Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Bell jury has been out nearly as long as corruption trial itself

 Former Bell Mayor Oscar Hernandez is one of six former council members tried for corruption. The jury has now been out nearly as long as the trial lasted.
The amount of time jurors in the Bell corruption case have spent behind closed doors is approaching the length of the criminal trial for the six former council members accused in the case.

Tuesday marks the 17th day of juror deliberations, and there has been no indication that a verdict is near.

The panel of seven women and five men is attempting to determine whether Luis Artiga, Victor Bello, George Cole, Oscar Hernandez, Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal misappropriated public funds by taking salaries of up to $100,000, paychecks that were beefed up by serving on city boards and authorities that rarely met.

FULL COVERAGE: Bell corruption trial

Handed the case Feb. 22, the jury appears to have struggled to determine whether the salaries, although excessive, were legal.

On Friday, jurors requested a read-back of testimony that appeared to show they were attempting to consider the defendants as individuals.

After the four-week trial, jury deliberations were slowed when a juror was dismissed for misconduct and the panel appeared deadlocked. An alternate juror was named, and since then the panel has had multiple questions and requested testimony read-backs.

Legal experts say the general rule of thumb when it comes to deliberations tends to be one day for every week of testimony. Anything longer, veteran defense attorney Paul Wallin said, is a strong sign of a hung jury or at least a deadlock on some counts.

Closing statements in the Bell trial began on the 19th day of testimony.


California school districts send out far fewer pink slips

$4 million in pot found on Santa Barbara County beach is probed

Lindsay Lohan's 'freedom and future' at stake, Michael Lohan says

-- Corina Knoll

Photo: Former Bell Mayor Oscar Hernandez is one of six former council members tried for corruption. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times


Comments () | Archives (0)


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: