Retrial of Thomas Chantry Underway

By | April 25, 2019

The retrial of convicted felon, Thomas Chantry got underway Tuesday. I arrived in Camp Verde yesterday and plan on being in attendance for the entire trial. I hope to once again provide daily updates.

Chantry is charged with four counts of sexual molestation of a child while he was the pastor of Miller Valley Baptist Church in Prescott Arizona. The four counts involve one victim and allegedly took place in 1995 and 1996.  These counts were tried in the first trial and resulted in a mistrial due to a hung jury.

I have been in court both days, the time has been spent selecting the jury. While there are some interesting and educational things one sees in the process of selecting a jury, for the most part it is rather slow-moving and dull. Even so, I recommend everyone observe the full process once in their life. I sat through the entire process for the first Chantry trial; the jury selection process has proceeded in much the same manner in this trial and I must admit I have not been in the courtroom for every minute.

To date the only outside observers have been Chantry’s wife, Karen, his sister, Judy Rogers, and I. Opening statements will be tomorrow morning and I would guess there will be more observers in attendance.

One lighthearted moment occurred this morning when Judge Astrowsky was questioning a potential juror who had responded affirmatively to his question of if they had read anything about the case prior to the start of the trial. (Many had read this article in their local paper.) When the judge asked the potential juror where he had read it, he responded, “in my house in Cottonwood.” I laughed to myself and immediately thought of this scene from the movie Phenomena.

That may well be the last lighthearted moment I will witness in this trial. Child molestation is a deeply emotional, somber subject and starting tomorrow things get very serious.

Today when I wasn’t in the courtroom I was sifting through official court documents for the case and came across a shocking revelation. Below is a copy of what I read. It appears that one corrupt juror in Chantry’s first trial has cost the Arizona taxpayers a huge amount of money. He has also, in my opinion, denied, or at least delayed justice from occurring in the Chantry case.

Rogue Juror in Thomas Chan… by on Scribd

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Elizabeth

Wow! Just think, it took a pervert to save Tom Chantry. It’s reassuring to know that the State is taking his misconduct seriously. Since he was so sympathetic toward Chantry, perhaps they’ll be cellmates someday.

The sealed ARBCA documents the juror refers to in his letter, are those the sealed reports from the team that ARBCA sent to investigate?

Thanks very much for covering this again for us, Todd. Your style of writing is fresh and engaging and I look forward to each of your reports.

I recently sat on a jury regarding a criminal case. The instructions regarding juror conduct, during the jury selection process, were made very clear to me and others. We all took an oath to follow the procedures, while they was gradually explained, as soon as everyone was in the court room, as I recall.

Ultimately, if you don’t feel you can judge a case impartially for any reason, you need to ask to be excused from jury duty.

I and the other thirteen people (twelve voting jurors and one alternate juror) selected for the jury, voluntarily took an additional sworn oath to be as impartial as possible, per the judge’s instructions.

The judge also indicated that the basic rules jurors are expected to follow, also called the admonishments, are long-standing and apply to all jurors.

In other words, they don’t seem to change depending on what state you reside in.

If you disobey the admonishments, you can face serious legal penalities. That was also made very clear.

Based on my experience being selected and serving as a juror, I think that the relevant “rogue” juror in Tom Chantry’s case knowingly violated the law and egregiously lied under oath.

He didn’t just misunderstanding the rules, in other words.

That is unfortunate. Hopefully, all the jurors selected in the retrial have integrity.

Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Dee Holmes

I sat on a federal jury for a civil case 18 months ago. I was being questioned during voir dire and said, “Are you sure you want a former lawyer on the jury? Judge Bolton basically made me promise I would listen to only her instructions if I was selected. And yeah, I was selected. I honored my promise. I was surprised to learn afterwards that we had decided differently than some other juries hearing similar cases.

That’s interesting. My case was criminal, and the attorneys only seemed concerned about how potential jurors might view the credibility of police officers.

I know this subject is controversial, yet I see no reason why lawyers can’t be jurors.

Some people think that other jurors will defer to a lawyer. At least four of the jurors on my jury were more opinionated than most of the lawyers I know.

Americans are not generally perceived as being shy about expressing strong opinions. 😉

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Headless Unicorn Guy

Wow! Just think, it took a pervert to save Tom Chantry.

“These two Pervs said one to another:
Perv unto Perv o’er the world is Brother…”?

I know that the juror in question appears to have been untruthful regarding whether or not he had a criminal background of any kind.

However, I don’t think we can conclude, based on the information found to date, that he was a pervert.

I’ll try to get more details about that subject.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Elizabeth

The reason I called him a pervert is if you look at the bottom of Page 2 of the Motion To For Court Ordered Jury List, Item #2 states:

“Notably the charges involved the juror sending a very disturbing and graphic video of himself masturbating while making lewd comments to a co-worker who had previously filed several complaints against the juror for harassment in the workplace.”

That sounds pretty darn perverted to me!

I agree, you’re right! Thanks for researching that.

Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Douglas Belardi

love the line about sealed ARBCA documents in the unsolicited juror letter