- By Jane Musgrave Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
A federal judge has rejected Boynton Beach police Sgt. Philip Antico’s request to interview a juror who claimed she was bullied into convicting him of obstruction of justice in connection with his role in a 2014 beating.
Claims by juror Devin Andersen Treadway are insufficient to warrant an investigation into possible juror misconduct, U.S. District Court Robin Rosenberg wrote in an order signed Thursday.
In turning down Antico’s request, Rosenberg cited similar allegations that were rejected by a higher court. In that case, a juror claimed “other jurors overwhelmingly bullied (her) into focusing on only the (government’s) evidence … and used their age and occupational eliteness as swaying tactics during deliberations,” Rosenberg wrote.
In response to that appeal, the Atlanta-based U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled “the juror’s letter describes nothing more than typical features of jury deliberations.”
Attorney Gregg Lerman voiced disappointment that Rosenberg rejected Treadway’s claims. Two months after Antico’s Nov. 17 conviction, Treadway filed an affidavit saying that other jurors told her she was young and had a crush on Antico to pressure her into voting to convict Antico of lying to FBI agents, who were investigating the beating of an unarmed 19-year-old, Jeffrey Braswell.
“Apparently the jury room is the last bastion of tolerated bullying and harassment without the fear of being called upon to answer for one’s misconduct despite its effect on somebody’s life and liberty,” Lerman said in a statement. “The concept that the jury room is impenetrable is antiquated and counter to seeking true justice.”
An investigation could have led to Rosenberg throwing out Antico’s conviction.
After jurors told Rosenberg they were hopeless deadlocked on two of three charges that Antico faced, she told them the trial had been “expensive in time, effort, money, and emotional strain.” A day later, the jury convicted Antico of obstruction of justice and acquitted him of two counts of obstruction of justice.
Treadway, a 31-year-old teacher, said Rosenberg’s words weighed heavily on her and other jurors. Treadway also said other jurors wanted to punish Antico for the behavior of the other officers. They weren’t aware that a week earlier, a separate jury had convicted Officer Michael Brown in connection with the beating and acquitted two other officers.
Antico wasn’t at the Lake Worth scene when Brown and other officers kicked and punched Braswell and two others who were in a car that hit a Boynton Beach cop and fled on Interstate 95 in 2014. Antico was the supervisor on duty at Boynton Beach police headquarters.
In initial reports, officers made little mention of the beatings. After Antico learned a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office helicopter had captured the officers’ actions on video, the reports were changed. But in an interview with FBI agents, Antico denied there were any lapses in the initial reports.
An all-day hearing to decide what punishment Antico and Brown will receive is scheduled for Feb. 13. Both face possible three-year prison terms.