Verdict in the Ryan Frederick Trial

As before, I will post John Wilburn’s account when it becomes available. Note that his post will be updated as more information becomes available this evening.

I heard from my son that a verdict had been reached as I was driving from work to the courthouse. I arrived too late to hear it, but John was there and we will hear from him later. The pre-sentencing arguments were in progress when I got there and the courtroom was locked. Sentencing is in the hands of the jury at this hour.

Frederick was found guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter, not guilty of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and guilty of possession of marijuana.  The sentencing range is from zero to ten years.

Our system of justice requires that we respect the decision of a jury, even if we disagree with it, and I will do just that. In observing this jury, I found them to be serious about their duty, to give the evidence and testimony their careful attention, and I am confident they carried out their duties responsibly.

There is no technical support for a finding of voluntary manslaughter. If they believed Frederick intenrionally killed a policeman, one of the murder verdicts would have been appropriate. If they did not,then either acquittal or, if they believed he acted in self defense, but without due care in doing so, the involuntary manslaughter verdict would have better fit that belief.So, I must believe this verdict to have been a compromise between the jurors.

In any case, it is a condemnation of the use of rushed forced entry in the execution of search warrants. It is also a condemnation of we citizens of Chesapeake and Virginia for not better limiting the mandate of our police in the use of force in our names.

The jury has done its job, and it is now our job to act in the political arena to place appropriate limits on the actions of our police in the obtaining and execution of search warrants and on our Commonwealth’s Attorneys in the drafting of charges and indictments so that citizens are not put in legal peril on charges which never had any support in fact.

As the passions of this case subside with its resolution, we must retain our interest and determination to make the changes necessary to ensure this does not happen again.

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