Federal District Court Judge John H. Chun granted a defense motion asking for a mistrial Thursday, November 16, 2023 for the Dwight Henline arson trial. Henline was charged with four counts of arson related to the April 6, 2022 fire that devastated one block in downtown Friday Harbor. Four buildings containing several businesses were destroyed.
Photo by Chris Teren
The trial began October 30, 2023 in Seattle in the United States District Court Western Division.
On November 14, the jury asked the following question. "May the court produce an elevation map of downtown Friday Harbor for the jurors to review?"
The answer was no.
There were also questions about several exhibits. The time stamps could be toggled on and off and the brightness could be adjusted. However the computer provided exhibits to the jury that did not have those options. The time stamps were toggled off and the brightness was not adjustable.
On the 13th day of the trial, after deliberating for more than two days, the jury sent the following message to the court.
"We have listened to the views of our fellow jurors with an open mind; we have reexamined our views.
"We unanimously agree, some jurors would have to change their honest belief about the weight and effect of the evidence simply to reach a unanimous verdict."
The defense requested a mistrial. The Judge granted the request, declared a mistrial and dismisssed the jury. According to the court records, the Counsel will confer regarding a new trial date.
Here is information from Courtlistener.com:
Day 11 held on 11/14/2023 as to Dwight Christianson Henline. Counsel present closing arguments. At 11:00 a.m., the jury commences deliberations. After inspection by counsel, all admitted exhibits are provided to the jury. At 1:15 p.m., the jury submits a written question. The Court and counsel discuss the jury question. At 1:36 p.m., the Court responds in writing. Jury deliberations to resume on Wednesday, 11/15/2023 at 9:00 AM before Judge John H. Chun. Defendant remanded to custody.
Day 12 held on 11/15/2023 as to Dwight Christianson Henline. At 9:00 a.m., the jury resumes deliberations. The Court and counsel discuss an issue regarding exhibits 250-252, 257, 258, 259, 273, 274. After discussing with counsel, the Court sends a note to the jury at 10:20 a.m. Jury deliberations to resume on Thursday, 11/16/2023 at 9:00 AM before Judge John H. Chun. Defendant remanded to custody
JURY TRIAL - Day 13 held on 11/16/2023 as to Dwight Christianson Henline. At 9:06 a.m., the jury resumes deliberations. At 9:31 a.m., the jury submits a question. After discussing the question with counsel, the jury is brought into the courtroom and the Court responds to the question in open court. At 2:20 p.m., the Court and counsel discuss the status of deliberations. At 2:30 p.m., the jury submits a question. The Court responds to the jury's question in open court. Outside the presence of the jury, defense counsel makes an oral motion for a mistrial. As stated on the record, the Court GRANTS the motion and declares a mistrial. Counsel will confer regarding a new trial date. The jury reenters the courtroom and is thanked and excused. Defendant remanded to custody.
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