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New Mexico decision provides guidance on jury deliberations

November 3, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme Court says a jury must first acquit a defendant of a criminal charge before reaching a verdict on a less serious offense.

The decision Thursday clarifies how juries are to deliberate in certain cases where jurors are deadlocked and unable to reach a verdict on a criminal charge.

The decision allows Kelson Lewis of Albuquerque to be retried on a felony child sex charge.

Battery was considered a lesser offense against Lewis included in the greater charge of criminal sexual contact with a minor.

A trial judge declared a mistrial in 2015 on the felony child sex crime, and Lewis appealed the judge’s decision to allow a new trial on the charge.

Lewis’ appeal argued that a retrial would violate the constitutional protection against double jeopardy.

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