Jurors in a federal obstruction of justice case against an L.A. County sheriff's deputy are having trouble reaching a verdict, but the judge ordered them to keep trying.
At about 11:50 a.m. Wednesday, their second day of deliberations, U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson read a note from jurors saying they were unable to come to a unanimous agreement in the trial of James Sexton.
Defense attorney Thomas O'Brien asked Anderson to declare a mistrial "based on the fairly forceful note" from the jury.
But Anderson said the jury had not been deliberating long enough. The trial concluded Tuesday morning, with part of that afternoon used to read Sexton's grand jury testimony, at the jury's request.
Along with six other sheriff's officials, who are expected be tried later this week, Sexton is accused of obstructing a federal investigation into the county jails by hiding an inmate informant. The federal jail investigation has resulted in charges against 21 Sheriff's Department officials, with some accused of brutalizing inmates and jail visitors.
Bagged lunches were ready for the jurors, but Anderson suggested a different plan. He suggested they go out to lunch, then return to the courthouse and try to reach an agreement.
"We're going to take you out to lunch, so you can breathe a little fresh air and hopefully clear your minds. I'm going to ask that you continue your deliberations after lunch," Anderson said.