Judge tells deadlocked jury to keep deliberating - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Judge tells deadlocked jury to keep deliberating

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On the third day of deliberations in the civil trial against Palm Beach County Sheriff's office Sgt. Michael Custer a jury said it was deadlocked on two issues and couldn't reach a verdict.

On Wednesday, the judge read them what's called an Allen charge, and told the panel it has to go back into deliberations and find for the plaintiff or the defendant.

Seth Adams was shot and killed by deputy Michael Custer in May of 2012, outside of his family’s nursery in Loxahatchee.


The jury has to decide whether Custer was responsible for losing his cellphone, and if he did so in bad faith.  At 10:50 a.m., the jury said they had reached a verdict on the cellphone charge.

Minutes later the jury came back and said they had not reached a verdict on the cellphone charge.

They also said they could not reach a verdict on whether Custer used excessive force.

Two jurors are leaving South Florida on Monday.

The judge instructed the jury to go back into deliberations. He told them this was an important case that took time, effort, money, emotional strain and if they fail to reach a verdict the case remains open.

The judge said it's unclear if this case was tried again it would be argued any better or more exhaustively then it was before.

The judge reminded the jury that they must not give up honest beliefs but if a majority is for one party, those holding out must consider if there views are reasonable.

He told the jury to carefully re-examine and re-consider all the evidence. 

The Adams family sued the deputy in federal court, claiming Custer used unjustified and excessive force.

Custer, who said he was working an unrelated undercover surveillance operation in the area at the time, has always maintained that Adams was hostile and aggressive and that he only shot Adams when he feared Adams was reaching for a gun. 

The Adams family is asking for between $10 million and $20 million in their lawsuit.

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