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Judge Declares Second Mistrial in Broiler Chicken Case

Global Competition Review

30 Mar 2022

Lisa Phelan spoke to Global Competition Review about Chief Judge Phillip Brimmer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado declaring a mistrial after a jury deadlocked over whether 10 broiler chicken employees had conspired to fix prices.

According to Lisa, it’s extremely rare if not completely unprecedented for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division to go back and try defendants for a third time. The former chief of the division’s criminal section, Lisa said she could not think of an example from the last 30 years in which her old agency did so.

Lisa added that it is inherently complex and confusing for a jury to try and keep track of all the names, dates, and evidence in a case involving 10 defendants.

“Weaknesses as to any one set of evidence can bring down the prosecution,” said Lisa, who noted that the government bears the burden of proving the guilt of each defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. “This is why the Antitrust Division has rarely charged so many defendants in a single case.”

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