YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Convicted Killer of Polly Klaas Seeks New Trial

September 26, 1996| From Associated Press

SAN JOSE — Attorneys for the man condemned by a jury to die for killing Polly Klaas sought a new trial based on alleged jury misconduct as a judge prepared to pass formal sentence today.

The allegations stem from two incidents described in a first-person account written by the jury foreman after the trial of Richard Allen Davis. At issue are a juror's reported threat to change sides at one point as well as the foreman's decision to read a note from a friend to the panel.

Defense attorney Barry Collins did not return a telephone call Wednesday.

But prosecutor Greg Jacobs said he does not believe there was misconduct. He pointed out that the contents of the note, as quoted by the foreman, merely commended the panel's efforts.

"Obviously when the juror said he read a note from a friend that's going to attract some inquiry but beyond that--what the juror did, the foreman did, was basically repeat to the jury what the judge has already told them and what they already know from their own civics class," Jacobs said.

Davis, 42, was convicted June 18 of killing 12-year-old Polly after kidnapping her from a slumber party in her bedroom on Oct. 1, 1993. Jurors found the "special circumstances" of kidnapping, burglary, robbery and attempted lewd act on a child. On Aug. 5 the jury brought back a verdict of death.

The first-person account by foreman Brian Bianco was published in the San Jose Mercury News on Aug. 11.

Bianco said that during punishment deliberations, he read jurors a note from a friend commending the jurors for doing "much to restore faith, confidence and integrity in the jury system."

He also said that during guilt deliberations, a juror frustrated by an impasse on the special circumstance of robbery threatened to change his or her vote on the lewd act charge.

The bid for a new trial is expected to be argued this morning. If Judge Thomas Hastings decides against it, sentencing would proceed.

Los Angeles Times Articles