Jacksonville jury cannot come to agreement in trial for accused dice game killer

January 28, 2013

After two days of deliberations, a Jacksonville jury said it was hopelessly deadlocked and unable to reach a decision on whether a 21-year-old Jacksonville man was guilty of first-degree murder as the state alleged. That led the judge to declare a mistrial and now a second trial awaits Reginald Renard Battle, accused of shooting Eric Michael Burney in the back of the head after robbing him during a dice game in July 2010, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union.

Police said Battle and two other men were at a park one evening when a group of men were playing a dice game, the newspaper reported. Battle testified at the trial that he left the park before the shooting, and surveillance cameras do show his truck leaving the area, the newspaper reported. But police argued he let one of his friends borrow the truck and Battle stayed behind at the park. Both of the friends have pleaded guilty in this Jacksonville Gun Crimes Case - one to second-degree murder, the other to accessory after fact - and both testified against Battle.

Battle's Duval County criminal attorney argued the men were lying to try to avoid life in prison. Because Battle is charged with first-degree murder, he faces mandatory life in prison if convicted. In jury trials in the state of Florida, decisions must be unanimous. Now that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of discussion and convincing that goes on behind closed doors in the jury room. That's what deliberation is all about. However, it takes every single juror to agree with the decision for it to stand up. In most cases, the criminal defense attorneys on the losing side will ask to have the jury polled, which means every member of the jury will be asked, under oath, if the announced verdict was indeed their verdict.

In this Jacksonville Gun case involving Battle, jurors spent two days deliberating and then told the judge they would not be able to reach a verdict. The judge then declared a mistrial. A mistrial essentially means both sides need to start over. A new jury will be picked and a whole new trial in Jacksonville will be conducted. A mistrial can also be declared during a trial if one side or the other makes a procedural error. For example, if the judge rules prior to the trial that a police interview will not be allowed in as evidence and the state brings it up anyway - intentionally or not - the Jacksonville defense will almost certainly move for a mistrial and the judge will then decide whether to grant it.

A second trial can have its pluses and minuses. On one hand, attorneys can fine-tune their cases and possibly eliminate some things that might not have worked. On the other hand, you've already shown your cards, so the other side already knows what is coming. In some cases, a mistrial will bring the two sides closer together in negotiations and an agreement can be worked out, but the state has been clear in various media reports that it intends to try Battle again in this Jacksonville Violent Crimes Case.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a Free Consultation. Our Duval County Gun Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.