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Talking Points: Will Amy Senser’s Appeal Work?

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, h...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Amy Senser goes back to court this week, arguing that her guilty verdict should be thrown out because of a note that jurors gave the judge saying they believed her testimony that she did not think she hit a person.

Senser was found guilty earlier this month on two counts of criminal vehicular homicide in the death of Anousone Phanthavong last August. Senser hit Phanthavong as he filled his gas tank on an I-94 exit ramp.

But what chances does she have of her argument working?

Right after the verdict, it seemed pretty clear that the jury did not believe Senser’s testimony that she didn’t think she hit a person.

But then several days later came news that jurors had written a note to the judge saying they did believe her. Legal experts agree the note is highly unusual, but they disagree on the impact.

Defense Attorney Joe Tamburino sat through some of the trial, and on WCCO Sunday Morning, Tamburino said the note will not help Senser.

“The judge in this case gave the instructions back on March 29 and both parties, the state or the defendant, had opportunities to object or request different instructions, and neither side did,” Tamburino said. “When the jury got the case, they were asked, ‘You can pick door No. 1 that you believe she hit a person, you can pick door No. 2 that you believe that she hit a vehicle, or you can pick door No. 3 that she did both. They picked door No. 2.”

The hearing on the defense arguments is set for this Thursday. Senser’s sentencing is still scheduled for July 9 and she faces up to four years in prison.

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning at 10:30 a.m. every Sunday with Esme Murphy.

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