Friday, April 28, 2006


Arcelia Lopez, a juror who voted to convict Hamid Hayat on terrorism charges, now says she did not agree with the verdict and only voted for conviction because she was coerced by other jurors.

I don't know if it matters what she says now, but she has lots to say about what happened in the jury room during deliberations. From the Sacramento Bee: (reg req)

"I cried several times during deliberations," Lopez says in the affidavit. "My health and physical well-being were being affected by the pressure from the other jurors to change my vote.

"I was emotional during the reading of the verdict and when the jury was polled I responded to the court that I agreed with the verdict," Lopez says in the affidavit submitted to U.S. District Court Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr.

"In fact, I did not. I never believed Hamid Hayat was guilty. My fellow jurors knew it, and as a result of changing my vote, a unanimous verdict was reached. I deeply regret my decision."

She continues with these allegations about jury foreman, Mr. Cote:

Lopez, a Sacramento nurse, says in the affidavit that, on more than one occasion, she saw Cote gesture as if he was tying a rope around his neck and pulling it tight and then say, "Hang him," in reference to Hayat.

"Mr. Cote continued to make this gesture many times throughout the trial inside the jury room while communicating with fellow jurors," Lopez says.

She said Cote, a military veteran and retired salesman from Folsom, was "being openly unfair about his position in discussion with fellow jurors."

The jury foreman countered with this:

"The woman's delusional," Cote said in a telephone interview late Thursday. "I don't recall doing anything like that," he said of the hanging gesture. "It would be highly inappropriate."

Read the Sacramento Bee story here.

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