Stymied “Earth First”Jury To Finish Work Today
Almost a month after getting the case, an Oakland jury´s verdict is due today in a federal civil rights case brought by activists accused of bombing their own car. Yesterday federal Judge Claudia Wilken told the jury to return at 8:30 this morning to try and reach a verdict on remaining issues. If they can´t — she says she will announce by 1:30 this afternoon the verdicts the jury has already decided. She says today is the last day for deliberations. Darryl Cherney and the late Judi Bari were hurt when a bomb exploded in their car in May 1990. The two were arrested within hours of the blast, but the case fell apart when prosecutors decided they didn´t have enough evidence to take the case to trial.
Cherney and Bari´s estate are suing investigators for false arrest, illegal search, slander and conspiracy. The suit claims officials ignored evidence clearing the activists and lied to try to make their case. The jury got the case May seventeenth. The list of defendants was eventually narrowed down to seven former and current FBI agents and Oakland policemen. Jurors were asked to determine whether investigators violated the pair´s Fourth Amendment rights against false arrest and illegal searches. They also were asked to decide whether investigators violated their free speech rights by portraying them as suspects in the bombing.