Why Jasiel Correia Judge Shocked Fall River and Overturned the Jury’s Decision
I'm far from a legal scholar. All I know about the law is what I've seen on TV shows and movies. I've never spent a day in a courtroom, or an hour inside a law school. It's hard not to raise your eyebrows, however, when you hear about how Judge Douglas Woodlock stepped in and overturned some of a jury's decision during the sentencing of convicted former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia.
Correia had been convicted on 21 charges in May ranging from wire fraud to tax evasion, but Judge Woodlock said he's likely going to throw out eight of those convictions.
I had no idea that was even a thing. I have never heard of anything like this before. Judges can just wave a magic wand and poof, it's like a guilty verdict never happened. Who knew? Even though the jury disagrees, the guilt just disappears, evaporated from existence.
Former New Bedford defense attorney and current WBSM talk show host Marcus Ferro provided an explanation as to what happened in that Boston courtroom yesterday.
Marcus Ferro Explains the Jasiel Correia Decision
"It's incredibly rare, but it's called a judgement notwithstanding the verdict," Ferro said. "It's when a judge can overturn a jury's verdict if he/she feels that the verdict cannot reasonably be supported by the evidence."
How Could a Jury Be Wrong?
There are a few things that could go wrong. Jury nullification is one issue, Ferro said, "if the evidence is overwhelming in one direction and the jury just doesn't feel like this person should be convicted."
"Juries can be wrong all the time," Ferro said.
Ferro brought up examples from either side of the ball, one where a jury may have mistakenly let a guilty person walk free, and another where an innocent person may have been convicted.
"People often point to the case of O.J. Simpson or Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter, when someone got convicted wrongfully, to say that juries probably came to the wrong decision," he said.
How Rare Is This a Judge Overturning a Jury's Decision?
Incredibly rare. Ferro said he's never seen that happen in all the trials he was a part of in Third District Court in New Bedford.
It's important to understand, he said, that Correia will certainly remain guilty with respect to his dealings of demanding and accepting bribes from marijuana companies looking to open up their business in Fall River.
"The government should just cut their bait and run," Ferro said. "They got what they wanted. He'll be serving prison time."