Mistrial Blamed on One Juror

Ben Schmitt, Detroit Free Press, February 18, 2010

Sam Riddle has escaped conviction for now.

And, according to several jurors who spoke out angrily on the steps of the federal courthouse in Detroit after a mistrial was declared Wednesday in Riddle’s public corruption trial, he has only one juror to thank–Angela Woods of Auburn Hills.

About a half-dozen of the 12-member panel lobbed extraordinary public accusations of racism against Woods, the sole African American on the jury, saying that she hijacked the process by being combative and confrontational, often refusing to review evidence and discuss possible verdicts.

“We tried for five days. We were civil. If you tried to say anything, she would lash out at you,” juror Margaret Elyakin of Ann Arbor said. “If you can’t find this man guilty, you can’t find anyone guilty. Unfortunately, it came down to race.”

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{snip} U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said Wednesday that her office plans to retry Riddle.

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