Karen Read's defense says jury agreed to acquit her of murder before mistrial was declared

Read's attorneys filed a motion to dismiss two of three charges after the jury allegedly unanimously agreed she was not guilty of second-degree murder and leaving the scene of a fatal crash.
Karen Read
Posted at 12:18 PM, Jul 08, 2024

A bombshell new filing from Karen Read's defense team claims that the jury had unanimously agreed to acquit her of two of the most serious charges she faced before a mistrial was declared.

Read was charged with second-degree murder, motor vehicle manslaughter while driving under the influence and leaving the scene of a collision causing injury or death, and stood trial for more than a month. The jury deliberated for more than 24 hours over five days before Judge Beverly Cannone declared a mistrial on July 1. On Monday, Read's attorneys filed a motion to dismiss two of the three charges.

In the motion, reviewed by Court TV, attorneys Alan Jackson and David Yanneti say that before telling the judge they were deadlocked, the jury had unanimously voted to acquit Read on two charges, including second-degree murder. According to the motion, the attorneys "began receiving unsolicited communications from three of the twelve deliberating jurors indicating in no uncertain terms that the jury had a firm 12-0 agreement that Ms. Read was not guilty of two of the three charges against her, including the charge of murder in the second degree." The jury also allegedly agreed to find Read not guilty of leaving the scene of a fatal crash.

When Judge Cannone declared the mistrial, there was no public polling of the jury, so no court record exists that would indicate whether the jury had, in fact, unanimously agreed on any charges.

Related: Hung jury leads to mistrial in Karen Read's high-profile murder trial

One of the issues raised in the motion is that after receiving a note from the jury on July 1 saying the jury was unable to reach a verdict, the court declared a mistrial "without providing any opportunity for defense counsel to be heard" and that the judge failed to ask the jury whether it was deadlocked on one, two or all three of the charges in the indictment. The defense motion argues that Read cannot face retrial for the two charges on which the jury would have found her innocent, saying that she is protected by the double jeopardy clause in the U.S. Constitution that prohibits anyone from being prosecuted twice for the same crime after a verdict is reached.

If the judge is unwilling to dismiss the two charges against Read, in that case, the motion alternatively asks for the court to "conduct a voir dire of the jury and/or an evidentiary hearing to substantiate the existence of an acquittal."

This story was originally published by Lauren Silver at Court TV.