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Jurors so upset about case brought against 19-year-old that they will give the defendant their jury pay

Posted by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:14 PM
  • 16 Replies

By Patrick O'Donnell, The Plain Dealer

Published: Wednesday, February 09, 2011


CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Jurors are so convinced that a Cleveland teen should not have been charged with assaulting another teen that they've gone beyond acquitting him. A few are writing angry letters to police and intend to donate their jury pay to him.

At least three jurors plan to give the $100 they received to sit on the jury to defendant Demrick McCloud, 19, if McCloud earns a high school equivalency degree. They took only 30 minutes to find him not guilty in their deliberations Friday. The trial started Jan. 31.

"It won't be a lot of money," said juror Ana Boe. "It's just a little carrot that goes to his future."

McCloud was charged with leading a gang of teens that beat a Martin Luther King Jr. High School student and threatened him with a gun Oct. 13 a little after 1 p.m. as the student walked home from the Shaker Square rapid station. McCloud had been in jail since that night awaiting trial.

Jurors said the case against McCloud on charges of kidnapping and felonious assault quickly evaporated in the courtroom of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Michael Astrab.

Most of the jury could not be reached for comment, but three members complained of a "sheer lack of evidence."

They said the prosecution's case hinged on the victim identifying McCloud as an attacker. But the victim also had told police he was certain another boy -- later found to be in school at the time -- was one of the assailants.

As they were leaving the courthouse, jurors Ana de Freitas Boe, an English professor at Baldwin-Wallace College; Jeanne Knotek, an obstetrician and gynecologist; and alternate juror Richard Nagin discussed ways to help McCloud.

The three have committed to donating their jury stipend to a fund for McCloud. Boe said the amount is too small to compensate McCloud for his jail time, but the jurors intend it as a "show of support."

"He seemed like a decent kid who was falsely accused," Nagin said.

Boe said she will mail letters today to Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath and Fourth District Commander Deon McCaulley about the lack of a thorough investigation. Other jurors said they also will write to the police.

McCloud's mother, Sonia, was startled to hear of the jurors' plan.

"That's awesome that they would consider taking it further than the job they were assigned to do" she said, adding that her son intends to resume his education.

Like the jurors, she accused police of not investigating the case fully. She praised her son's lawyer, Kevin Spellacy.

Cleveland police Sgt. Sammy Morris said he would not comment on the complaints until he receives Boe's letters.

Last November, The Plain Dealer reported that Cuyahoga County Prosecutor William Mason had pursued criminal charges against hundreds of people over the last 10 years with little or no evidence against them.

Some judges have thrown out cases using Rule 29 of the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure. The rule allows judges to acquit a defendant if they believe the evidence is insufficient to convict.

Ryan Miday, spokesman for Mason, would not address specific juror complaints, but said in a written statement, "Our victim was steadfast in his positive ID of McCloud, whom he recognized as someone he knew from the neighborhood, as one of the six or seven males who assaulted him. The defendant maintained that he was not involved. The case went to trial."

Astrab's staff said the judge would not comment on the case.

Knotek said nine out of 12 jurors voted at the start of deliberations that they did not believe an attack occurred. Knotek said she was "quite surprised" at the holes in the prosecution's case.

Jurors also complained of a lack of medical record of injuries from the attack, no testimony of a search for the gun or verification the victim had been let out of school early as he testified.

They questioned why the attacking teens did not take the victim's cell phone, iPod or money and said the victim could not identify the exact location where the attack took place, even though it would have happened in sight of his house.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: paodonnell@plaind.com, 216-999-4818


http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2011/02/jurors_so_upset_about_case_bro.html

by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:14 PM
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Replies (1-10):
aneela
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:15 PM

Wow I have never really come across a story like this...that they were so moved to do that for this kid as a show of support.

usmclife58
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:23 PM

That is really sad that he had to go through jail, but I am glad the truth came out. And that is awesome of the jurors to give that money to him.

I hope they look into that prosecutor.

aneela
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:23 PM

Yep..seems like some fishy stuff going on...

Quoting usmclife58:

That is really sad that he had to go through jail, but I am glad the truth came out. And that is awesome of the jurors to give that money to him.

I hope they look into that prosecutor.


CoeyG
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 10:48 PM

This couldn't happen in California, you're not paid for jury duty in California. 

Johariz
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 11:38 PM
Yes you are. 15 bucks a day. At least in the county my dad lives in.

Quoting CoeyG:

This couldn't happen in California, you're not paid for jury duty in California. 

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
CoeyG
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 11:52 PM


Quoting Johariz:

Yes you are. 15 bucks a day. At least in the county my dad lives in.

Quoting CoeyG:

This couldn't happen in California, you're not paid for jury duty in California. 

I wasn't given any and the instructions even stated that they were not obligated to pay anything and that they didn't offer a lunch stipend either.  If the county decided to pay jurors that might be another thing altogether.  I know Sacramento county doesn't because that's where I was juror as...and to top it off after sitting for two days waiting to be chosen thne being chosen, after getting into the court room and after hearing the opening statements then having the judge recess we find out that during the recess the defendant decided to plead guilty!  They didn't even pay for parking! 

momto1girl3boys
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 11:56 PM
My mil got her juror stipend in Cali too. It isn't much but it is something I guess.

Quoting Johariz:

Yes you are. 15 bucks a day. At least in the county my dad lives in.



Quoting CoeyG:

This couldn't happen in California, you're not paid for jury duty in California. 

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
momto1girl3boys
by on Feb. 9, 2011 at 11:57 PM
That is terrible!

Quoting CoeyG:


Quoting Johariz:

Yes you are. 15 bucks a day. At least in the county my dad lives in.



Quoting CoeyG:

This couldn't happen in California, you're not paid for jury duty in California. 

I wasn't given any and the instructions even stated that they were not obligated to pay anything and that they didn't offer a lunch stipend either.  If the county decided to pay jurors that might be another thing altogether.  I know Sacramento county doesn't because that's where I was juror as...and to top it off after sitting for two days waiting to be chosen thne being chosen, after getting into the court room and after hearing the opening statements then having the judge recess we find out that during the recess the defendant decided to plead guilty!  They didn't even pay for parking! 

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
mamawmom
by on Feb. 10, 2011 at 12:44 AM

Could have ruined that kids life.

CoeyG
by on Feb. 10, 2011 at 1:00 AM

Anyway, I think what they did was a good thing.  I find the discrepancies in the laws these days sometimes ridiculous.  For the worst crimes they want to slap the kid on the hands and give him/her "community service" but for a good kid who messes up a little and is caught they want to throw the book at them. 

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