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Judge denies new trial despite inclusion of ineligible juror

New Hampshire Union Leader

April 24. 2018 11:58PM

CONCORD — A federal judge rejected a convicted drug dealer’s bid for a new trial because a member of the jury was an out-of-state resident.

Alfredo Gonzalez, 51, was convicted last November of one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin.

Prosecutors had charged Gonzalez with having a role in an elaborate, two-state drug trafficking ring that resulted in federal charges brought against 13 individuals, including residents of the Dominican Republic.

But prior to his sentencing, Gonzalez’ lawyers sought a new trial after confirming one of his jurors, Jonathan Hatch, 27, was a resident of Boston.

U.S. District Judge Paul Barbadoro said prior to trial Hatch filled out jury questionnaires that should have rendered him ineligible to serve, but lawyers for both sides did not spot the problem or raise it in court.

“On the morning of jury selection, Hatch approached a member of the court’s jury staff and stated that he “kind of lives in New Hampshire and kind of not,”’ Barbadoro said.

Hatch grew up in Derry and moved to Boston in 2017 for a job in public education.

But Hatch continued to claim his sister’s condominium in Derry as his legal address, still had a valid New Hampshire driver’s license and was registered to vote in New Hampshire, Barbadoro said.

This discrepancy only came to the judge’s attention, Barbadoro said, after Hatch’s car was towed from his sister’s parking lot during the trial.

Hatch then asked court officials whether he could get reimbursed for those charges, the judge said.

“Based on Hatch’s answers to these questions, he should have been disqualified from jury service, but, for reasons that are not disclosed in the record, he was deemed qualified,” Barbadoro said.

In his ruling, Barbadoro said Gonzalez’ lawyers were late in making this request. These motions can only succeed if they are filed within two weeks of a conviction if “new evidence” is uncovered.

Failing to find new evidence, Baradoro said Gonzalez then had to prove Hatch was biased.

“Because Gonzalez cannot demonstrate that Hatch was biased against him, he is not entitled to a new trial based on his claim...,” Barbadoro wrote.

Gonzalez will be sentenced at a later date, according to federal court officials.

Courts Crime General News Concord

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