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Officer William G. Porter trial recap: Day 12

On day 12 of Officer William Porter's trial, jurors were deadlocked - but Judge Barry Williams sent them back to continue deliberating. They wrapped for the day at 5:30 and will resume Wednesday morning.

» Police officers from neighboring jurisdictions began staging in Baltimore in preparation for unrest that local commanders hope never materializes.

» On Tuesday morning, Williams denied a motion by Officer William Porter's defense for a mistrial and change of venue based on a letter sent Monday by Baltimore City Schools CEO Gregory Thornton to parents.

» The defense asked that jurors be questioned whether they received the letter. Williams also denied that request.

» Thornton's letter was submitted as evidence by the defense.

» The jury sent several notes to the court Tuesday asking for water, sticky notes and for the clerk's list of exhibits in the case. Williams said the water and note paper would be provided, but that the exhibits list was not part of evidence and would not be provided.

» The jury also asked for and were provided speakers for a computer they were given to watch and listen to evidence in the case. On Monday, they were denied transcripts of radio tapes from the day of Gray's arrest and of a recorded statement Porter provided to police investigators in the days following.

Legal analysis:

That Williams instructed the jury to return to their deliberations and try to break their deadlock was not surprising. Such a move is required before a judge can declare a mistrial, legal experts said.

A judge can declare a mistrial only if a jury insists that it cannot reach a verdict.

A jury must be unanimous in order to reach a verdict on any charge. The jury could reach verdicts on some of the charges but remain deadlocked on others. A conviction or acquittal on one of the charges would stand regardless of whether a mistrial was declared on other charges.

If a mistrial is declared, it would be up to prosecutors to decide whether to put Porter on trial again. In making that decision, prosecutors must weigh their chances of securing a conviction in a subsequent trial.

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