August 16, 2021 — A mistrial

Even before the court session opened today it was clear to the judge, the prosecutor, and the defense that there was a mistrial. The jury had been selected last Friday, and all was in order to move ahead. All the witnesses had been summoned for today, the prosecution and defense were ready to go. But over the weekend, a juror grew uncomfortable with the proximity that would have been required in the jury box…there was no room for social distancing. And with the Covid delta variant on the rise, there was ample reason for consideration. The only other accommodation would have been to position the jurors in the general seating area of the courtroom…where it’s distant and dark. Such distance and resulting reliance on video monitors really would have compromised a fair trial. That’s because so much relies on jury members being able to clearly see the defendant, witnesses, the attorneys, the judge. So, the trial was scrubbed for now. It will be rescheduled for late October or early November. Judge Janice Cunningham said THAT trial will not be postposed and will be set up for social distancing if necessary but with enough time to do it right in order to preserve a fair trial. That also would mean that there would be no access by the media or general public and that the proceedings would be shared live on YouTube to meet the concept of an open court.

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