Mistrial Declared in Brooklyn Hate Crime Trial of Keith Phoenix

The jury deliberating the case of Keith Phoenix, charged in the murder of Ecuadorean immigrant Jose Sucuzhañay in Brooklyn, has declared a mistrial after one juror refused to continue. Phoenix's accomplice, Hakim Scott, was convicted of manslaughter and assault but not as a hate crime, last week.

The NYT reports

 "Although the holdout juror in Mr. Phoenix’s case was not identified, Mr. Phoenix’s lawyer, Philip J. Smallman, told reporters afterward that jurors were torn over whether to find Mr. Phoenix guilty of murder or the lesser charge of manslaughter.

'I’m a little surprised' about the outcome, said Mr. Smallman, who said he had spoken with the jurors. He also characterized the jury’s 23 requests over a four-day period to review testimony and the specifics of charges against his client as an unusually high number.

One of the prosecutors in the case, Assistant District Attorney Josh Hanshaft, declined to comment on the mistrial.

For his part, Romel Sucuzhañy expressed disappointment with the outcome of the trial but said he was optimistic about the next one.

'My family, we feel very worried. The evidence was there,' he said through a translator to reporters outside the courthouse. 'I hope that we have success in the new one.'"

In the December 2008 crime, Sucuzhañay, 31, and his brother Romel, were walking home arm-in-arm after a night of drinking in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, and were attacked by Phoenix and Scott because they were perceived to be gay, police say, although anti-Hispanic slurs were also used during the assault.


  1. TANK says

    Perhaps the background of the victim contributed to this outcome…so we shouldn’t be so quick to call this a hate crime.

  2. B says

    You do know what a hate crime constitutes right? Whether they were attacked because of their orientation or race, it’s still a hate crime, buddy.

  3. TANK says

    And who’s to say that they were attacked for either? Maybe just a mugging gone horribly wrong…let’s brainstorm to appease the victim blaming racists that flock to this site. It could be a big misunderstanding, and who knows, there might be some “relevant” background information that could bias a jury to an acquittal.

  4. TANK says

    The victim is on a trial here according to a good number of the degenerates who frequent this site. So forget about any increased chance of being victimized due to any of the protected traits associated with hate crime laws.

  5. John in Boston says


    I guess your comment reflects why the US is the greatest immigration country on Earth, rivaled probably only by our neighbors, Canada.

    I’ve traveled all over the world….really, I have. And I’ve lived, as an American, outside the US. My parents were naturalized Americans so I’m a first generation American. I’ve never been anywhere in the advanced first world that compares to the laxness of American immigration laws and enforcement. America, to my knowledge, is the only advanced nation where birth means automatic citizenship…even Canada stopped granting automatic citizenship the Canadian births of non-citizens. Everywhere in Europe you must carry proper ID and in France, for example, police and stop people at random, arrest and detain for extended periods without charge, if you can’t prove who you are or they just suspect you of something. Mexico treats non-Mexican Latinos like dirt, and rigerously enforces it’s draconian immigration laws.

    This POS in Brooklyn and his buddy should both be executed. Full stop. End of story.

  6. mv says

    why should queers care about this? what about all the hate crimes blacks commit against whites especially white gays?

    this is another example of queers of color hijacking gay rights and making racism the issue to tackle not queer rights. what are non-whites doing to further gay rights?