Student jury deadlocked

Published 3:22 pm Sunday, May 4, 2008

By By Lisa Tindell – news editor
The 12-member jury made up of seniors from T.R. Miller and W.S. Neal High Schools found themselves deadlocked in a case heard Friday during Law Day activities at the Escambia County Courthouse.
More than 100 other seniors from the two schools sat in the courtroom as their peers were declared “fact finders” by presiding Judge Bradley Byrne.
In opening remarks, Bill Stokes, president of the Escambia County Bar Association explained the privilege the students were being given through the program.
Jurors were called to the jury box to hear a case against Donald Henry Odom who was charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance.
Jurors heard from Escambia County Assistant District Attorney Todd Sterns, who presented evidence connected with the charges against Odom.
Defense Attorney Jeremy Hawsey fought to maintain the innoncence of his client.
After nearly two hours of evidence had been presented, Judge Bradley Byrne charged the jury with their duties to reach a verdict in the case.
Jurors deliberated for just under an hour, before discovering a unanimous decision could not be reached.
Samuel Crosby, president of the Alabama State Bar Association, also addressed the students during Friday's program.
Crosby praised the Law Day program in Escambia County which is sponsored by the county's Bar Association members.
Byrne commended members of the court system in place for Escambia County in his address to the students.
Byrne further explained the role of the students for the case at hand.
The two-day county Law Day began Thursday with students from Flomaton High School, Escambia County High School and Escambia Academy in Atmore. The trial in the first day of the program also ended in a mistrial.
Michael Sadler of Atmore was charged with driving under the influence. Three of the 12 jurors could not agree with their classmates. Judge Bert Rice declared the mistrial in that case.