LUBBOCK, Texas — After closing arguments Thursday, the jurors deciding the fate of Lubbock businessman Bart Reagor left without a verdict for the day.
When the court gavels in at 10:00 a.m. Friday morning, the jury will have as much time as the court allows to deliberate and come to a decision. The judge has final discretion on when their time has elapsed.
If the jury again fails to reach a conclusion, the judge could call a mistrial – that means the trial is over, the jury is released, and a new trial with a new jury will convene at a later date. Lubbock criminal defense attorney David Martinez said that is likely not the outcome for which either party is hoping.
“Both sides have worked real hard on this case,” he said. “If we have to have a retrial, then all that time will have been for naught. There’s not going to be any new evidence that is going to be presented [in another trial.]”
Martinez said his time trying criminal cases has led him to believe that long deliberations are often positive signs for the defense.
Unlike civil cases, criminal convictions require a jury to unanimously decide the defendant is guilty. One holdout in the panel of 12 jurors could be enough to acquit Reagor of his charges or trigger a mistrial.
“If the defense convinced one juror that Mr. Reagor had no intention of doing anything illegal, then that would be sufficient.”