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Joseph Hoadley trial: Jury begins deliberating

Joseph Hoadley is charged with four felony counts in U.S. District Court. Jury instructions and closing arguments took place Friday.

BOISE, Idaho — The trial of former Caldwell Police Lt. Joseph Hoadley is now in the hands of 12 jurors, who began deliberating Friday and continued their work Saturday at the federal courthouse in Boise.

Closing arguments wrapped up shortly before 11:30 a.m. Friday in U.S. District Court. Deliberations are now underway after four days of testimony from current and former Caldwell P.D. officers and at least one civilian city staff member, the man Hoadley is accused of hitting and injuring during a 2017 arrest, and Hoadley himself.

Hoadley was a Caldwell Police officer for more than 20 years before he was terminated in May, after he was charged with two felonies amid an FBI investigation. A grand jury later indicted Hoadley on the four counts being considered in this trial: deprivation of rights under color of law; destruction, alteration or falsification of records in federal investigations; tampering with a witness by harassment; and tampering with documents.

The first two counts are related to an incident on March 30, 2017, when prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's Office allege Hoadley struck a man identified as "BH" in the head after he had handcuffed the man, who was suspected of marijuana possession. Hoadley testified Thursday that he did take him down using only the force necessary to prevent him from getting away, but did not strike him in the head. Federal prosecutors said Hoadley should have documented the incident in the Caldwell P.D.'s use-of-force database, but didn't. Hoadley said that at the time, he didn't believe the contact rose to the level of something that needed to be documented.

Hoadley is also accused of intimidating a witness and tampering with documents -- including wiping his electronic devices before turning them in -- in relation to an FBI investigation into misconduct by some officers within Caldwell P.D. Hoadley on Thursday testified that he didn't intend to threaten or harass the witness in question and that he reset an iPhone that he used for personal as well as work functions because it included personal information not related to work.

The 14-member jury returned to court at 9 a.m. to receive instructions from U.S. District Judge Scott W. Skavdahl, who is visiting from Wyoming.

After jury instructions, executive U.S. Attorney Kate Horwitz began her closing statement.

"Based on evidence you've heard and seen over the past week, you now know why he had to destroy that evidence, why he had to obstruct," Horwitz said, addressing the jury, and going on to say that Hoadley used more force than necessary, used force to punish and "enjoyed" using that force.

On the allegations that Hoadley deleted police-related data when he wiped devices he was about to turn in to the city, Horwitz said he knew it was a crime and knew the FBI would get the devices.

"That wasn't an innocent HR/housekeeping matter," she said.

As Horwitz wrapped up, she circled back to the March 30, 2017, incident with BH.

"He doesn't get to make the call of whose constitutional rights matter," she said, then added that that's "exactly" what Hoadley did that day.

Going count-by-count, Hoadley's defense attorney, Charles Peterson, said Hoadley didn't throw a punch at BH and was not guilty of violating BH's civil rights "because he didn't use excessive force," and was not guilty of falsifying a report about the incident because the report is "not false." Peterson also said BH didn't have any apparent injuries, and there was no request for medical attention.

"If he didn't punch him in the face, he didn't have to report it," Peterson said, adding that in March of 2017, there was no federal investigation into Hoadley or others in the Caldwell Police Department, and he would have had no reason to believe he was under federal investigation.

On the count of witness tampering, Peterson said Hoadley didn't threaten anyone.

On the document-tampering count, which relates to Hoadley's resetting or "wiping" of electronic devices, Peterson said the City of Caldwell didn't have a policy on the issuance of iPhones, and said IT specialist Jose Menchaca testified that he didn't know if the city had a policy on retaining records.

Peterson also recounted Hoadley's experience in law enforcement and said Hoadley was an "advocate of doing it right to take real criminals off the street and keep them off the street."

Horwitz, for the prosecution, had two minutes to respond after Peterson's closing arguments. She focused on a 12-second body-camera video clip in which BH is struggling with Hoadley and another officer.

"(Hoadley) violated the constitutional rights of the very people he was sworn to protect."

14 jurors were seated at the beginning of the trial. On Friday, after instructions and closing arguments, and before deliberations began, Judge Skavdahl dismissed two who were designated as alternate jurors. One alternate was called in Saturday morning to replace one of the 12 jurors. Once the replacement juror arrived, the judge instructed the jury to begin deliberations anew.

A live blog of Friday's courtroom developments is posted here.

DAY 1 BLOG: Trial for former Caldwell officer underway in federal court in Boise

DAY 2 BLOG: Day 2 of trial for former Caldwell officer Joseph Hoadley

DAY 3 BLOG: Trial of Joseph Hoadley Day 3 live blog

DAY 4 BLOG: Trial of Caldwell ex-officer Hoadley Day 4 live blog

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