BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Bridgeport Police Chief AJ Perez believes that gang members may be intimidating jury members in order to secure not guilty verdicts in criminal cases, according to the Connecticut Post.
Perez based his opinion on the fact that four members of the Green Boyz gang have been found not guilty in recent trials, three of whom were on trial for murder and one who was on trial for attempted murder, the Connecticut Post reported. He believes that the cases against the defendants were solid, but that jurors were intimidated by gang members sitting in the gallery during trials and staring at the jury, he told the Connecticut Post.
Both Superior Court Judge Robert Devlin and State's Attorney John Smriga told the Connecticut Post that they don't believe that juror intimidation is taking place. No jurors in the cases have filed complaints about intimidation, the Connecticut Post added.
Perez told the Connecticut Post that the not guilty verdicts have real-world consequences, and that he has called on the U.S. Attorney's Office to take over prosecution of gang-related cases.
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