Jury deadlocked on 2 counts against Nucera; judge declares mistrial

David Madden
October 11, 2019 - 11:18 am
Frank Nucera

David Madden/KYW Newsradio


UPDATED: 2:50 p.m.

CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — A mistrial has been declared in the federal hate crime trial of former Bordentown Police Chief Frank Nucera, after jurors could not come to a verdict on the two most serious counts in the case. All signs point to a retrial on those charges. 

The U.S. attorney has a month to tell Judge Robert Kugler officially, but a spokesman says they will go a second round against Nucera. In their eighth day of deliberations, the panel was split over a hate crime charge and a civil rights violation stemming from the 2016 arrest of a handcuffed black teenager. Nucera was accused of slamming the teen’s head into a door jamb. 

Defense attorney Rocco Cipparone was hoping there wouldn't be a retrial, but if there is, he said the government's case is lacking.

"There were a lot of weaknesses that did exist and still exist in the government's case," he said, "even more so now that given that I've had the opportunity to cross-examine the government's key witnesses. They've remained inconsistent with each other, with themselves. There's a substantial lack of corroboration."

The jury earlier agreed on a single count, convicting 62-year-old Nucera of lying to the FBI. Sentencing on that is set for early February. Nucera could get up to five years in prison.

Any retrial won't come until the new year, at the earliest.

"I’m glad that the jury at a minimum was deadlocked on the two most serious counts," Cipparone added. "There’s ample reasonable doubt but for now we’re happy with a mistrial. I think that’s in some sense a victory for the defense. It shows after talking about this for eight days certainly a number of the jurors still had a reasonable doubt."