Mehserle murder trial deliberations underway


Former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle is charged in the shooting death of passenger Oscar Grant on New Year's Day 2009. There were no new questions asked by the jury Thursday. Wednesday's question was actually asked by the "old jury." The panel was reconstructed yesterday. The case went to the original jury on Friday afternoon but those deliberations had to be restarted yesterday when a juror had to be replaced. There are now eight women and four men on the panel and they will be deciding Johannes Mehserle's fate. Yesterday, the Judge Robert Perry revealed that the original jury sent him a note Friday afternoon asking whether or not Mehserle could have been provoked by someone other than Oscar Grant when he shot Grant in the back. "Provocation" is part of one legal theory that could lead to a manslaughter conviction. Both the judge and ABC7 legal expert Dean Johnson cautioned against reading too much into the question. Still, it provides some insight into what the jury is considering behind closed doors. "It's always dangerous to infer a lot from a jury question, but I think we can tell some things about this question," Johnson says. "First of all, this jury is moving very fast even though they've had a very short time to deliberate, they are down to the substance of this case. Secondly, the jury is very smart. The question they asked is an enormously sophisticated question. I doubt that 90 percent of all practicing criminal lawyers would have a ready answer to this question. So, it shows they're really thinking about the case and thinking about the legal issues." On and off throughout the trial there have been small demonstrations outside the courthouse in Los Angeles. On Thursday morning, there was a small group outside holding a banner that read, "We are all Oscar Grant. Justice now." The jury was slated to get their regularly scheduled lunch break from noon to 1:30 p.m. If they stick to the normal court schedule, they would will deliberate until around 4 p.m. Officials have said the there at least one hours notice will be given if the jury reaches a verdict.

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