聽

Messy proceedings

The February 2023 trial arose from an altercation that was widely circulated聽on social media. A car was driving through a flooded street when Digerolamo emerged from her house, struck the vehicle with a baseball bat, then returned with a gun and threatened the car's occupants, prosecutors said.聽

鈥淭urn the f*** around, you鈥檙e causing my house to flood,鈥 she yelled as the occupants passed her house in Shenandoah subdivision, authorities said.

One of the people in the car filmed the incident with a cellphone, and the video went viral.聽

At trial, each of the victims testified and prosecutors played the cellphone footage.

After the jury deliberated for more than an hour, a court clerk read out the initial verdict: not guilty of felony aggravated assault counts, which carry up to 10 years in prison 鈥 but guilty instead of three misdemeanor aggravated assault counts, punishable by up to six months.

However, defense attorneys asked Johnson Rose to have jurors fill out poll slips to make sure the verdict had been unanimous, as required by state law. It wasn't, so the judge ordered the jury to return to deliberations.聽

Jurors voiced some confusion over how to fill out the forms.

鈥淎re we supposed to write out simply 鈥榞uilty鈥 or 鈥榥ot guilty鈥 for each count, or are we supposed to write 鈥榞uilty of ______鈥 with the option we believe she is guilty or not of?鈥 a juror asked Johnson Rose, trial transcripts show.

鈥淵ou are to write out what you believe the accused is guilty of,鈥 she instructed them.

The jurors emerged again seven minutes聽later, but Johnson Rose noticed discrepancies on the form. On the cover sheet, the jurors found Digerolamo guilty of the lesser misdemeanor charges. But on attached pages for each of the individual counts, they simply found her not guilty for the felony aggravated assault with a firearm.

Johnson Rose reminded jury members that their decision must be unanimous and told them to fix their errors so all pages of the verdict form matched.

About 10 minutes later, the jury came back with a verdict form that indicated Digerolamo was not guilty of the three felony counts, and a court clerk read that verdict aloud. Johnson Rose thanked the jurors for their service and excused them to the jury deliberation room. She then ended the trial and released Digerolamo.聽

It wasn鈥檛 until she met again with the jurors shortly afterwards to talk about the confusion on the forms that Johnson Rose realized they didn鈥檛 intend to entirely acquit Digerolamo, the court record says. She summoned everyone back to the courtroom and read the verdict convicting Digerolamo of the misdemeanor aggravated assault charges, court records show.

She denied defense attorney Franz Borghardt's immediate request for a mistrial.

Johnson Rose could not be reached for comment.

'Untying a Gordian knot'

Digerolamo challenged the ruling. Her attorneys argued that the final verdict was improper because Johnson Rose had consulted with jurors outside the normal bounds of the trial.

鈥淓ven if the judge discovered that acquittal was not the intended verdict of the jury, once a valid verdict is read into the record, there was no procedural avenue for the judge to correct that mistake,鈥 defense attorney Kathryn Jakuback Burke wrote. 鈥淭his is even more true when the judge discovers these intentions through an ex-parte meeting with the jury after a verdict has been reached, out of presence of counsel and the defendant.鈥

The only procedurally valid verdict, the defense argued, was the one that found Digerolamo聽not guilty of any charges, so that's the one that should be enforced.聽

Johnson Rose recused herself from hearing the motion, so fellow district judge Louise Hines Myers handled it instead. In a Dec. 5 ruling, said none of the verdicts were valid. She declared a mistrial and ordered that Digerolamo be tried again in Johnson Rose's courtroom.

In her order, Hines Myers said Johnson Rose never confirmed the "not guilty" verdict with the jurors. She also described the format of the verdict sheets as 鈥渃onfusing at best, and certainly subject to several logical or illogical interpretations.鈥澛

Hines Myers said the jury had not technically been dismissed when Johnson Rose talked to them after the third verdict,聽citing case law that says jurors must be physically separated from the court to be 鈥渢ruly discharged.鈥 But she did question what Johnson Rose said to the jurors during the debriefing and whether it may have affected the verdict.

鈥淚f the jury had been truly discharged, then the 鈥榝ourth purported verdict鈥 is invalid; if not truly discharged, then there is the problem of the judge鈥檚 conversation with them and the issue of what was said and in what order," Louise Hines wrote. "There is no way for this court to determine these things and, more importantly, no way to determine how the comments affected the jury鈥檚 deliberations. Ultimately, it seems the only way to untie this Gordian knot is by granting a mistrial.鈥

Earlier this month, the state First Circuit Court of Appeal upheld Hines Myers' decision.

鈥淭here is no indication in the record that the jury confirmed the verdicts were, in fact, their verdicts,鈥 Judge Allison Penzato wrote of the "not guilty" verdicts in a concurring opinion. 鈥淔urther, there was no polling of the jury in any manner. Finally, the clerk was never ordered to record the not guilty verdicts.鈥

No new trial date has been set.

Email Matt Bruce at matt.bruce@theadvocate.com or follow him on Twitter, @Matt_BruceDBNJ.

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