SPOKANE-- Spokane Police Officer Karl Thompson left the Spokane Federal Courthouse this morning just after a hearing regarding a motion his defense attorneys filed for Friday to interview jury members. The judge says he will wait until Thursday to make a decision on possible jury interviews.
A judge ruled Thompson to be released from custody until his sentencing date on January 27th, 2012 Monday afternoon, but he returned to court Tuesday morning regarding whether defense attorneys can interview members of the jury.
Thompson’s defense attorneys say jury members might have seen a television news ticker with information regarding the trial while in the breakfast area at their hotel. Defense attorneys say the jurors may have seen a ticker that descirbed Otto Zehm as a mentally ill janitor, which is information that was excluded from the trial.
A paralegal for Thompson’s defense says she watched the ticker say “Yakima jury deliberating Spokane police officers beating beath of mentally ill janitor.” In court documents, she says she recognized two of the jurors. Prosecutors say this is something the defense should have addressed during the trial.
Prosecutors say the ticker only read what Thompson’s charges were and how much time he faced, not information about Otto Zehm.
The judge says both sides need to present more information regarding if that actually occurred or not.
Last week, Karl Thompson was found guilty of using excessive force and lying to investigators after the 2006 beating of Otto Zehm.