Luzerne county jury refusing to convict is definitely a victory!
Left: Duane Peters gives a thumbs up after a mistrial was declared Wednesday in the trial of three members of the ‘Dallas 6.’
Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
“A win is a win,” said Carrington Keys, adding that the men plan to continue fighting their charges “all the way.”
April 13th, 2016 at the Luzerne County Courthouse the jury could not come to a unanimous decision concerning the riot charges against Duane Peters, Andre Gay, and Carrington Keys.
The jury informed Luzerne County Judge Lesa S. Gelb that they could not come to a unanimous verdict after about 3½ hours of deliberations.
“We’re deadlocked,” the jury forewoman said.
For the past six years the men have been fighting felony charges of rioting after they each covered their cell window on April 29, 2010, in the restricted housing unit (solitary confinement) at SCI- Dallas. Guards in riot gear forcibly extracted the men from their cells after they were given orders to remove the coverings from their cell doors and they did not comply.
The Assistant District Attorney James McMonagle said in his closing statement, “The rule is you can’t cover your cell door.”
In defense of the men attorney Michael Wiseman argued that covering cell doors may be a violation of prison rules, but it was not a riot.
“It is absolutely obvious what their intent was,” Wiseman told jurors. “Their intent was to draw attention to their plight.”
Andre Jacobs, who represented himself during the trial, testified that the guards were extremely abusive after a report was published by the Human Rights Coalition on abuse at SCI-Dallas. Andre said in his closing argument the situation at SCI Dallas was “toxic,” which forced him to file multiple grievances and complaints against guards.
Andre said that he had covered his cell door at least five times in the past and had never received a cell extraction. “Considering it didn’t happen in those prior instances, you can conclude that wasn’t their policy and in this incident, that was what they wanted to do.”
Andre argued that he may have violated prison rules, but he didn’t commit a crime.
“I took an action on that day for my own safety,” he said.
McMonagle said he informed District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis of the result and will sit down with the DA in the near future to determine whether prosecutors will retry the case.