Loughry juror’s social media is questioned, but no new trial

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Former Justice Allen Loughry has been denied his second motion for another trial.

U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver issued an order on Friday afternoon.┬áCopenhaver denied Loughy’s other motion for another trial on Jan. 11.

Loughry is scheduled for sentencing next week on 10 federal counts.

This motion, which has been sealed, contended Loughry’s Sixth Amendment right relating to his prosecution was violated.┬áCopenhaver’s order says an unnamed juror’s conduct was questioned.

Because of unusual media attention on Loughry, the court had been taking special care to empanel an impartial jury.

Of the 12 jurors and three alternates, two had said they were aware of the controversy surrounding Loughry through the media or earlier legislative impeachment proceedings.

Judge Copenhaver made regular warnings to jurors to stay off social media or traditional media during the trial.

A social media account of one of those was brought into question during the trial.

“On Oct. 23, 2018, the defendant’s counsel, John Carr, was approached by an individual on the street who instructed him to look at the Twitter account of Juror A,” Copenhaver’s order stated.

“Defense counsel did so and found what was thought by defendant to be potentially troublesome activity from Juror A’s Twitter account.”

The juror had, in the months prior to the trial, ‘liked’ some tweets relating to Loughry’s troubles.

Loughry’s lawyer then expressed concern that the juror had accessed social media during the trial.

Copenhaver concluded that evidence wasn’t enough to demonstrate bias, though. The juror had earlier pledged to be able to remain open-minded about the evidence.

“Indeed, there is no evidence or allegation that Juror A posted anything related to the case during that time,” Copenhaver wrote.

“Although Juror A follows a number of West Virginia elected officials and members of the media — including Kennie Bass of WCHS-TV and Brad McElhinny of West Virginia MetroNews, who reported on the evidence admitted at trial — there is no evidence that Juror A was exposed to any content related to the case.”

The judge also concluded that Loughry’s defense had failed to prove the juror was biased.

“Even assuming that Juror A was aware of some of the facts and issues involved in the case at the start of trial, and even assuming Juror A had a notion that the defendant was guilty of something, there is simply no evidence that Juror A was not capable and willing to set that aside and decide the case solely on the evidence presented,” Copenhaver wrote.

Loughry (Text)

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