BOSTON (CBS) — The state Supreme Court has thrown out the convictions of a man accused of beating another man to death–all because the judge failed to question two jurors who fell asleep during the proceedings.
Anthony Villalobos was one of seven men found guilty in the death of 22-year-old Jose Alicea, who was beaten to death outside a nightclub in 2009.
Villalobos was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and assault and battery, but those convictions were overthrown Thursday and a new trial was ordered because the judge did not question the jurors who fell asleep.
The judge in the case was told by the prosecution that one juror fell asleep several times; the next day, another juror was sound asleep. The judge never questioned either one.
The court writes, “The judge’s response leaves us with serious doubt the defendant received a fair trial, to which he is constitutionally entitled.”
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports