Senser attorney seeks new trial in hit-and-run case

1:11 PM, May 18, 2012   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - The attorney for Amy Senser has filed an appeal seeking a new trial.

In a motion filed Friday, Senser's defense attorney Eric Nelson cites insufficient evidence that Senser had knowledge the accident involved damage to her vehicle as well as insufficient evidence that she failed to notify police after the accident. Senser was convicted of two felony counts of criminal vehicular homicide for her role in a fatal hit-and-run accident on August 23, 2011, that killed 38-year-old Anousone Phanthavong.

Part of the motion cites interviews jurors did with KARE 11 and the Star Tribune in the days after the verdict was read. An excerpt from the 35-page motion reads as follows:

"During the beginning of jury deliberations, the jury asked the Court a question regarding the time frame for Ms. Senser to have the actual knowledge of killing or injuring a person. The Court's response to that question, which the Defense believes to be an accurate summation of the law as previously discussed, is that the driver's knowledge of death or bodily injury must be obtained at the time of the accident or immediately thereafter. Prior and subsequent to the reading of the verdict, members of the jury have on numerous occasions explicitly stated that there was insufficient evidence to find that Ms. Senser had actual knowledge that she struck and killed a person... When a KARE 11 reporter asked juror Anthony Sather if he though Ms. Senser knew she hit somebody, Mr. Sather responded, 'I couldn't tell you. I mean, it's, it was borderline, the vidence from the Defense and the prosecutor; you could have gone either way.'"

Nelson also asked for a new trial for his client, saying abuses of discretion prevented Senser from a fair trial, because of errors at law at trial, because "verdicts of guilty have been been made that are not justified by the evidence and are contrary to law," and in the interest of justice. Nelson cited separate interviews juror Jameson Larson gave to KARE 11 and KSTP-TV.

KARE 11 was subpoenaed by Nelson's office for video of the interviews reporter Allen Costantini conducted in the days after the verdict was read.

Nelson also asked for a hearing to determine whether Judge Daniel Mabley committed misconduct after he received a note from the jurors moments before the verdict was read but did not tell attorneys. The note read, "Can this be read in the court room in front of Ms. Senser? We believe, she believed she hit a car or a vehicle and not a person."

Senser remains free until she is scheduled to be sentenced on July 9.

(Copyright 2012 KARE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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