Error in Verdict : In This Trial, Juror Is Guilty

Associated Press

A judge granted a mistrial after jurors unanimously agreed that a defendant was guilty of drunk driving, but the foreman mistakenly wrote down "not guilty" on the verdict slip.

Judge Ann Gibbons of Hampshire District Court set a second trial for April 11 for Richard L. Powers Jr., 31, of Westhampton.

The foreman, Karen L. Borowski of Northampton, had inadvertently marked "not guilty" instead of "guilty" on the slip she handed Friday to the judge. After the jurors were polled, the court learned they had reached a guilty verdict.

"It was an honest mistake. It was an unfortunate mistake. She just checked the wrong box," juror Robert R. Nelson said.

Assistant Dist. Atty. John Shea argued that it was a clerical error but Powers' attorney, William St. James, argued that the verdict slip controls the decision and requested the mistrial.

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