The retrial of the multi-million-dollar lawsuit against Palm Beach County sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Custer in the 2012 shooting death of Seth Adams will be held before a different federal judge as early as July 10.
In an order signed Monday, U.S. District Judge Daniel Hurley, who presided over the trial that ended last month with a hung jury, assigned the case to his colleague, federal Judge Donald Middlebrooks.
Hurley, who reportedly planned to retire before the summer, had scheduled the second trial to begin Oct. 10. But, in the order, he said attorneys for Adams’ parents and the sheriff’s office indicated they wanted it to be held sooner. Both sides agreed to a July 10 start, he said.
Middlebrooks agreed to hear the case, Hurley wrote. He told the attorneys to consult with Middlebrooks’ staff to see if the trial could be held sooner.
After a month-long trial, the nine jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict about whether Custer used excessive force when he fatally shot the 23-year-old as Adams returned to A One Stop Garden Shop in Loxahatchee Groves, where he lived and worked with his brother and sister-in-law.
Attorney Wallace McCall, who talked to some of the jurors after the trial, said he was told there was one hold out. He had sought $10 million to $20 million for Lydia and Richard Adams, claiming Custer lied when he said Adams attacked him and the sheriff’s office helped him cover up the truth.
The sheriff’s office has said that Custer, who was working undercover on the night of the shooting, was in fear for his life.