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  1. #1
    Shipwreck's Avatar
    Shipwreck is online now HGF Forum Moderator
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    Defense asks for trial delay because of deer season

    Defense asks for trial delay because of deer season
    KELLY P. KISSEL
    Associated Press Writer

    LITTLE ROCK — A defendant in a Lonoke County corruption case has asked the judge to delay the trial because its scheduled timing would conflict with deer-hunting season.

    Bobby Cox and five others are to go on trial Nov. 8 in rural Lonoke County but hunting season opens Nov. 11 and lasts for about a month.

    John Wesley Hall, an attorney for Cox, said Wednesday he was concerned the trial would take weeks and that hunters selected to be on the jury would become preoccupied and perhaps unable to focus on the case.

    "Suppose you're stuck here until after Dec. 10? That's the whole deer season," Hall said. "You never want to hold jurors against their will. They might hold it against everybody."

    Prosecutor Lona McCastlain did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

    Special Judge John Cole, a retired circuit judge appointed to hear the case, has set a hearing for Sept. 21.

    The defendants were initially charged last winter and were named again in revised counts this summer. McCastlain filed the 78 counts, in various combinations, against the town's mayor, former police chief, Cox and three others alleging they were part of a criminal enterprise she dubbed the "Organization." Five of the defendants face felonies, while Lonoke Mayor Thomas Privett faces a single misdemeanor complaint.

    Because of concern about whether speedy trial provisions will soon expire, the judge set a trial for the fall.

    According to Hall's calculations using figures from the state Game and Fish Commission, 10 percent of Arkansas' population could be planning hunting trips for when the season opens in November. He said it's likely the percentage would be higher for Lonoke County because it is rural.

    "The judge mentioned that deer season is coming up and in some counties they don't have jury trials when deer season is open," Hall said.

    Arkansas has about 2.8 million residents and, according to the Game and Fish Commission, 273,128 big-game hunters. When the number of convicted felons and the number of children are considered, the number of hunters could make up 15 percent or more of Arkansas' population, Hall said.

    Lonoke County has about 60,000 residents and 6,735 of them have licenses to hunt big game, according to U.S. Census and state Game and Fish Commission figures.

    "If you put it against registered voters, there's no telling what the percentage would be," Hall said, considering that potential jurors are selected from voter registration lists.

    Hall said he would like hunters in the pool because the state is expected to call a number of ex-felons, work-release inmates and "snitches."

    "If I had a drug case, I wouldn't want them (hunters) on the jury," Hall said.

    Other than Cox and Privett, others charged are former police chief Jay Campbell, Campbell's wife Kelly, police dispatcher Amy Staley and bail bondsman Larry Norwood. The bulk of the charges claim the defendants worked together to obtain drugs, money and jewelry. The prosecution alleges they also conspired to obtain construction, labor or sex from state prisoners.

    Cole said the mayor and Staley can have separate trials.

  2. #2
    jwkimber45's Avatar
    jwkimber45 is offline Senior Member
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    Seems like the folks of little rock have got their priorities straight!!!!!

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