Jury can’t reach verdict in drug case of Flint man in Baraga County

L’ANSE – Harvey Sanders Jr. will stay in limbo a little while longer.

Sanders’ trial in Baraga County Circuit Court ended in a mistrial Thursday when a jury was unable to reach a verdict after more than seven hours of deliberation.

Sanders, 54, of Flint, was arrested in May 2013 after a Michigan State Police trooper found him driving in a matter termed erratic. Troopers later discovered an envelope in the trunk of the car containing cocaine and about 200 pills.

Sanders testified he had not known about the drugs, which he said belonged solely to his passenger, Calumet native Justin Jinks. Taking the stand for the prosecution, Jinks said the trip to Calumet was the second he and Sanders had made for the purpose of selling drugs.

The jury first announced it was deadlocked shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday. Judge Charles Goodman sent them back into the jury room. In a recent development in state procedure, the jury could also submit a list of any issues dividing or confusing them.

After the verdict, both attorneys thanked the jury for the time they’d spent deliberating the case.

“I think the jury took their duties seriously and did their best,” said Baraga County Prosecutor Joseph O’Leary.

“I thank the jurors for their time, their effort, their energy and their thoughtfulness,” said Sanders’ attorney, David Gemignani.

The next hearing will be a pretrial conference to determine if the trial process will restart. The date is yet to be determined.

Sanders is charged with five 20-year felony counts of possessing less than 50 grams of a controlled substance with intent to deliver – one each for cocaine, morphine, hydromorphone, methadone and oxycodone. He also faces a seven-year felony charge of possession with intent to deliver dihydrocodeinone and four-year charges of possession with intent to deliver alprazolam and phenobarbital.

A misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana was dismissed.

Because of a habitual offender notice, Sanders could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of any of the six felonies carrying five years or more.

For the two charges with lower maximums, he could serve 15 years or less. Sanders was previously convicted of a felony firearm charge and felony assault with intent to rob while armed in Flint in 1986, and felony escape from jail through violence and assault of a prison employee in Marquette in 2001.