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Sirens & Gavels

Zehm: No video allowed in jury room

Jurors are hearing instructions before closing arguments begin. Get minute-by-minute updates from the courtroom here.

When jurors began deliberations in the excessive force trial of Officer Karl Thompson, they won't be able to review the surveillance video of his fatal confrontation with Otto Zehm without first notifying the court.

Jurors are to review the video and any other electronic evidence such as photos in open court with prosecutors and defense lawyers present.

Jurors had requested a way to better view the video during deliberations. Defense lawyer Carl Oreskovich objected, saying this morning that he was worried about “someone controlling the flow of the information and doing it perhaps improperly” if jurors had free access to electronic playback equipment in the deliberation room.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Durkin said the technology requested was reasonable.

“I'm not going to call it the new age, because it's certainly not new. It's been around 15, 20 years,” Durkin said.  “We have a very intelligent jury panel” including man with PhD in chemistry and others with advanced degrees.

Durkin continued,  “For us to turn back to a time” and make jurors view evidence in court would “place a significant chill” on deliberations.

U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle said the request just wasn't fair or feasible, though he prefaced his ruling by saying, “I regard myself as a digital immigrant, but I have made every effort to progress.”

The surveillence video is available here.


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