2 jurors held in contempt for warehouse trial

Ghost Ship

OAKLAND (AP) – A judge in Alameda County has held two jurors in contempt of court after juror misconduct during the trial over a deadly warehouse fire.

The jurors were dismissed from the three-month-long trial in August after 10 days of deliberations against Derick Almena and Max Harris in August and alternates had to take their place.

Deliberations had to restart from scratch and the new panel eventually could not reach a verdict on Almena and acquitted Harris.

Alameda County Judge Trina Thompson never publicly detailed the misconduct, but Almena’s attorney, Tony Serra, said one of the jurors sought input on the case from a fire expert and then shared what she learned with two other jurors.

Thompson on Friday held the jurors in contempt.

Prosecutors say the two men filled a live-work artists’ warehouse with so much clutter that 36 partygoers died when a fast-moving fire broke out Dec. 2, 2016.

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