Yesterday, the stars aligned momentarily and a New York jury was able to get it together enough to convict former New York City police officer Michael Pena of three sexual assault-related charges. But today, they snapped out of it and announced to the judge that they simply could not agree on a verdict for the remaining rape charges, and the judge declared a mistrial.
First, the good news: yesterday's conviction of Pena on three counts of predatory sexual assault and criminal sex acts means that Pena can be sentenced to ten years to life in prison. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance promised in a press conference to show "no mercy" to Pena, which we can probably assume means he'll wear a scary mask or something while requesting the maximum sentence for the convicted sex criminal. Pena will also lose his pension.
And now, the bad news: the jury couldn't agree on a verdict for the more serious rape charges or two additional counts of predatory sexual assault, and so the presiding judge in the case declared a mistrial.
Last summer, a drunken Pena reportedly stopped a woman in New York City's Inwood neighborhood to ask her for directions, and then forced her into an alley at gunpoint and raping her. Pena admits to attacking the woman, but denies that he sexually assaulted her.
That the judge declared a mistrial on the remaining four counts doesn't mean that Pena's getting off free as a predatory rape-bird; he's still facing a life in prison for those charges about which the jury was able to agree. It's just a shame that, as The Atlantic Wire's Adam Martin points out, it's so tough for a jury to convict New York City police officers of rape. Even when they're practically begging for it.
New York juries don't like convicting cops of rape [Atlantic Wire]