Karina Vetrano was attacked and murdered by Chanel Lewis while jogging in Queens in 2016. The judge sided with prosecutors saying there was juror misconduct. What happens next?
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Judge Denies Motion on Juror Misconduct in Jogger Case
April 24th, 2019
Bill Spadea: Chanel Lewis, the man convicted of killing Queens jogger Karina Vetrano in 2016 will be sentenced tomorrow as a judge ruled today. Sided with Prosecutors despite objections from the defense saying there was juror misconduct. To break this down, let’s bring in our A plus panelists and former Prosecutor and now defense attorney Bob Bianchi. Bob, what does this all mean?
Robert Bianchi: Man, you hate this. As a prosecutor, I’ve been involved in this scenario a couple of times. It’s not common, but when there’s juror misconduct, the court has to determine whether or not the violation of the court’s instructions, one, occurred. And two, if it did occur, whether or not it should warrant a mistrial and a retrial of the case, I think that the judge pretty much said, you know what? I’m not going to agree with the defense, we’re going to go forward with the sentencing. It creates an appellate issue for the defendant. Let the appeals court handle it.
Bill Spadea: Does this make the appeals stronger for the convicted killer?
Robert Bianchi: Yeah. And you know, listen, it should. Juror instructions are very important, and the allegation here is that the jurors did not wait to the end of the case. At least one juror in particular was trying to influence people before all the evidence was in and people were bringing extraneous experiences in their lives to the case. I’m not really concerned about that so much, but nevertheless, if they’re not listening to the judge’s instructions, it implicates the possibility that the defendant didn’t receive a fair trial. Though in the end, since there was DNA evidence and there was a confession, it’s likely in appellate court will look at it and say, the evidence was overwhelming and that was reason for the verdict, not the misconduct.
Bill Spadea: All right. Thank you Bob. Of course. We’ll be following this for you tomorrow on Chasing News and bring you the latest as the sentencing will be handed down.