Karen Read wants two charges dismissed, says jurors were unanimous

Posted at 12:21 PM, July 8, 2024

DEDHAM, Mass. (Court TV) — 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.

Karen Read smiles with her attorneys outside of court.

Karen Read, right, smiles as defense attorney David Yannetti, left, speaks to reporters in front of Norfolk Superior Court, Monday, July 1, 2024, in Dedham, Mass. A judge declared a mistrial Monday after jurors deadlocked in the case of Read, who was accused of killing her Boston police officer boyfriend by striking him with her SUV and leaving him in a snowstorm. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

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.

RELATED | Karen Read defense: Fourth juror confirms not guilty verdict

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.

WATCH | Killer of Cover-Up Murder Trial: Evidence the Jury DIdn’t Hear or See

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.

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.

Suppose 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.”