Sacto Restaurant Owner hasarson verdict thrown out on rare technicality

Nov 1, 2015 7:02 PM by Debbie Cobb

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A man serving a 15-year prison sentence for conspiring to burn down his Sacramento restaurant had his conviction thrown out on the rare argument that his trial was not actually public.

The Sacramento Bee reports ( 42-year-old Sundeep Dharni walked free last month because spectators, including some members of his family, were briefly excluded from the courtroom during at least part of jury selection to make room for an unusually large pool of prospective jurors.

Dharni's lawyer argued successfully in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that he was denied his Sixth Amendment right to a public trial.

Dharni was tried and found guilty in July 2007 of trying to burn down the restaurant he was preparing to open, and for collecting $22,291 from an insurance claim.


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