Yesterday, a jury again deadlocked on the "Seas of David" trial, a case involving seven Haitian-American in Miami who were accused of plotting to bomb the Chicago Sears Tower. As I wrote in a piece for Mother Jones a few months ago, there wasn't a lot of evidence against these guys. The case instead relied heavily on a pushy and well-paid informant who seems to have come quite close to engaging in a bit of time-honored entrapment.
When a jury first deliberated on the case last fall, it deadlocked then too and a mistrial was declared. A whole new trial ensued, with a whole new jury, and it shouldn't be a surprise that that jury deadlocked too. That because, while the evidence in the case might have been thin, the laws these men were charged with violating--the so-called material-support provisions--are darn expansive. As I wrote:
After deliberating for nine days last December, the jury acquitted one man who'd separated himself from the group and moved to Atlanta. But it deadlocked on the others, and a mistrial was declared. A new trial is scheduled for this spring. Until then the six men are in prison, and they and their lawyers are under a gag order. (The same applies to the acquitted man, Lyglenson Lemorin, who's in detention awaiting possible deportation to Haiti even though he's lived here legally for nearly 20 years. Citing privacy laws, the government will not explain why he is being kicked out.)
"I think it may hang again," juror Delorise Thompkins told the Miami Herald. "You're going to find someone always afraid of terrorist groups, but then when you see the evidence, there's not a lot there—no plans, no papers, no pictures, no nothing connecting them to Osama bin Laden." The jury's ambivalence is understandable. The plots were little more than talk encouraged by informants; the central evidence in the case—the taped oath—was a staged fbi production. But then, whether the men were a threat or the plot real doesn't matter when it comes to the charge of material support.