Verdict in former police officers lawsuit against city to stay sealed for time being

Casey Grove

A jury has reached a partial verdict in two ex-Anchorage police officers' racial discrimination lawsuit against the city but the decision will remain sealed until May, at the earliest.

Former drug detectives Alvin Kennedy and Eliezer Feliciano sued the city in 2010, alleging their supervisors at the Anchorage Police Department treated them unfairly because of race. Kennedy is African-American and Feliciano is Hispanic.

Police officials denied any discrimination had taken place, and the city decided to take the case to trial, which started in early March. After more than two weeks of evidence presentation and testimony, the trial ended with closing arguments March 26.

The trial judge then went out of town the following weekend, with plans to return April 21, according to a court order from another judge, who had been tasked with answering any questions from the jury and taking their verdict in the earlier judge's absence.

The jury deliberations lasted until Tuesday, when the jury submitted a partial verdict, according to the order, written by Superior Court Judge William Morse and released by the city.

The verdict form remains sealed, its contents unknown to either side in the case, Morse wrote.

"The parties have different views on the effect, if any, of the partial verdict. They want to present briefing on the issue," Morse wrote, adding that, because of his unfamiliarity with the case, the original trial judge should hear the arguments.

Morse ordered each side to submit briefs by April 18 and responses to each others' briefs by May 2.

Until the verdict is released publicly, Morse wrote that he had taken the "unusual" step of keeping in place a restriction on the jurors, prohibiting them from discussing the verdict.

An earlier court order also prohibits attorneys involved in the case from discussing it publicly.

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