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Jury Reports Miami Police Case Stalemate

January 21, 1987|BARRY BEARAK | Times Staff Writer

MIAMI — After 10 days of deliberations, the jury in the so-called Miami River Cops Case advised the judge Tuesday that it was certain about some verdicts but sure it would never be sure about the others.

"Some we have agreed on unanimously and some we are definitely dead lock" the jury's note to the judge read. "Could part of the defendants be judge (sic), a hung jury?"

Though "dead lock" was underlined twice and at least parts of the complex police-corruption case seem headed for a mistrial, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp sent the jurors back for another try at harmony.

"Some jury at some time will have to decide this case. . . . " he lectured them. "I'm going to send you back to the jury room. If you conclude that you cannot make any more progress, then you should notify us."

Two More Hours

Several jurors rolled their eyes at the idea of spending more time mulling over a decision. Then they deliberated for two more hours before leaving for the hotel where they are sequestered.

"They're beginning to look like they've been in Vietnam," Marc Nurik, one of the defense attorneys, observed.

The jury is deciding the fate of seven current and former Miami policemen--Ricardo Aleman, Rodolfo Arias, Osvaldo Coello, Arturo de la Vega, Armando Estrada, Armando Garcia and Roman Rodriguez.

Racketeering Alleged

The young officers are charged with allegedly running a racketeering gang that stole from drug dealers along the Miami River instead of arresting them.

The trial is now in its fourth month, the jurors trying to undo a tangle of allegations that differ for each defendant. Coello, for instance, is charged with only three counts; Estrada, alleged to be the ringleader, is charged with 19.

Judge Ryskamp said he will accept any unanimous verdicts from the jurors, once they have "tried even harder" to agree on those verdicts in which they are split. Deliberations continue today.

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