A day after acquitting Everett police Officer Troy Meade of murder and manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a drunken driver, a Snohomish County jury on Tuesday has determined that Meade is not entitled to financial compensation.
EVERETT — A day after acquitting Everett police Officer Troy Meade of murder and manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a drunken driver, a Snohomish County jury on Tuesday ruled that Meade is not entitled to financial compensation.
Using different legal standards, the jury found that Meade did not prove that he used lawful force and acted in self-defense when he shot Niles Meservey, 51, in the parking lot of an Everett restaurant last June.
The jury voted 11-1; they only needed 10 votes to reach a verdict in this civil phase of Meade’s trial.
On Monday, Meade was acquitted of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter in Meservey’s death on the night of June 10, which came after Meade responded to reports that a drunken driver was attempting to drive away from the Chuckwagon Inn.
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Meade, 41, said he fired after Meservey refused several commands to get out of his car, which was parked between two other vehicles. The officer testified he feared for his life after Meservey’s car lurched forward into a fence. Meade said he feared the car was about to back up and hit him.
After returning the not-guilty verdicts, jurors were asked to determine whether the officer acted in self-defense when he shot Meservey. Under state law, a finding that someone killed in self-defense is the only situation where a jury can recommend the state compensate a defendant for attorney’s fees, court expenses and time lost in fighting a charge.
In resolving the restitution question, jurors were asked to determine whether Meade faced an imminent threat from an objective standpoint, compared to a subjective standard they were allowed to consider in deciding his criminal culpability, Snohomish County Deputy Prosecutor Matt Baldock said Tuesday.
“That would account for the difference,” Baldock said.
In considering the financial-compensation issue, jurors weren’t allowed to consider whether Meade perceived an imminent threat, Baldock said.
Unlike the criminal phase, the burden of proof fell on Meade, although it was under the lesser standard of preponderance rather than the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard required for a criminal conviction, Baldock said.
Jurors declined to comment as they left the courthouse.
After the compensation verdict was announced, Meade said he was happy overall with the jury’s not-guilty verdicts.
“I can’t complain,” he said.
Meade, who has been on paid administrative leave, declined to comment Tuesday when asked how he would be able to work with Everett Officer Steven Klocker, who testified during the trial that based on his observations at the scene that night, Meade didn’t face an imminent threat and had nonlethal options available to him.
Paul Luvera, a Seattle attorney who is representing the Meservey family in a wrongful-death civil suit against the city of Everett, said Tuesday’s jury verdict regarding compensation supports the family’s claim that Meade did not act in self-defense.
Like the restitution issue, the civil suit must be proved by a preponderance of evidence, which means something is more likely true than not true.
“Troy Meade’s burden was to prove self-defense by a preponderance of the evidence and the jury rejected his claim,” Luvera said. “In the civil-damage claim, we have the same issue of self-defense and I’m confident the civil-damage jury will come to the same conclusion the jury did today.”
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this story.
Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or firstname.lastname@example.org