In 'Rare' Move, Judge in Philando Castile Case Writes to Jurors

He says he supports them despite public outcry
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2017 5:04 PM CDT

(Newser) – Despite the uproar following the acquittal of the police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile, the judge in the trial supports the jury. In what the Minneapolis Star Tribune calls a "rare move," Judge William H. Leary III wrote a thank-you letter to jurors in the case to reassure them that they "faithfully fulfilled the difficult task you were asked to undertake." He clarified that he wasn't offering his opinion of Jeronimo Yanez's actions, just noting that the jurors' verdict "was fully supported by a fair interpretation of the evidence and the law you were obligated to apply." The June 23 letter was filed with the courts on June 28

Leary said that the public likely doesn't understand what the jury was asked to do, CBS Minnesota reports. He went on to break down all of the things prosecutors needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, and said that since they failed to do so, the jury returned a not guilty verdict. "You were never asked to decide whether racism continues to exist, whether certain members of our community are disproportionately affected by police tactics, or whether police training is ineffective," he wrote. "You were simply asked to determine, beyond a reasonable doubt, whether a crime had been committed." (Read more Philando Castile stories.)

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