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Judge Refuses to Drop Case Against Morse

September 20, 2003|Anna Gorman | Times Staff Writer

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has denied a defense request to dismiss the criminal case against former Inglewood Police Officer Jeremy Morse, whose trial this summer ended in a deadlocked jury.

Judge William Hollingsworth Jr. ruled Friday that Morse, 25, can be retried on a felony charge of assault under the color of authority. Morse was videotaped slamming Donovan Jackson, 16, against a car in July 2002.

His trial ended last month in a mistrial after jurors failed to arrive at a verdict. They had voted 7 to 5 in favor of conviction. Jurors said later that they doubted whether any jury could reach a conclusion in the case. The same jury acquitted Morse's former partner, Bijan Darvish, 26, of filing a false police report.

Within days, prosecutors announced that they would retry the case against Morse, who was fired from the Inglewood Police Department after the incident.

Morse's attorney, John Barnett, argued in a written motion that there was not enough evidence for a new jury to convict the former officer and urged the judge to dismiss the case.

"This is a highly charged political case, and it will be very difficult to get 12 people to agree," Barnett said outside court.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael Pettersen, however, told the judge during the brief hearing that he believed a reasonable jury would conclude that Morse's conduct was unlawful. A new trial date was set for Oct. 22.

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