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Jury Nullification

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Kevin Fagan reports in the SF Chron:

William Lynch never disputed that he had punched a retired Catholic priest in an old folks home in Los Gatos. He said the cleric raped him nearly four decades ago, that he had simply snapped when he demanded an admission of guilt. He didn't expect a jury to overlook the letter of the law and let him go.

But Thursday, in a verdict that drew gasps of astonishment in a San Jose courtroom, the jury said the 44-year-old Lynch was not guilty of felony assault and elder abuse in the 2010 attack on Jerold Lindner, 67.

The panel considered a lesser count of misdemeanor assault - one of the jurors said afterward that several felt compelled to find Lynch guilty of something - but even on that charge, it deadlocked 8-4 for conviction.

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