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Allegations of jury misconduct are not grounds to retry six men convicted of carrying out a string of brazen bank heists in the D.C. area, a federal judge ruled last week. Citing potential juror malfeasance, defense attorneys filed a motion seeking a new trial for their clients, who were found guilty in July 2005. The defense team learned of the possible misconduct when a member of the jury contacted them to report “things that were peculiar.” Specifically, the juror claimed two of his fellow jurors had visited crime scenes and discussed what they had seen during deliberations, while several others had remained in contact with a juror who was dismissed for making inappropriate comments about the defendants’ guilt early on in the trial. But Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly was not convinced, stating in her Feb. 1 opinion that the defense was resorting to “extremely tenuous claims.” The judge also refused to conduct a further evidentiary hearing by recalling and questioning all jurors, calling such a hearing “a baseless fishing expedition into an unfounded pond.” Defense attorney Joanne Hepworth, who represented the gang’s alleged leader, Miguel Morrow, says her client plans to appeal the judge’s ruling on the new trial motion, as well as many other aspects of the trial. The defendants each face a minimum of 30 years in prison.
Sarah Kelley can be contacted at [email protected].

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