Judge Dismisses Jurors Who Feared for Safety

March 23, 2005
BRIDGEPORT, Connecticut (AP)-- A federal judge dismissed jurors in a trial involving a suspected prison snitch and a reputed gang member after members said they feared for their safety.

Senior U.S. District Judge Warren W. Eginton discharged the six men and two women Tuesday and declared a mistrial in the case of Joseph Gibson III.

Gibson alleged in a lawsuit that prison officials failed to protect him from a reputed gang member who slashed his throat at Osborn Correctional Institution in Somers on September 16, 1999.

Gibson said he was attacked because he was suspected of being an informer and a friend owed a gang drug money.

Gibson said he has had a host of medical problems from the attack and is seeking monetary damages.

Joseph Merly, one of Gibson's lawyers, had Gibson show the scar to the jury this week.

"Something really spooked the jury," Merly said. "You know sometimes we forget how this must sound to lay people."

The jury's dismissal comes after the recent murders of a judge's husband and mother in Illinois, and a judge and courthouse staff members in Atlanta.