City Attorney Won't Retry Britney Spears on Misdemeanor Driving Charges

The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office says it will not seek a retrial of Britney Spears, after a jury became deadlocked and a mistrial was declared on Tuesday.

Jurors deadlocked 10-2 in favor of acquittal for Spears, who was charged with driving without a California license.

Jurors deadlocked 10-2 in favor of acquittal for , who was charged with driving without a license.

The misdemeanor charge against Spears stems from an Aug. 6, 2007, parking lot fender-bender that was documented by paparazzi who trail the singer everywhere she goes. A misdemeanor charge of hit-and-run was dismissed last October as a result of a financial settlement with the owner of the silver Mercedes-Benz that Spears hit in a parking lot in the 12800 block of Ventura Boulevard.

The eight-woman, four-man jury, which began deliberating Friday, indicated Monday it was deadlocked but continued deliberating. The panel heard a read-back of testimony by the pop star's father before recessing for the day without reaching a verdict.

Jurors deliberated for about an hour Tuesday morning and sent another question to the judge, asking for clarification on the legal definition of "domicile" versus residency -- an indication they were struggling to determine if the 26-year-old singer could be legally considered a California resident just because she owns a home in the state.

Van Nuys Superior Court Judge James A. Steele allowed the prosecutor and defense attorney to make additional arguments to the jury, which then returned to its deliberations. But within a half-hour, the panel reported it was making no headway and was hopelessly deadlocked.

Steele declared a mistrial. Deputy City Attorney Michael Amerian said it was "way too early" to decide whether prosecutors would pursue a retrial.

During closing arguments Friday, Amerian told the jury that Spears is a California resident who flouted the law requiring her to obtain a California driver's license.

But defense attorney J. Michael Flanagan said Spears always had a valid Louisiana license, and she was planning to move back to that state anyway.

Since the charge is a misdemeanor, Spears, 26, was not required to attend the proceedings, and she has never appeared in court.

Spears' lawyer earlier rejected an offer that would have allowed her to plead guilty, pay a $150 fine and spend a year on probation. He asserted she was being treated unfairly because she is famous.
Flanagan said the singer doesn't want any kind of criminal conviction, even a misdemeanor, on her record, which is why she is fighting the charge.

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