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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Hung jury in Rhodes case

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

After several hours of deliberation, a 12-member jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict in the drug case against Dusty Rhodes Jr., Wednesday.

Rhodes, 37, Terre Haute, was one of the suspects 60 law enforcement officials from 11 different local, state and federal agencies arrested as part of the August 2008, drug warrant sweep.

However, Rhodes was apparently not in Clay County during the initial raid.

The United States Marshals Office Fugitive Task Force took over the manhunt, locating and taking Rhodes into custody Sept. 8, 2008, in Lee County, Florida.

The class B felony dealing methamphetamine arrest warrant issued against Rhodes stemmed from allegations he was involved in a drug deal with a confidential informant and an undercover police officer at a local gas station on Aug. 7, 2009.

After two years of various court proceedings, the jury trial finally began Monday.

Clay County Prosecutor Lee Reberger, with assistance from Chief Deputy Kim Jackson, presented the state's case, while attorney Charles Hear was Rhodes' defense counsel.

On Wednesday, after Hear said the jurors had listened to enough evidence and the state failed to prove the case, the defense didn't present any evidence in the case. Rhodes didn't take the stand to testify either.

During closing arguments, Reberger said the case was determined by Rhodes' behavior.

"It's simple," Reberger said. "This was a drug deal. If there was no drug deal, then you don't exchange methamphetamine, or take the money, or let a stranger get out of the car and take the meth."

Hear took issue with the state's entire case, which included a recording of the drug transaction.

"I told you at the beginning of this case that everyone was going to tell you what they wanted you to hear on the recording," Hear said. "But you get to listen to what was actually said."

Then Hear took issue with the use of a confidential informant, whom Hear claimed initiated the drug transaction within eight seconds after they returned to the car with the undercover officer.

While Hear didn't dispute the fact Rhodes was in the car that night, he said Rhodes' presence wasn't enough to convict him of the dealing charge.

"This (person) is facing 20-50 years, feeling like it is 20 facing life, set up the perfect patsy," Hear said.

"Does Dusty Rhodes Jr., look like three years of meth use? My client had a problem, but didn't deal meth. This is why we have jury trials."

The jury received its final instructions in the case and was adjourned to begin deliberation at 2 p.m.

Six hours later, Clay Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout was notified of the hung jury.

According to officials, upon request of the Clay County Prosecutor's Office, the case could be returned to the court calendar for a new jury trial as early as May.

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Amen tulie32

-- Posted by Edward Kane on Thu, Feb 10, 2011, at 11:27 AM

I can't see why we waste money if we can't convict this guy I specifically remember him years ago getting off another drug related charge.Does anyone see a pattern,a lifestyle that isn't going to ever change because they are never convicted ? We will see him again going through the court system wherever he is located and another defense attorney somewhere making sure these people get off and continue their drug infested lifestyle among us.

-- Posted by Edward Kane on Thu, Feb 10, 2011, at 12:02 PM

Very sad. I went to high school with Dusty. He was a nice guy. Please get yourself clean and rehabilitated Dusty!

-- Posted by millertime on Thu, Feb 10, 2011, at 12:44 PM

Seems to me like the State didn't make a case.. During election time I recall one of the big issues being Reberger had hired help for jury trials, never doing one of his own.. Now we see why!! Can't blame Mr. C. Hear for doing his job as a court appointed defense attorney!! Its the STATE that dropped the ball. Could be mistaken but I think I read in the article where Mr.Hear didn't offer up a defense because the STATE never proved guilt!!

-- Posted by nascarfans on Thu, Feb 10, 2011, at 1:07 PM

Try him again. He wasn't found innocent so that means that there were people on the jury who beleived that he dealt the dope. If you know Dusty, then you probably know what he's always been involed with and him getting in trouble for this wasn't any surprise.

-- Posted by snow on Thu, Feb 10, 2011, at 1:21 PM

Kudos Charles Hear! Should have been you on the other side getting this druggy off the streets! But hey, Reberger can add this to his list of trials for his next election. What a joke our prosecutor is!

-- Posted by whynotlook on Thu, Feb 10, 2011, at 1:35 PM

Why kudos to Charles Hear? Didn't he campaign, "Meth is a plague upon our community. By my observation, meth is responsible for at least 75 percent of the crime in our community, including property crimes, sex crimes and other crimes of violence. I believe meth dealers should not get less than the 10 years recommended by our legislature"? -- re: Brazil Times, Thursday, October 21, 2010, Submitted by Charles Hear.

Did Charlie really believe in the innocence of his client, or is he just another lawyer who will do anything for a buck or say anything to get elected?

-- Posted by dismalscientist on Thu, Feb 10, 2011, at 3:37 PM

Mr. Hear does not choose his clients he is a public defender. His clients are appointed to him by the court

-- Posted by sierrabloom on Thu, Feb 10, 2011, at 4:31 PM

Charles Hear should have kudos!! Had he been elected to office in November maybe we would have a conviction right now!! Is one person really worth all the tax $ after all he did already leave IN and move to FL and now we want to spend more $ on another trail?!? Just let him go, if you couldn't do it once Reberger, don't waste anymore of our $$$$...

You can't fault Charles Hear for doing his job!!! He is one of Clay County's public defender's!! Does make me wonder, if Mr. Rhodes was was appointed to someone who didn't oppose Reberger would it have the same bad taste?!? Hear did his job PERIOD!!!

-- Posted by nascarfans on Thu, Feb 10, 2011, at 6:57 PM

I try to refrain from comments here, as most tend to end up in flaming the trolls. However, I must say, this was not the prosecutors' fault. The jury could not reach a verdict...not their fault either. I wish people would grasp an understanding of the process and the facts before roasting people in this forum...

-- Posted by RickS on Thu, Feb 10, 2011, at 7:43 PM

I cant believe the people who comment on this page. One day you are complaining that clay county should try more cases instead of giving slaps on the wrist. Now you are complaining that money is being wasted. If the jury was hung that means that some of the jury found him guilty but the vote was not unanimous. This does not mean that Dusty is not guilty it just means that the jury could not come to a decision. There are several reasons this could be. The jury may have had different views on what the law is they may not have understood the instruction and the courts can only tell them certain things. If all you people who want to complain about Reberger should get up the guts and go to law school and run for the office of prosecutor. I would like to ad that the people who are complaining most likely dont have anything better to do except complain. I would like to say very good job Reberger and hope you get a conviction in next trial.

-- Posted by proudresident on Thu, Feb 10, 2011, at 8:07 PM

In my prior post I may have came off as anti Reberger & that wasn't my intention at all.. Best of luck to him next trial!! I point is you can't point fingers & judge or blame Hear for doing his job which just happens defend who the judge tells you to to the best of your ability. Which I'm sure both sides did!

-- Posted by nascarfans on Fri, Feb 11, 2011, at 12:39 AM

Dusty wasn't convicted, let it go. He is a good guy & would do anything for anyone. He has been through a lot the last 8 years with losing both of his parents. Hang in there "lil D" there are plenty of people who know the real you.

-- Posted by madmom on Fri, Feb 11, 2011, at 10:54 AM

No conviction does not mean no guilt. It means 12 people couldn't agree based on their interpretation of the evidence as presented.

Obviously, 37-yo "lil D" is a good guy. I mean, who hasn't been arrested and tried for Meth in Brazil? (raises hand)

Let it go? I'll pass on that.

-- Posted by Emmes on Fri, Feb 11, 2011, at 8:34 PM


I am not sure why you and others are bashing Charles Hear...according to the paper, all Charles Hear did was show up and babysit his client in the courtroom. Charles Hear didn't even put on a defense for his client. Why would the taxpayers want to spend money on a new trial if Lee could not convict when Lee was playing ball by himself without the other team suiting up. Yea...it was a hung jury...but still very week performance by Lee.

-- Posted by Lafin on Sat, Feb 12, 2011, at 6:26 PM

God forbid someone in this town goes through a rough patch in their life when everything they have ever known is gone. I'm glad everyone in this town is so perfect.

-- Posted by madmom on Sun, Feb 13, 2011, at 11:53 AM

Including me. Thanks, ISN'T_IT .. sometimes even the OBVIOUS escapes people.

-- Posted by Emmes on Mon, Feb 14, 2011, at 1:21 PM

You said it Emmes! Count me in with the crowd that didn't turn to drugs when times got HARD!

-- Posted by Proud of My Country on Wed, Feb 16, 2011, at 12:16 PM

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