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Poff trial not so cut and dried, juror says

I read an article regarding Bradley Poff and how his case never made it to trial. Well, I was one of the jurors that sat on his trial for a day and half. On the first day we could not come to a decision and had to return the second day to finish. The next morning we we're still in deadlock (9-3) and the trial was deemed a mistrial, so I'm not quite sure why you reported the trial never happened. I also can't quite understand how someone with Mr. Poff's background could get such a minor slap on the wrist when his record indicates a repeat offender. To my understanding, no one was seriously injured in the crash. Hopefully no one will be the next time either.

— Michael A., via e-mail

Cold, hard court records on the computer screen can suck the drama right out of a case. Electronic records for Jackson County Circuit Court showed a pretrial hearing, a trial date set and a guilty plea entered on five charges under two case numbers. Even a court official we first checked with thought the string of screens showed that Poff, 30, had entered a plea rather than go to trial. (That's usually what happens, after all.)

But you and the other 11 jurors were really there, doing your civic duty, so you know it was actually much more complicated than that. Prosecutor Jeremy Markiewicz said jurors sat through a daylong trial on Poff's unauthorized use of a vehicle and deliberated Jan. 22, then returned the next day to continue deliberations, but couldn't reach agreement. A hung jury mistrial was declared, then Poff pleaded guilty, rather than face another trial.

As part of that plea deal, Poff was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 18 months' probation, Markiewicz said.

The rest of the details we got from the court records were correct. He must pay restitution and undergo counseling and drug treatment, and his driver's license is suspended for one year. Poff has been in jail since Dec. 1, so with credit for time served and for good behavior, he is set to be released from jail May 5, Jackson County Jail records show.

His co-defendant Ted Bishop Jensen, 25, is set to go to trial March 19 on charges related to the stolen car.

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