March 30, 2017

The first trial ended with a jury deadlocked 8-1 in favor of the family of a man who was shot dead by a Palm Beach County sheriff's sergeant.

The retrial, or do-over, of the civil suit filed by the parents of Seth Adams against Sgt. Michael Custer and the Sheriff's Office is tentatively scheduled to start Oct. 10, a judge decided Thursday.

A lone juror on the nine-member panel in the first trial sided with Custer and the Sheriff’s Office. That juror was Lisa Niemi Swayze, the widow of actor Patrick Swayze, according to several people familiar with the trial.

With no out-of-court settlement in sight, a new jury is expected to decide if Custer was justified in shooting and killing the unarmed man nearly five years ago. Adams, 24, was shot in the parking lot of a Loxahatchee Groves nursery owned by his family. Adams lived and worked on the property.

While the monthlong trial is expected to focus on the same evidence and witnesses, there may be one key difference.

The trial judge suggested Thursday that both sides may want to consider using a smaller jury panel — of seven or eight jurors — next time around.

Civil cases in federal court generally require a minimum of six jurors to deliberate and there are no alternate jurors, Senior U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley said.

The full article can be read here.