Kent Hovind is one of the leading lights in the field of Young Earth Creationism, the notion that there is scientific evidence for a hyper-literal reading of the Book of Genesis. YEC implies that the world is roughly 6,000 years old and dinosaurs and humans must have co-existed. Nearing the end of a long sentence for tax related crimes, Hovind finds himself on trial this week for fraud, contempt of court and conspiracy related to filings on properties seized in connection with his first conviction. His co-defendant Paul John Hansen was the trustee of Creation Science Evangelism, Hovind's ministry. Hansen challenges the authority of the government in many areas, including the right to bring him to trial in the federal court in Pensacola.
The jury in the Kent Hovind and Paul John Hansen trial started deliberations early yesterday afternoon. After about six or seven hours they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict. The judge sent them home telling them to get a good night's sleep and be back at 9:00 AM.
According to Hovind supporter Rudy Davis, who stayed in the courtroom while the jury deliberated, the only question that came out from the jury was on the conspiracy charge. The question was whether in order to find them guilty they would have to find that Hovind and Hansen conspired together or if they each could have conspired with other individuals.
One of Rudy's team (I believe from the accent that it may have been retired NYPD officer George Lujack) was encouraged by the question. He noted that the easiest thing for the jury to convict on would be contempt of court.
According to my expert source on federal trials, if the deadlock continues Judge Rodgers will likely give what is called the Allen charge, which reads in part:
If a substantial majority of your number are in favor of a conviction, those of you who disagree should reconsider whether your doubt is a reasonable one since it appears to make no effective impression upon the minds of the others. On the other hand, if a majority or even a lesser number of you are in favor of an acquittal, the rest of you should ask yourselves again, and most thoughtfully, whether you should accept the weight and sufficiency of evidence which fails to convince your fellow jurors beyond a reasonable doubt.
Remember at all times that no juror is expected to give up an honest belief he or she may have as to the weight or effect of the evidence; but, after full deliberation and consideration of the evidence in the case, it is your duty to agree upon a verdict if you can do so.Here is Rudy's report.
Kent called and spoke with Erin Davis last night after he was brought back to the jail
Piecing together Rudy's report with that of Jonathan Schwartz, who did not stay in the court during jury deliberations, the closing statements of Hovind and Hansen's attorneys portrayed them as stubborn guys who got really bad legal advice but certainly were not knowingly breaking any laws.
Prosecutor Tiffany Eggars apparently focused on the notion that Hovind was being greedy.
Pensacola News Journal reporter Kevin Robinson was pulled from covering the trial, There was a tragic accident at Eglin Air Force Base as two Black Hawk helicopters crashed with the loss of 11 lives.