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Judge uses pep talks, comedy to keep battling jury on track

State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. tried everything from pep talks to jokes to try to produce a complete verdict from the jury in the trial of Jordan R. Patterson, a Lockport man who faced a 21-count indictment accusing him of raping four teenage girls.

The jury began deliberating on Sept. 19 over the complex list of charges.

The jury worked quietly, asking few questions, on Wednesday and Thursday. About noon Friday, the jury sent in a note that they had agreed on a verdict on 11 charges but were deadlocked on the other 10.

Defense attorney Robert R. Fogg advised the judge to take the partial verdict. Niagara County Assistant District Attorney Robert A. Zucco said he wanted the jury to keep working. Kloch sided with the prosecutor and read the jury the "Allen charge," which tells a deadlocked jury how well qualified they are and encourages them to keep trying.

But two hours later, two jurors sent in notes complaining about "bullying" by other jurors. Kloch took immediate action. He called the jury in and gave them a pep talk, telling them that serving on a jury is the second greatest public service any American citizen can render, behind only military service. He also told them to be civil.

A few minutes later came a note: "We have agreed to be civil."

But Friday ended with no complete verdict. Kloch sent the jury home for the weekend, providing them with some viewing suggestions.

" 'Mary Poppins,' " he said. " 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.' Wonderful movie. There are also movies you should not watch. Do not watch 'The NeverEnding Story.' And do not watch '12 Angry Men.' "

The judge also jokingly directed the jurors not to watch the Bills-Vikings game because the alternate jurors had been dismissed. "I don't want anyone being suicidal," Kloch said.

Most of the jurors left with smiles on their faces.

Like most people, Kloch did not see the Bills' 27-6 upset victory coming.

On Monday morning, the fourth day of deliberations, Kloch told the jury, "Why did they win? Because they worked as a team. If they can win, you can get a verdict. Go get a verdict."

But it was all for naught. No further counts were settled. At the end of the day Monday, Kloch took the partial verdict – guilty on 11 counts – and declared a mistrial on the other 10 charges.

But he tried.

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