Drug trial ends in mistrial

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Maury County man's day in court here Monday ended with a mistrial being declared after the jury informed Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler that they were hopelessly deadlocked.

Hudell Sparkman, 49, was accused of possessing cocaine with intent to sell and deliver.

After deliberating for about 90 minutes, the jury of 11 women and one man sent Judge Crigler a note stating that they agreed Sparkman had possessed the drug, but could not agree on his intent to sell and deliver. "Our views are not going to change!" they wrote.

"They sure haven't deliberated very long," remarked Crigler, who spent then spent some time studying the Rules of Criminal Procedure with both the prosecution and defense to make sure he was handling the matter correctly.

The jury was called back in and Crigler asked their foreperson, "Are you hopelessly deadlocked as to Count 1, possession with intent to sell a Schedule II controlled substance?"

"Yes, correct," was the answer.

"Are you also deadlocked with respect to Count 2, possession with intent to deliver?"


"If they're hopelessly deadlocked on the indicted offense, then it's a mistrial," Crigler declared.

Sparkman, whose first name is spelled "Huedel" in some documents, is scheduled for another jury trial on July 15.

The drug sale is alleged to have occurred in September 2005, and the Marshall County Grand Jury's indictment dates back to May 2006. Sparkman dropped out of sight for over two years, and it was not until October 2008, when he filed a motion to have the case dismissed for non-prosecution, that the District Attorney was able to locate him and bring him to trial.