Karen Read

How long before a mistrial could be declared in the Karen Read trial?

NBC10 Boston's legal experts shared their thoughts on the ongoing deliberations during Thursday's episode of "Canton Confidential"

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As the Karen Read deliberations stretch into their fourth day, more people are wondering if the case could end in a hung jury, and if so, how long it could be before the judge steps in and a mistrial is declared?

Prosecutors say Read struck John O’Keefe, her Boston police officer boyfriend, with her SUV and then left the scene in January 2022, leaving him unconscious in the snow after a night of bar hopping. Read’s lawyers argue that she was framed. 



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"Clearly, they're saying they're at loggerheads," Boston defense attorney Douglas Louison said Friday. "The message is they have not been able to reach a verdict, which is slightly different than 'We are hopelessly deadlocked,' which is really the standard for the judge to declare a mistrial due to a hung jury."

The jury in the Karen Read trial told Judge Beverly Cannone Friday it was having trouble reaching a consensus.

Louison says a hung jury would be considered a victory for Read.

"Not getting a guilty verdict is a win when you're playing defense in a criminal case," he said.

On the flip side, it would be a blow for prosecutors.

"Their only goal is to get a conviction, and if they finish without a conviction, there's no way you can spin that as a win," he said. "They didn't lose, but they didn't win."

NBC10 Boston's legal experts shared their thoughts on the ongoing deliberations during Thursday's episode of "Canton Confidential."

A third day of deliberations has drawn to a close, and the world is waiting to see whether Karen Read will be found guilty of the charges against her.

One viewer asked if Judge Beverly Cannone could use an Allen charge, also known as a "dynamite charge," if the jury remains deadlocked, where she issues further instruction to encourage those in the minority to reconsider their position.

"Absolutely," said Morjieta Derisier, a criminal defense attorney with Baystate Law Group. "Judges want to encourage juries to come through with a verdict because they've worked so hard, been in chambers many many weeks -- especially this particular case. So I have seen and heard where the judge will encourage them to go back and see if one more time they can come back with a unanimous vote. I'm not sure if that will happen this time. Only time will tell."

But if the jury is ultimately unable to reach a verdict and remains deadlocked, how long could it be before Cannone declares a mistrial?

Jurors have gone home for the weekend after failing to reach a unanimous decision on the charges against Karen Read.

"There's not a hard and fast rule as far as time limit before the judge declares a mistrial," said Katherine Loftus, a Boston attorney with Loftus & Loftus PC. "What happens, basically, they would come back and say, 'We're at an impasse' and go back and deliberate some more. If they still can't come to an agreement, the judge will inquire of everybody and essentially declare a mistrial. It'll be interesting to see."

One factor, she said, is the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, which could interrupt deliberations.

"They probably would only go until Wednesday, have Thursday-Friday off and come the next week. If so, you have to get the impasse to the judge, have the jury instruction that says go back, you're the best people in the world, so make the decision, and if they can't, you're probably coming up on two weeks before she declares a mistrial."

With jury deliberations in the murder trial against Karen Read extending into another week, the many people who have gathered outside Norfolk Superior Court want a resolution.

She said that timeframe would be similar to the murder trial of Emanuel Lopes, where there was a ruling right around the 2-week mark. Lopes was charged in the killings of Weymouth Police Sgt. Michael Chesna and 77-year-old Vera Adams in 2018. Cannone presided over that trial and declared a mistrial before Lopes was ultimately found guilty following his second trial earlier this year.

Regardless, Derisier said it looks like jurors will be deliberating into next week at an absolute minimum.

"They're really taking their time," she said. "I would not be surprised if we're here Tuesday."

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