ACA.supremecourt.070419

The attorney for a convicted Baton Rouge rapist said Wednesday he wants the jury subpoenaed so he can get to the bottom of allegations that two white jurors made racial comments about the black man during his trial.

Lawyer Robert Tucker Sr. is seeking a new trial for Sedrick Hills on the basis of the alleged remarks, which were reported to Tucker by a black juror who cast a "not guilty" vote on each of the counts on which Hills was found guilty.

Hills, 43, was convicted in August of forcible rape and another sexual assault-related charge by votes of 11-1 and 10-2, respectively. The female victim was a teenager. The incident occurred in 2003.

Hills was scheduled for sentencing Wednesday, but state District Judge Trudy White pushed it back to Dec. 17 after finding that a presentence investigation report she ordered had not been done. The judge said she'll hear the motion for new trial on that date, as well as a defense motion for post-verdict judgment of acquittal.

"My motions deserve to be heard in full," Tucker argued in court Wednesday.

He told the judge he intends to subpoena witnesses for the hearing.

"I don't think subpoenas should go out for a motion," prosecutor Sonya Cardia-Porter argued, saying the judge can rule on the motions based on Tucker's filing and the state's written response.

White responded by saying, "This is an unusual case. I can't tell Mr. Tucker what to do."

Tucker said afterward outside the courtroom that he intends to request subpoenas for "the entire jury, as is my right."

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III, who was not in White's courtroom, also said after that his office will ask the judge for a status conference "to discuss how to proceed in this unusual area of the law."

"We believe that the motions currently before the Court should be ruled upon by the Court prior to any hearing being set or subpoenas issued mandating the presence of the entire jury panel to court," Moore said in a email.

Moore's office is asking White to deny the defense motions.

Hills was convicted by a jury consisting of eight whites and four blacks.

Marion Lathan, one of the black jurors, has alleged in a notarized affidavit sent to Tucker's office that she heard a white male juror state during an Aug. 16 lunch break, "Let's convict this n**** already, I am ready to go play golf." She says another white male juror responded, "The n**** should have just taken a plea deal anyway."

Hills, who is free on bail, was convicted Aug. 17. Jury deliberations did not begin until that day.

Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.