Saturday, June 16, 2018
News Roundup

Judge wants to know if Banton juror typed any of these 21 words

TAMPA — Pinkerton. Doctrine. Mark. Anthony. Myrie. Buju. Banton. Music. Reggae. Gun. Charge. Guilt. Verdict. Mistrial. Conspiracy. Cocaine. Narcotic. Drug. Possession. Hung. Jury.

A computer expert can snoop around the hard drive of a woman who helped convict reggae star Buju Banton of drug charges, but the expert must look only for footprints of those 21 search terms.

That's according to an order filed Friday by U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr., who is trying to sort out allegations that juror Terri Wright conducted improper research during the 2011 trial.

Banton was convicted of trying to set up a deal to buy 11 pounds of cocaine. He is serving a prison sentence of 10 years.

A South Florida newspaper, Miami New Times, reported that jury forewoman Wright admitted to doing independent Internet research during the trial, quoting her as saying, "I would get in the car, just write my notes down so I could remember, and I would come home and do the research."

Banton defense attorney Imhotep Alkebu-lan argued that such research would be grounds for a new trial.

Wright testified that the reporter misunderstood her, and that she did the research after the trial concluded.

Now, as a test of her credibility, Judge Moody says that defense computer forensics expert Larry Daniel can examine Wright's hard drive activity from Feb. 14, 2011, to March 8, 2011, a window that includes the trial and the two weeks that followed.

Banton's attorney had asked for a wider time frame; Wright's attorney sought a narrower one.

Moody said Daniel's review of the hard drive could also include a search for deleted data.

Staff writer Patty Ryan can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3382.

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