ELKO – Juror misconduct resulted in a mistrial of a woman accused of child abuse on Wednesday.
At least two jurors were overheard by the Elko District Court bailiff talking about the evidence presented in the trial of Brandi Gallegos, who is charged with four counts of child abuse, said District Attorney Tyler Ingram.
It is unclear exactly how many jurors were involved.
“The jurors are reminded they cannot communicate or deliberate about the evidence” by the presiding judge when court is recessed, Ingram said. “They’re not allowed to do that until they’re instructed to do so by the judge.”
After the jurors involved in the incident were examined by Deputy District Attorney David Buchler and Gallegos’ attorney, Gary Woodbury, Woodbury made a motion for mistrial which was granted by Judge Nancy Porter.
The trial was in its second day of testimony and was expected to conclude Feb. 7.
“The state will absolutely retry the case,” Ingram said, explaining the state had the option whether to pursue a new trial or not.
A date for a new jury trial depends upon the court’s calendar, Ingram added.
Woodbury declined to comment on Wednesday’s developments.
According to court documents, Gallegos is accused of not seeking timely medical treatment for a child about 2 years old who had suffered injuries to his body including 6 fractured ribs and a fractured elbow. He also had lacerations to his chin, suffered a black eye and was stabbed in the foot by a fork or similar instrument. She was also suspected of failing to provide proper nutrition to the child.
An investigation was launched on Gallegos and her husband, Brett, in April 2014 when the Department of Child and Family Services contacted the Elko Police Department. Court records say it concluded Sept. 30, 2015.
The couple was arrested on May 3, 2016. Brett Gallegos pleaded guilty to a reduced charge last year and was given a suspended sentence of a year in jail on Aug. 24.