EXCLUSIVE: A former Ramsey police officer cleared of more serious charges in a child sex trial earlier this year asked a judge today for a new trial on his conviction of a lesser count.
Jeffrey Kimmel was to have been sentenced this past Friday. But Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Roma temporarily postponed the sentencing hearing while he decides on the former officer’s request.
Defense attorney Craig Swenson argued that jurors reached an “inconsistent verdict” in convicting Kimmel of impairing the morals of a 7-year-old girl after finding him not guilty of molesting her.
“The jury tells us, ‘We didn’t think this happened’,” Swenson told Roma this afternoon in Hackensack, adding that the testimony of the girl, who’s now 9, was inconsistent.
Roma noted that the state Supreme Court has ruled — on an appeal of one of his cases — that “it’s all right to have inconsistent verdicts.”
Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Demetra Maurice warned against “trying to insert ourselves into the deliberation process.”
“It’s a slippery and dangerous slope, and that’s why our Supreme Court doesn’t want us to do it,” Maurice said.
The prosecutor said sex crimes are emotional, and the jurors do their best to come to a well-thought out verdict.
“Maybe they decided to give him a break, cut him some slack,” she said. “We don’t know their reasoning, and that’s why it’s dangerous to second-guess it.”
Maurice also disagreed about the girls’ testimony, saying that she never wavered.
Roma said he will decide on Kimmel’s request for a new trial by Thursday.
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