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In Saipov Capital Trial Jurors Decline to Impose Death Penalty For 8 Murders So Life in Prison

by Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Book Substack

SDNY COURTHOUSE, March 13 - Sayfullo Saipov after being found guilty on 28 counts now faces a penalty phase that may result in the death penalty for killing eight people with a van along the West Side Highway.

  On May 4, 2022 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Vernon S. Broderick held a conference on the case and Inner City Press live tweeted it here.

On January 26, Saipov was found guilty on all counts, after jury questions about whether he did it to join or advance himself in ISIS or not. That will be a major issues, along with any mitigation, in the penalty phase.

 But in the penalty phase, on March 9 for deliberations, Juror 4 did not come in, due to an undisclosed emergency with a relative (who may or may not be in law enforcement). Judge Broderick noted a Federal Defenders argument, which Inner City Press first wrote about on January 16, 2023. Inner City Press is preparing a booklet about the case. More on Substack here

On March 13, in the afternoon it ended - with no decision, therefore a decision not to execute. Booklet coming - for now, thread here:

OK- during death penalty deliberations on Saipov, after hours of radio silence from the jury, now prosecutors Houle & Richmond are at the front table, Saipov led in to the back.  S

aipov is dressed in red. Still waiting for Judge Broderick. Meanwhile, just docketed is this: "LETTER by USA as to Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov dated March 13, 2023 re: Pertinent Authorities for Any Allen Charge Document."

The defense objects to an Allen charge Judge Broderick takes to the bench. Judge: There is a note from the jury, that they are not able to reach a unanimous verdict. It is signed by Juror 1. I would like to hear from the parties about polling the jury --

FD Levine: We will now file a response to the US

 Judge Broderick leaves the bench to read the two sides' letter. Meanwhile, from the US' letter, a case where the judge responded "please continue your deliberations. Approximately 1 hour later, the jury returned a sentence of death. US v. Fields, 483 F. 3d 313."

Now at 2:38 pm with Judge Broderick off the bench reading the parties' Allen charge letters after a jury note that they could not reach unanimity, word comes that a verdict has been reached. Seems strange. Saipov still not back at his seat...

Update: Now Saipov *has* been brought back in by the US Marshals. He's at defense table, smoothing down his hair. Here comes Judge Broderick. Judge: Mr. Saipov, can you hear from the interpreter? Saipov: Yes. AUSA: We are proposing polling at this time...

AUSA: Each jurors should get a piece of paper which asks if they believe that further discussion could lead to a unanimous verdict. Judge Broderick: What about how long this jury has been out? AUSA: There have been a lot of mitigating and aggravating factors

 FD Patton: The US is using a state death penalty case from Louisiana, under the habeus standard. Here, your Honor instructed the jury, If you conclude you are unable to reach a unanimous decision, let me know by note. They did...

FD Patton: What is the point of polling? Whether its 11 to 1, or six to six, the court should not consider that.  AUSA Houle: There is also a Fifth Circuit case that acknowledges the benefits of polling. Judge Broderick: I consider how the charge was formulated

Judge Broderick: I am not going to poll the jury. I do not find it would violate Mr. Saipov's rights. But based on the instructions I gave them, they gave me the same language back. And nothing indicates that they are not fully satisfied.  [Phone rings.]

Judge Broderick: Each death penalty case that comes after this one, each Judge is going to have to make his or her decision on whether to poll. Okay. My intention would be to have the alternates come out, then the jury. I'll ask if they've completed the form.

Judge Broderick: Ms. Rodriguez, if you could have the alternate jurors to come up. I'll tell them they can bring their personal items up - any objection? Well, I'll have them keep their belonging downstairs. I'll tell the jurors they can now speak, if they wish...

Update: Judge Broderick has sent the jurors back to each sign the verdict sheet. The remaining alternate jurors are still in the courtroom. The defense lawyers are passing notes among themselves, with Saipov looking on.

Judge Broderick: The jurors have sent another note, that the verdict form as been completed. Judge: Please hand the verdict form to Ms. Rodriguez, please. [Judge Broderick, wearing white COVID mask, flips through the jury form.] Judge: I'm going to read the form

Judge Broderick: So you unanimously find Sayfullo Saipov was 18 years old? Yes is checked. Now Section II. Counts 1-8 and count 28 - we unanimously find that this factor has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt. 2, the same - unanimous finding of yes.

Judge Broderick: 3, you have checked yes, we unanimously find the factor has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt. 4, you have checked We unanimously find it has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Part B: any non unanimous? None, is written.

Judge Broderick: Now, statutory aggravating factors. Part A1, the deaths of Diego Enrique Angelini, Nicholas Cleves, Ann-Laure Decadt, Darren Drake, Ariel Erlij, Hernan Ferruchi, Hernan Diego Mendoza & Alejandro Damian Pagnucco - unanimously, it has been proved

 Judge: Again, Part B, any non-unanimous? None is written. Twice.

Now, non-statutory aggravating factors. 4(1), you have unanimously found. And 4(2), on Count 28, you have unanimously found. 4(3), the defendant did this to further ISIS - you have unanimously found Judge: 4(4), future violence - you have marked, We do NOT unanimously find this has been proved as to any of the capital counts.  [Not]

Judge Broderick: 4(5), you have unanimously found the intent to instill fear. And 4(6), lack of remorse, you have unanimously found. Now the mitigating factors.  Factor 1, would be incarcerated for life. 12 so find, as on H Unit at ADX Florence: 12

Judge Broderick: Also 12 each on mitigating factors 3 through 26. Mitigating factor 27, are there some who believe life imprisonment is appropriate? Number of jurors: seven. [Seven]

 Judge Broderick: On the rest of item 27, there are not factors filled out. Now Section 6, Determination of Sentence. Count One - "There is nothing checked off." [Nothing checked off - continues for all other counts]

Judge Broderick: Juror Number 1, does the special verdict form indicate your decision in this case? Yes, your Honor. So say Jurors 2-12.  Judge Broderick: The case is now concluded. You are free to discuss the case if you so choose.

Judge Broderick: Jurors, consider whether to discuss what happened in the jury room. You are now excused. I will come back and thank each of you.

The case is US v. Saipov, 17-cr-722 (Broderick)

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Saipov courtesy to Inner CIty Press by
                            Elizabeth Williams
Saipov, courtesy to Inner City Press by Elizabeth Williams


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